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  1. Updates on Tuesday 9 August 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage throughout the day

Simon Armstrong

BBC News

Our live updates have now finished for the day - thanks for being with us.

We'll be back for more tomorrow at 08:00 when we'll have all the news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the North East.

There'll also be updates tonight here online, on BBC NewcastleBBC Tees and on Look North.

If you would like to get in touch with us you can on TwitterFacebook, or via email at

Cleared Zach Kibirige met accuser through Tinder and WhatsApp

The four-day trial of Newcastle Falcons player Zach Kibirige heard he met his accuser at her home for the first time after they swapped WhatsApp messages, having initially matched on Tinder.

The 21-year-old, who was born in Middlesbrough and brought up in Yarm, said he was sober on the night he went to her home and claimed they started to watch a film in her bedroom.

Mr Kibirige told police after he was arrested that the midnight encounter was unplanned but consensual. 

After considering their verdict for 80 minutes, the jury cleared him on all counts.

Newcastle Falcons player Zach Kibirige

Second part of A- Z of Boro in the Premier League

BBC Tees

It's the second part of our A - Z of Middlesbrough FC in the Premier League. 

Today we look at letters F - J:

The second part of the A - Z of Middlesbrough FC in the Premier League.

Falcons player to resume career after being cleared of rape

Zach Kibirige can resume playing for Newcastle Falcons after he was acquitted of raping a woman he met on Tinder.

A statement from the club said: "This has been an extremely stressful time for Zach, and his hugely promising rugby career has effectively been put on hold during this very difficult period.  "The club are satisfied that their faith in Zach has been borne out by the verdict in his trial. 

"Zach remains an important member of the club’s playing staff and is available for all rugby and non rugby-related duties."

Middlesbrough man charged over machinery theft

BBC Tees

A 21-year-old man from Middlesbrough has been charged after thousands of pounds of farm machinery was stolen.

He was arrested by a team from North Yorkshire Police's Rural Taskforce who pulled over a vehicle near Girsby.

He'll appear in court next month, along with a 25-year-old man of no fixed address who's been charged with the same offence.

Children 'risking their lives by playing on hay bails'

Andy Bell

BBC Tees

Kat Copeland out after third place in repechage

BBC Sport

Four years after London 2012 gold, Ashington rower Kat Copeland's campaign to defend her title end in an ignominious third place finish in the repechage.  

Queen Victoria's embroidered stockings bought for £220 at auction

Catherine Lee

BBC News online

A pair of Queen Victoria's silk stockings - which contain just one small ladder despite being 170 years old - have gone under the hammer.

The monarch, who cut a severe figure in black in later life, wore the delicate cream garments in the 1840s, when she was in her 20s.

The stockings, which have Queen Victoria's initials embroidered in red, were sold for £220. Newcastle auctioneer Anderson & Garland had estimated they would go for £150.

Queen Victoria's stockings
Anderson & Garland

Middlesbrough hoping to benefit from Premier League boost

BBC Tees

As any fan of Middlesbrough's football team will tell you, there are just days until the club kicks off its Premier League campaign having sealed promotion from the Championship.

Bournemouth were in a similar position last season and the seaside resort's director of tourism estimates going up brought £70m to the area.

Mark Smith told us the club's success attracted worldwide publicity: "Unlike Middlesbrough, we hadn't got a history at all of being in the top division so it was a completely new experience. The whole town has capitalized on it tremendously.

"We've had coverage all over the world, which we didn't quite expect, from the New York Times right over to Japan. It's really helped put Bournemouth on the map."

Middlesbrough captain Grant Leadbitter
Getty Images

Missing Dalton Ball: Concern for Teesside teenager

Police say they're concerned for the welfare of a 15-year-old boy who's gone missing on Teesside.

Dalton Travis Ball was last seen in Norton around 21:30 yesterday. He's 5ft (1.52m) tall with brown hair and was wearing a blue T-shirt, dark jeans and trainers. He has links to the Darlington area.

Officers say it's out of character for him to go missing.  

Dalton Travis Ball
Cleveland Police

Newcastle City Council admits bin collection problems

BBC Newcastle

As we told you earlier, there have been problems with bin collections in part of Newcastle since April when a "change in working practices" was introduced.

One Heaton resident told us he's had enough: "This is my local neighbourhood. I'd like to be able to use the back lanes and at least wander down them without feeling I'm putting my health at risk."

The city council says it's doing all it can to get bin rounds up to a full collection rate.

Councillor Nick Kemp said: "There clearly are bins not being collected. We're not denying it and we're doing everything we possibly can. Where there's a record of it, clearance is being achieved in one or two days."

Union calls on Hartlepool Council to review elderly care strategy

Hartlepool Mail


A trade union is calling on Hartlepool Council to rethink its strategy around providing care for the elderly following the announcement another town home is to close.

Manor Park Care Home, Greenock Road, Hartlepool
Hartlepool Mail

Ex-police chief: 'I was victim of sexism'

As we told you earlier, a former police chief constable has complained of a culture of sexism among senior officers and says she fears for how female victims of crime will be treated.

Sue Sim headed Northumbria Police until she left last year after what she says was a campaign to get rid of her by alleging misconduct.

An external investigation report, seen by the Daily Mail, concluded she had no case to answer and suggested she was the victim of sexism.

Ms Sim told Today programme presenter Justin Webb about the sexism she had experienced.

Ex-chief constable Sue Sim says senior officers were sexist towards her.

BreakingNewcastle Falcons' Zach Kibirige cleared of rape

Newcastle Falcons player Zach Kibirige has been cleared of raping a woman four times in the space of an hour.

The 21-year-old had denied a total of seven charges after arranging to meet the woman through dating app Tinder in November.

She told Newcastle Crown Court the England Under-20s international gripped her throat before raping her in her bedroom. 

But the player claimed nothing had happened "against the woman's will".

A jury unanimously found him not guilty on all charges.

Zach Kibirige
Getty Images

Great North Run challenge for cancer mum

BBC Tees

A woman diagnosed with cancer while pregnant is taking part in next month's Great North Run to raise funds for the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, which saved both their lives.

Jo Weems is raising cash for the haematology unit. She says it supported her and her husband through an extremely traumatic time when she was being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma.

"It was like a rollercoaster - finding out I was pregnant and then very early in the process we were told it was not viable and we needed to terminate," she said.

"By the time I was 12 weeks' pregnant, we'd decided to give it a go and I started chemotherapy straight away whilst having very regular scans to see how the pregnancy was progressing."

Jo was diagnosed with cancer after getting pregnant through a second round of IVF treatment.

Runners cross the Tyne Bridge with the Red Arrows flying overhead in the 2015 Great North Run

Jury sent out in rugby player rape trial

 A jury has been sent out to consider verdicts in the trial of a rugby union player accused of raping a woman he met on the dating app Tinder. 

Newcastle Falcons winger Zach Kibirige, 21, denies putting the complainant through an hour-long ordeal in her bedroom at her home in November.

He is charged with four counts of rape, attempted rape, sexual assault and assault by penetration, said to have occurred when he visited the woman for the first time. 

The England under-20 player has told the jury at Newcastle Crown Court that sex between them was consensual and it happened after they kissed passionately on her bed. 

Zach Kibirige
Getty Images

Funding joy for Paralympian Stephen Miller

BBC Newcastle

An ice-cream parlour has stepped in to help a Northumberland mum watch her son compete in the Paralympic Games in Rio.

Gold medal-winning club thrower Stephen Miller, from Cramlington, has been training flat-out for another chance of glory, but it was going to cost thousands of pounds for his mum Ros, who also coaches him, to join him in Brazil.

Stephen put out a plea on social media and staff at Ciccarelli, on Blyth's South Beach, have made a donation.

Stephen Miller with a silver Paralympic medal from China 2008
Getty Images

More on Virgin train staff voting to strike

Workers on Virgin East Coast have voted to strike in a dispute over jobs, working conditions and safety. 

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) backed walkouts by 84%, with nine out of 10 supporting other forms of industrial action. 

The union, which is embroiled in a bitter row at Southern Railway over the role of conductors, said its executive will consider the Virgin vote. 

The company said it will run a full timetable during any strike. 

The two sides are in dispute over staffing changes, which the company says would have no impact on safety and no compulsory job losses. 

 The RMT says a package of cuts was being "bulldozed through" by Virgin East Coast (VTEC).

BreakingVirgin train staff vote to strike over jobs and safety

Workers on Virgin East Coast have voted to strike in a dispute over jobs, working conditions and safety, the RMT rail union says.

More to follow.

Man charged over Heaton firearms incident

A man has been charged in connection with a firearms incident in the Heaton area of Newcastle. Police received a report on Friday that a man had been seen in possession of a weapon of some kind in Chillingham Road.

A 49-year-old from Heaton was arrested and he has now been charged with a firearms offence. He appeared at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court yesterday and has been remanded in custody. A 34-year-old Heaton man was given a police caution for his involvement.

In the news: 'Don't let mum's killer come home'

Simon Armstrong

BBC News

The Chronicle's big story today is about a knife-man responsible for the death of a Stanley mum.

He could be released in January when he has served the minimum term of his life sentence. Click here to read more.

Front page of The Chronicle, Tuesday 9 August
The Chronicle

Emergency services probe Peterlee fire

BBC Tees

An investigation has been launched after a fire at an industrial estate in County Durham this morning.

Three fire crews were needed to tackle the blaze which involved four vans, vegetable processing equipment and a caravan at the North East Industrial Estate in Peterlee. 

A nearby building was also damaged.

Police and fire services are looking to establish the cause of the blaze.

Many families could not afford a month's rent if they lost job - Shelter

One-in-three families in England wouldn't be able to pay their rent or mortgage for more than a month if they lost their jobs, according to the housing charity Shelter.

The organisation says "sky-high" housing costs are leaving up to three million families scraping by from one pay day to the next."

Here in the North East, Shelter's study claims 40% of working families have little or no savings and it is calling for more help from Downing Street.

In response, the government says: "We are continuing to spend around £90bn a year on working age benefits to ensure a strong safety net for the most vulnerable. And for those who do fall on difficult times, there are strong protections in place to guard against the threat of homelessness."

'For Sale' boards

Labour leadership contender Owen Smith outlines North investment plan

BBC Tees

Labour leadership contender Owen Smith has told BBC Tees the North needs better rail links and a plan to regenerate former industrial sites.

On a visit to Darlington, the MP for Pontypridd said a Labour government under him would spend £50bn on infastructure.

He said: "I'd be investing in rail infrastructure across the whole of the North, thinking hard about what we do with all of the ex-industrial sites we've got across Teesside and making sure what the next generation of jobs look like."

Mr Smith is bidding to usurp Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who has called for "radical solutions" such as "injecting £500bn into our economy" through regional investment banks.

Owen Smith

Three held after man stabbed in Wallsend

BBC Newcastle

Three people have been arrested after a man was stabbed in Wallsend, North Tyneside, just before 04:00.

Officers found the 38-year-old in Coach Lane with puncture wounds. He was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary where he was treated and released.

Officers believe he was assaulted in a back alley on Portugal Place.

Three men, in their 30s and 40s, have been arrested on suspicion of assault. 

Drinkhall narrowly misses out on Olympic table tennis quarter-finals

BBC Sport

Middlesbrough's Paul Drinkhall narrowly missed out on reaching the Olympic table tennis quarter-finals, beaten 4-2 by Belarusian Vladimir Samsonov.

The Belarusian won the opening three games before Drinkhall, who saved eight match points, won the fourth 17-15.

He threatened a remarkable comeback with a 11-7 win in the fifth game, but Samsonov won 11-8 in the sixth.

"I let it slip a little bit but I didn't do that much wrong," Drinkhall said.

Northumberland Police says Sue Sim's allegations are 'old and tired'

Simon Armstrong

BBC News

Northumbria Police has responded to allegations by its former chief constable, Sue Sim, who says the force was run like a "boys' club" with a "sexist, money-grabbing culture".

In a statement released in the last few minutes the force said: "These are old and tired accusations and have been exhaustively looked at by three organisations at considerable taxpayers' expense.

"The original allegations of sexism made by Mrs Sim were considered by the chief constable, Steve Ashman who did not consider that they presented any basis upon which to either record or investigate the issues she raised.

"Leading independent counsel on police misconduct matters advised that there is no basis or evidence upon which to launch the investigation Mrs Sim is seeking.

"Furthermore, the IPCC were asked to intervene by Mrs Sim and require the chief constable to record and investigate the matters alleged. Again they disagreed with Mrs Sim's position and agreed with the chief constable that there should be no investigation."

Northumbria Police logo

In the news: Fake gun charges

Here's the front page of The Gazette today. You can read the full story if you click here.

Gazette front page, Tuesday 9 August
The Gazette

Northumbria Police a place of rampant sexism and cover-ups, says Sue Sim

In her interview with the Daily Mail, ex-Northumbria Police chief constable Sue Sim has also claimed some officers made decisions about promotions while playing golf on the force's time.

She said: "I don't think the public have any idea of the sort of attitudes that prevail in that force. It was a place of rampant sexism, cover-ups and the sort of behaviour that would not be tolerated in any other workplace.

"It is not a situation that's compatible with 21st-Century policing."

Ms Sim says she battled colleagues who believed they were entitled to perks such as chauffeurs and first-class travel - and alleges they plotted to end her career when she tried to stop them.

Ex-Northumbria Police chief Sue Sim hits out at 'sexist boys' club' culture

Simon Armstrong

BBC News

The former chief of Northumbria Police has said her biggest battle was with the force's "sexist, money-grabbing" culture.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, Sue Sim, the ex-chief constable, said she faced a "boys' club" of senior officers.

Mrs Sim, who retired last year, was the top officer at Northumbria Police when gunman Raoul Moat shot a policeman, his ex-girlfriend and killed her new lover. 

She also gave evidence in a high-profile employment tribunal in May relating to alleged sexism in the force.

In the interview she says: "My biggest battle was with a culture that was sexist, money-grabbing and run by a 'boys' club" of senior officers who thought they could do what they damn well wanted."

She has made similar allegations in the past.

We've contacted the force for a response this morning and will bring it to you as soon as we have it.

Sue Sim

Weather: Chilly start with sunshine later

BBC Weather

We'll be off to a rather chilly start across the North East, but wind will be much less of a feature than it was yesterday.

Mostly dry, there'll be plenty of sunshine through the morning but it will get cloudy as we move through the afternoon.

Showers, some of them heavy, will move in from the north and we'll have highs of 16 or 17C.

You can keep up to date with the forecast wherever you are with BBC Weather.

Today's weather forecast map

Newcastle bin collections still being missed

BBC Newcastle

People in parts of Newcastle are still seeing missed bin collections with rubbish-strewn back lanes a common sight in some areas.

The city council is blaming "teething problems" with new working practices, while workers have been taking "unofficial action" since April with the Unison and GMB unions saying it is not a dispute.

In a statement, the council told us: "Due to government cuts, our budget for cleaning the streets has been slashed by 50% in the last eight years.

"We have also had to introduce new ways of working in our refuse collection service. 

"We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this is causing, but we are absolutely determined to introduce these changes so that residents can get the quality service they deserve." 

We'll have more on this story throughout the morning.

Travel: No major disruption on the roads

BBC Travel

Minor congestion is being reported at a few spots across Tyneside and Northumberland, including the B1505 between Cramlington and Dudley, and the City Road area of Newcastle.

Things appear to be running pretty smoothly on Teesside as things stand.

BBC Travel will bring you the latest around the clock.

Welcome to BBC North East Live

Simon Armstrong

BBC News

Good morning and welcome to today's live coverage.

As ever, we'll be bringing you plenty of news, sport, weather and travel updates from the North East throughout the day.

If you would like to get in touch with us you can on TwitterFacebook, or via email at