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Summary

  1. Updates Tuesday 2 August 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Our live coverage throughout the day

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Our live updates here have now finished for the day - thank you for joining us.

We'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel updates at 08:00 tomorrow.

In the meantime there will be updates tonight here online, on BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees and on Look North.

If you would like to get in touch with us you can on TwitterFacebook, or via email at northeast.locallive@bbc.co.uk.   

Weather: Clouds and rain

BBC Weather

Cloudy with a few outbreaks of rain or drizzle continuing during the evening. 

It will gradually become drier overnight, with some clearer skies developing, mainly in the east. 

However isolated showers will remain possible throughout.  

Weather graph
BBC

Check the weather where you are.

Travel: A67 closed near airport after serious accident

BBC Travel

The  A67 near Durham Tees Valley Airport is closed and there's very slow traffic eastbound at the Mill Lane junction because of a serious accident. 

A diversion is in operation via Longnewton.  

Get the latest travel news here.

County Durham girl carries Olympic flame in Rio

A Bishop Auckland girl has proudly carried the Olympic flame in Rio de Janeiro.

Sophie Brown was once a Young Ambassador with the Youth Sport Trust and thanks to her involvement with it, she is now working in Rio providing project management services to the Games.

Sophie in Rio
Youth Sport Trust

Northumbria Police officer headed to Rio

Northumbria Police officer Danny Mcfarlane is jetting off to Rio shortly to become a boxing referee at the Olympics.

Our colleagues from Look North have been chatting to him about his exciting new role - so stay tuned at 18:30 tonight for the full story.

View more on twitter

North East smoking rates drop

North East smoking rates have fallen by a third since 2005, The Annual Population Survey (APS) has announced.

A study shows that the number of people smoking in the region has fallen to 18.7% - down by 189,000 smokers since 2005.

The APS shows that Hartlepool has the highest rate of smokers in the North East at 22.8%, while Northumberland has the lowest rate at 16.6%.

Diabetic man had to wait eight hours for ambulance

BBC Tees

www.bbc.co.uk/BBCTees

A County Durham man had to wait more than eight hours for the right ambulance to arrive - even though he feared he was slipping into a diabetic coma.

Frank Ridley, 68, from Bishop Auckland called 111 when he realised his temperature and sugar levels were extremely high.

While he should have been going straight to hospital, he says he had to wait through the night before being helped.

The North East Ambulance Service has apologised for Mr Ridley's long wait, saying it had to attend a number of calls that night classified as "potentially life threatening". 

Family event to bring the community together after dog attack

A family event encouraged the Blyth community to get together following a dog attack in Burns Park.

The horrific attack took place in May and left 11 children injured, many requiring hospital treatment.

The family fun day was organised to give the children something to look forward to and enjoy the park once again.

Children at the event
Northumberland County Council

A range of organisations came along and showed their support including Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, which brought  a fire engine, the RNLI, Northumbria Police and a local veterinary practice.

Organiser Debbie Wilkinson gave out certificates of bravery and children let off balloons in celebration.

The day also helped to raise £500.

Durham cricket chief reassures players club is not going bust

Pat Murphy

BBC Midlands football reporter

Durham's players have been reassured by their chief executive that the county is not going bust and that all contracts will be honoured.

David Harker said he had addressed speculation that Durham faced administration at a team meeting.

"Hopefully I persuaded them that the rumours were nonsense," he said.

"We are not running out of money. Work is in hand to sort our long-term future and we looking at ways to continue sustaining cricket in the north-east."

He added: "We are not facing administration in the near future."

Durham's Riverside Ground
Getty Images

Officer awarded after saving cyclist trapped under bus

Police officer Dave Smith is to receive a national award for his quick thinking at the scene of a serious accident in Durham last November.

His actions helped save the life a cyclist trapped under a double-decker bus in New Elvet.

Acting Insp Smith, from the roads policing unit, was the first member of the emergency services on the scene and realised the man’s chances of survival depended on the bus being lifted off him.

Officer Dave Smith
DURHAM CONSTABULARY

He contacted the fire brigade and asked them to bring heavy lifting gear, which then enabled firefighters to free the severely injured cyclist.

Doctors at the RVI in Newcastle said had he been trapped just a few minutes longer he would almost certainly have died.

Dog killed in Hartlepool 'was oldest in Britain'

A dog has been killed by another dog at Hartlepool Marina.

The incident took place yesterday at 09:00, when a Lakeland Terrier killed a 24-year-old Yorkshire Terrier called Jack.

The owner of the Lakeland is described as a white male, about 5ft 4in, of stocky build and with thinning dark hair.

The Telegraph says that Jack was Britain's oldest dog.

Review into Redcar murders to be published within six months

A review into how a man with a history of domestic abuse was able to murder two Redcar women within minutes of each other will be published within six months, it has been announced.

Alan Bennett was jailed last week for brutally killing his partner Lynne Freeman, 46, before stabbing his ex Jodie Betteridge 132 times in front of their three children on 23 March.

Redcar and Cleveland Community Safety Partnership is now in the process of appointing an independent chairman to lead the review.

Lynne Freeman, left, and Jodie Betteridge
FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHS

North East cocaine gang jailed

Peter Harris

BBC Look North

A gang who plotted to flood the North East with drugs worth millions have been jailed.

The organised crime group bought heroin and cocaine from criminals in Liverpool then brought it to Tyneside to be sold. 

Today six men were jailed at Newcastle Crown Court for their part in the conspiracy. 27-year-old Richard French, from Gateshead, described by police as the boss of the gang, was jailed for nine years and four months after admitting conspiracy to supply heroin and cocaine. 

Woman conned by online buyers

A woman who was selling her mobile phone on Gumtree has been conned by fraudsters. 

The woman was contacted by a man who wanted to come and see the phone on Saturday.

Two men attended her address, viewed the phone and said they wanted to buy it.

They told the seller that they needed to go to a cash machine to withdraw the money and left.

When the men left, the seller realised that her Samsung S7 phone had been switched for an exact replica dummy phone.

The two men are described as being Asian in appearance and in their 30s. Both spoke with eastern European accents, possibly Polish, police said.

Vote Leave 'donated £625k to County Durham student'

BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed

Vote Leave donated £625,000 to a 23-year-old fashion design student from County Durham in the final days of the EU referendum campaign.

Darren Grimes says he spent the money on a Canadian political consultancy called AggregateIQ, who are “data and social media experts” and ran a sophisticated online political campaign on his behalf.

Hartlepool introduces first cashless car park

A car park in Hartlepool has become the town’s first completely cashless payment site.

It means that drivers can only pay via their mobile phones.

This decision comes after vandalism of the Murray Street car park's pay and display machine.

Phil Hepburn, Hartlepool Council’s parking services manager, said: “We have taken this step due to vandalism of the ticket machine and attempts to steal the money inside.

"Fortunately, no money has ever been taken but we are not prepared to tolerate this situation any longer."

Murray Street
GOOGLE

Police offer reassurance over baby murder probe

Police have moved to reassure the community following the death of a baby in Newcastle.

The boy's death is being treated as murder, something that police say they "know will shock and sadden the local community".

Officers would like to reassure residents that they are currently working to establish exactly how the 13-week-old came to suffer fatal injuries.

In a statement, Det Chief Insp Mark Ord said: "This is a very tragic incident and our thoughts are with all those affected by this sad death."

BreakingTwo held over murder of baby in Newcastle

A man and a woman have been arrested over the murder of a baby in Newcastle.

The 13-week-old boy was taken to hospital from an address in Velville Court last Friday with serious injuries.

Police were informed yesterday that the baby had died.

A statement said: "Initial inquiries suggest the baby's injuries were not accidental and the death is being treated as murder."

A 34-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman have been arrested and are currently in police custody.

Velville Court map
BBC

Hartlepool UKIP leadership candidate calls for burka-free areas

Several of the potential candidates to be the new UKIP leader say there should be restrictions of women wearing the burka in public.

North East MEP Jonathan Arnott, from Hartlepool, says that while UKIP is against uncontrolled migration, it should never be an anti-immigrant party.

And when it comes to wearing a burka, he wants to see what he calls a motorcycle test. 

He said: "If there is an area where you couldn't go somewhere wearing a motorcycle helmet then I think it's inappropriate for people to be wearing the burka.

"If it's not secure to be in a place where your face can't be seen then that's a problem, but I wouldn't say that you'd ban it for simply people walking down the street, I think that would be going too far." 

Jonathan Arnott
PA

Mo Farah to tackle Great North Run for fourth time

And here are the couple set to take on the Great North Run.

Mo and Tania Farah
Getty Images

Although Tania Farah will probably be a little bit behind her husband Mo.

He won the race last year in 59 minutes 22 seconds - the fastest half marathon by a British athlete.

His wife, like many of the 57,000 runners joining her on 11 September, will be doing it for fun.

Mo Farah and wife to take on this year's Great North Run

Mo Farah has spoken of his "love" for the Great North Run as he confirmed he will race again for the third consecutive year.

He will return to the North East on 11 September for the world’s biggest half marathon alongside 57,000 others on the startline, including his wife Tania, who will be taking part for the first time.

He said: “I love the Great North Run and the incredible atmosphere at the event. 

"The noise from the crowd in those last few hundred metres is just unbelievable.

"It’s a big year for me, but once it’s over it will be great to end my season at one of my favourite events, with Tania taking part as a fun runner too.”

Farah won his second title in a row last year in a thrilling finish ahead of Stanley Biwott of Kenya.

Farah retains Great North Run title

BreakingMo Farah confirmed for this year's Great North Run

Mo Farah is to run in this year's Great North Run in September, it has been announced.

More to follow.

Pigeons beheaded in County Durham

A bird owner has been left devastated after discovering his 150 pigeons had been killed.

The man attended his allotment shed as usual to find his birds had been beheaded in Ferryhill, County Durham.

Some pigeons managed to escape, but the majority of the three once-full sheds in the Broom Allotments have been emptied.

Steph Barron, the secretary of the allotments, does not understand the reason behind the killings. 

The allotments
BBC

Drone footage of Metro rennovation works

The Tyne and Wear Metro is replacing 3.8km of train line between Benton and Monkseaton as part of the £350m modernisation programme.

This video shows the work on the area from up above:

View more on youtube

The line is set to reopen on Sunday.

Surfers brave North Sea waters

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Surfers were out in Tynemouth before 06:00 this morning - that's brave.

Before the rain starts later today, surf fanatics have decided to take a dip in the chilly North Sea.

Our BBC colleague Catherine Lee captured this shot of the beautiful sunrise, and surfers doing their thing:

Tynemouth
BBC

Has reading this made you want to join them?

Here's Tynemouth's weather for the rest of the day.

Thousands attend South Tyneside festival

South Tyneside festival attracted a record breaking number of crowds at this year’s Sunday concerts.

About 100,000 people attended the free events, which ended last weekend.

Fans started queuing from as early as 06:00 to get a good view of the performances, and within 50 minutes of the gates opening on Sunday, the park was at capacity - with thousands more people standing outside to hear the music.

The final event followed performances from X Factor's Alexandra Burke, Ben Haenow and Reggie ‘N Bollie. The Proclaimers and UB40 also performed.

Councillor Alan Kerr said this had been the most successful series of Sunday concerts the town has seen so far.

Crowds at the festival
SORTED PR

Improvement works to main road in Blyth

The first phase to improve one of Northumberland’s most congested roads gets under way next week.

A set of traffic lights will be removed from Cowpen Road in Blyth, and a key junction is to be improved in a bid to ease traffic flows.

The entire £750,000 scheme to reduce congestion on the main road will take place over a number of months in three stages.

The first involves converting the Tynedale Drive and Cowpen Road junction into a priority junction with no right turn from Tynedale Drive.

The current traffic signals on Coniston Road junction will be retained but upgraded with more modern, energy efficient lights.

Tynedale Drive and Cowpen Road junction
Google

Cliff inspection after rock fall in Saltburn

BBC Tees

www.bbc.co.uk/BBCTees

Visitors to Saltburn are being warned about dangers at the coast after part of a cliff face collapsed.

It happened at the weekend, just moments after a young family were playing below.

The RNLI is warning tourists to be aware of the dangers, including loose rock and the unpredictable tide. 

People in Saltburn say they hope to see warnings put in place, while councillor Alec Brown says a full inspection of the cliff has taken place.

The Gazette has some photos here.

Woman robbed and punched in the face in Byker

A woman has been robbed and assaulted in a street in Byker, Newcastle.

At 10:30 yesterday, a 66-year-old woman was approached by a man in Grafton Street, who asked for directions.

He tried to steal her bag but the woman put up a struggle.The man punched her in the face before stealing her necklace.

The victim wasn't seriously injured but was left shaken.

The offender is described as being Asian, in his 20s and of slim build. He is around 5ft 2in and had a wispy beard. 

Ciaran Clark set for Newcastle move

Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark is having a medical with Newcastle United today, after a £5.1m break-clause was activated, BBC sports broadcaster Pat Murphy says:

View more on twitter

Travel: Broken down lorry on A19

There is a broken down lorry on the A19 near Hylton Bridge in Sunderland, Northumbria Police has confirmed.

Delays are expected and motorists are being urged to find an alternative route if possible.

Greggs half-year results: Key figures

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Here's some more info about Greggs' half-year figures:

  • 86 stores have been refurbished this year, and 200 more are to be revamped.
  • Good news for pasty lovers - 70 new stores are set to open.
  • However, 36 shops have closed this year.
  • The company's dividend has increased to 9.5p per share, up by 2.1p since 2015.
  • At one point this morning, shares of the company were trading at 1061p, up 9p.
  • Gregg's cash balance stands at £35m - that's down from £41.4m since last year.

Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman pens new deal

Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, 19, has signed a new four-year contract.

The England under-19 international has yet to make a senior appearance for the Championship club, but featured in 12 games on loan at Crawley last season.

Newcastle United goalkeeper Freddie Woodman
Getty Images

Weather: Persistent rain spreading this afternoon

A dry but generally cloudy morning with some bright or brief sunny intervals especially in the far north. 

Light but persistent rain spreading northeast through the afternoon, to affect most areas by the evening.  

Weather graph
BBC

Check the weather where you are.

Sales boost for Greggs thanks to healthy menu

It looks like Gregg's decision to offer a healthier menu has paid off - Falafel and hummus have helped power sales at the bakery in the first half of the year.

While revenues are up 6% to £422m, pre-tax profits were broadly flat at £25.3m.

Like-for-like sales rose 3.8%, driven by the sausage roll-maker's Balanced Choice menu and improvements to their breakfast and hot drinks.

While not commenting on Brexit directly, chief executive Roger Whiteside said Greggs is "alert to any change in consumer demand that may result from the current economic uncertainty".

Greggs wrap
GREGGS

Portland Timbers sign former Newcastle United defender Steven Taylor

BBC Sport

Former Newcastle United centre-back Steven Taylor has joined MLS champions Portland Timbers.

The 30-year-old had been at the Magpies for 21 years until his contract expired this summer, making 268 appearances for the relegated club.

"Steven Taylor gives us a proven piece that can step into our backline and perform immediately," said Timbers head coach Caleb Porter.

"His experience and leadership will be very important to our team."

Steven Taylor
Getty Images

He will join the Timbers, who are seventh in the Western Conference, once his international clearance comes through.  

Woman dies in Newcastle van crash

A woman has died after being struck by a van in Newcastle city centre.

The 41-year-old pedestrian was struck by the van at about 00:20 near the Discovery Museum at Blandford Square.

Northumbria Police said she was taken to hospital but died of her injuries.

She was wearing a bright pink top, trousers and shoes and officers are keen to speak to anyone who spoke to her before the crash.

Discovery Museum at Blandford Square
Google