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  1. Updates on Thursday 18 August 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

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

We'll be back from 08:00 tomorrow with news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the North East.

We'll also have plenty of updates as students across the region pick up their A-level results - good luck to everyone.

If you would like to get in touch you can tweet us @BBCNewsNEemail us, or contact us via our Facebook page.    

Your photos: King Edward's Bay

Catherine Lee

BBC News online

If you look closely enough you'll be able to see two swimmers on King Edward's Bay in Tynemouth braving the cold waters of the North Sea.

Don't let the sun fool you - it may be glistening on the water but I bet it's still cold.

Send us your photos by email or tweet us @BBCNewsNE.

King Edwards Bay

Rapist's vulnerable victim 'suffered horrific abuse from young age'

The victim of a rapist who was abused for three-and-a-half years "has turned her life around".

Kevin Thorburn was jailed for eight years after abusing the teenager from the age of 13.

Det Con Angela Hewitt was the officer in charge of the investigation.

She said: "Thorburn is a horrible man who preyed on the vulnerability of a young girl and took advantage of her consistently over a three and a half year period.

"To suffer such horrific abuse from a young age has undoubtedly had an effect on the victim and she has had a lot to deal with and overcome.

"Despite all this she has managed to move on and has completely turned her life around and I'm incredibly proud of the transformation she has made to her life from when I first her met her to now."

Mother of knife attack victim welcomes ban

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

A mother from Middlesbrough whose son was killed in a knife attack has welcomed the government's decision to ban so called zombie knives.

The ban - which comes into effect today - will stop the knives from being sold and manufactured in Britain.

Robert Dunne

Barbara Dunne's son Robert was killed after being stabbed by a samurai sword and she says it's a "step in the right direction".

We'll have more on this story on BBC Look North on BBC One.

Ant and Dec respond to Jeremy Corbyn not knowing who they are

You may remember how yesterday Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was unable to recognise a photograph of TV presenters Ant and Dec during a leadership debate.

Labour's Jeremy Corbyn unable to recognise Ant and Dec

Now the Geordie duo have issued their cheeky response:

View more on twitter

MP calls for action on ticket touts ripping off fans

A North East Labour MP is calling for action to prevent sports fans and concert-goers being ripped off by ticket touts. 

MPs have described how at a recent match at Wembley about 50 touts - including known criminals - were openly operating outside the stadium without any attempt by the authorities to intervene. 

Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson, co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on ticket abuse, said the scale of the abuse they had uncovered underlined the need for the Government to intervene.  

She said they saw a number of "prominent" individuals with past convictions including for fraud, theft, drugs and firearms offences. 

"There is not another national stadium within Europe where you see this taking place, which in turn damages UK plc," she said. 

Firefighters called out to 105th birthday... to deliver cake

Ivena Smailes wanted one thing for her 105th birthday - a fireman to deliver her cake in style at Addison Court Care Home in Crawcrook, Gateshead.

And thanks to Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, that wish came true.

View more on twitter

You can see a video of the surprise on The Chronicle's website.

Younes Kaboul: 'It is a derby and you have to win'

It's been a seven-year wait for a Wear-Tees derby in the Premier League.

The Black Cats host to Middlesbrough on Sunday and Sunderland defender Younes Kaboul says they're playing to win.

“It is a derby and you have to win, that’s it,” he explained on the club's website.  

He continued: “Boro will come here with the intention of attacking while also staying strong at the back, and as you said when a team has been promoted they want to show why they’re in the Premier League."

Sunderland defender Kaboul

Your photos: Seven sisters

John Bradley sent us this photo of the Seven Sisters at Copt Hill.

Send us your photos by email or tweet us @BBCNewsNE.

Seven Sisters
John Bradley

Rapist who abused girl for three-and-a-half years is jailed

A rapist has been jailed for eight years after he systematically abused a vulnerable girl.

Kevin Thorburn, 35, who is formerly of Finsbury Street in Sunderland, pleaded guilty to raping the teenage girl over a three-and-a-half year period.

Thorburn abused his young victim from the age of 13, supplying her with drugs and taking advantage of her.

Kevin Thorburn
Northumbria Police

He was also a prolific burglar and used her as an accomplice - making her "watch out" while he committed his crimes.

Thorburn will also be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 20 years.

Sports Direct report date set

Sports Direct says the independent report on working practices being undertaken by the law firm RPC will be published in the first week of September. 

When founder and Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley appeared before MPs in June, he said the internal investigation had discovered "some issues" with working practices at its Shirebrook warehouse that had "hopefully" been addressed.

Sports Direct

Mr Ashley said much of what the probe found about how staff were treated was an "unpleasant surprise".  

He also admitted workers at the Derbyshire warehouse were paid below the minimum wage and the company's policy of fining staff for being late was unacceptable.

Earlier this week the Unite union said workers will get back-pay of about £1m following Sports Direct's failure to pay the minimum wage.

The retailer's shares are up 1% in afternoon trading at 292.8p - but are still almost 50% lower since the start of the year.

Hartlepool hospital's urgent care services to return

Some urgent care services are to return to a hospital that lost its accident and emergency unit five years ago.

Residents with serious injuries have had to travel to Stockton after Hartlepool University Hospital A&E closed in 2011.

The local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) confirmed it is looking for a provider to run the hospital service.

But some campaigners believe it is not enough and have called for the return of the full A&E department.

Urgent care centres treat patients whose condition does not require A&E treatment but cannot wait for a GP appointment.

It treats problems such as sprains, broken bones and infections.

Hartlepool hospital

Central Station Metro to close for five weekends

The Metro at Central Station in Newcastle will be closed for five weekends for modernisation work, bosses have announced.

It'll be shut for three weekends in September and over two weekends in October - but it will be open for the weekend of the Great North Run. 

On each weekend the station will close at 20:00 on the Friday and will re-open to passengers at the start of service on the following Monday. 

The closure dates are as follows: 

  • Friday 2 September - Monday 5 September 
  • Friday 16 September - Monday 19 September
  • Friday 23 September - Monday 26 September
  • Friday 30 September - Monday 3 October 
  • Friday 7 October - Monday 10 October 

The work includes improvements to accessibility, information and waiting facilities, as well as a new look.

Student too young to start university gets three A* a-levels

A student who is too young to go to university has collected three A* grades in her A-levels after previously teaching herself to get her GCSEs.

Holly Grob, who turns 17 tomorrow, achieved the top grades in biology, chemistry and maths at The King's Academy, in Coulby Newham, but she is too young to start a medical course at university so will spend the next five months doing charity work in Mexico.

Holly Grob
King's Academy

She taught herself nine GCSE subjects from text books, taking most of her exams at the British Council exam centre, aged just 13.

Former head of sixth form at The King's Academy, Sally Gray, said: "Although she was only 15 then, Holly had done her GCSEs so we started her on her AS levels in Year 12 to see how she did. 

"She only had four months to complete them but she just aced it. We had no concerns about her doing A-levels ahead of time."

Rafa Benitez welcomes Newcastle's first win in Championship

BBC Sport

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez hailed his side's 4-1 win over Reading last night.

He said: "It was important for me, for the fans, for the players, for everyone here to get three points today.

"The first two games without playing so badly, we didn't get any points.

"Today we showed character, a good reaction after the goal we conceded, and that's what we have we to do, play well sometimes and show character all the time."

Dwight Gayle scored twice and had a goal disallowed for Newcastle
Rex Features

St Joseph’s pupils celebrate exam success

The Shields Gazette

Pupils at a Hebburn sixth form are getting ready to pack their bags and head off to university.

Staff and students at St Joseph’s Catholic Academy are celebrating today after achieving a 98% overall pass rate at A-level. 

Students at St Joseph's
The Shields Gazette

Sage employee arrested in fraud probe

A 32-year-old employee at software firm Sage has been arrested at Heathrow Airport, police have said.

City of London police said the woman was arrested on Wednesday in connection with a fraud investigation and has since been bailed.

Earlier this week the software firm was the victim of a data breach, which may have compromised personal information for employees at 280 UK businesses.

The Newcastle-based firm said it had told businesses who may be affected.

The firm provides business software for accounting and payroll services to firms across 23 countries.

Young rugby star overcomes injury to score A-level success

Rugby-mad County Durham student Sam Adamson battled through the pain to score top grades in his A-levels despite being unaware he had broken his wrist. 

The 18-year-old, pictured on the right, struggled through lengthy written papers after picking up an injury in a tournament. 

Sam Adamson (right) with his younger brother Jamie

Barnard Castle School's outgoing head boy, and vice captain of the first XV, will require surgery to fix the break in his scaphoid bone. 

Nevertheless, the teenager, from Hunwick, was still able to score A*s in chemistry, maths, further maths and a rare Distinction Level 1 in physics. 

His brother Jamie, 16, who plays for the England and Newcastle Falcons academies, sat his GCSEs despite suffering stress fractures to his spine. 

He will pick up his results next week and plans to stay on at the school to take his A-levels. 

Seeing the North East from above

The staff at the Great North Air Ambulance Service often get to see what our region is like from up above.

Here are some of the photos they've shared:

View more on twitter

North East A-level pass rate is highest in the country

Lloyd Watson

BBC News Online

Students from Newcastle Sixth Form College have been celebrating landing top A-level results.

Here's George Andrews, Sean O'Connell, Jenny Olsen, Nancy Amandasun and Tasnia Begum all looking very pleased.

Well done all!

Newcastle students
North News & Pictures Ltd

The A-level pass rate in the North East was the highest in the UK at 98.5%.

But the proportion of students getting A* and As is the lowest in UK at 22.1%. However, that's a slight rise on last year's result of 21.9%.

The UK average is now 25.8%.

Newcastle student
North News & Pictures Ltd

Stolen fruit machine 'wheeled out of pub on trolley'

Two men stole a fruit machine out of a pub by wheeling it out on a trolley, police say.

Cash from a pool table was also stolen from the Port of Call pub in Blyth at about 04:00.

The pair, described as wearing hoodies and tracksuit bottoms, forced their way in through the rear of the pub before wheeling the bandit out and making off towards Asda.

Neighbourhood Insp Grant Dawson said: "Clearly this was a planned burglary as the thieves had brought a trolley to steal the bandit."

Weather: Dry with sunny spells

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

It will be a dry afternoon with some good sunny spells.

Feeling warm inland towards Bishop Auckland, but cooler near the coast due to an onshore breeze. 

Weather forecast

Maximum temperature: 19C (66F). Check the forecast near you.

Gymnastics bronze medallist Amy Tinkler awaits GCSE results

Team GB bronze medallist Amy Tinkler aims to enjoy her Olympic floor gymnastics success before going back to the reality of impending GCSE results.

The 16-year-old from County Durham will collect her English, French and Maths results from Durham High School the day after getting home.

She has become only the third British woman to win an individual gymnastics medal with her Rio exploits.

"It's starting to sink in now I've got the results when I get back," Tinkler told BBC Tees.

"I've had a lot of media interest since the event, and I keep being reminded of it. But I want to live it up here while I can.

"We're now hoping to watch a few sports, my team-mates are going to the beach and we're hoping to go to Sugarloaf Mountain before we go as well."

Kynren boosts local economy, businesses say

Businesses in Bishop Auckland say the outdoor summer show Kynren is boosting the local economy.

The show is said to have brought new people into the town.

At the start of July Bishop Auckland welcomed what was described as an epic tale of 2,000 years of English history.

Three years of work went into the show - training volunteers, building the sets, writing the scripts and composing the music.

The show has reached the half-way mark of this year's run.

Our reporter Louise Hobson is at Bishop Auckland to catch up with organisers:

View more on twitter

Arrest after 'inappropriate comments' to women

A man has been arrested after police received multiple reports of a man making inappropriate comments to women on Tyneside.

A man made the comments to women on six occasions in the Gosforth, Heaton and Jesmond area, police said.

A 25-year-old man has been arrested and is in custody.

Opening the envelope live on Periscope

Mark Denten

BBC Look North

I'm at Newcastle's Excelsior Academy and students are opening their A level results.

Curtis was brave enough to open his envelope with me... see how he got on:

View more on twitter

Fire deaths rise in England prompts 'postcode lottery' claim

The number of people dying in fire-related incidents in England has seen its biggest percentage increase in 20 years.

Data published by the Home Office shows 303 people died in fires in 2015-16, a 15% increase on the previous 12 months.

Fire services in Cambridgeshire, Cumbria and Durham had the highest fatality rates.

Fire Service Minister Brandon Lewis said there had been "a long term downward trend" in fire deaths.

Fire graphic

A-levels: Billingham celebrates 97% pass rate

Billingham's Bede College is celebrating a 97% A-level pass rate this morning.

The college has achieved 100% success in 16 out of 24 subjects - including English language, English literature, physics, sociology and art.

Even more good news: the number of students receiving Distinction and Distinction Stars, the highest possible grades in vocational subjects, also continues to rise.h

Best man lied to groom that he had terminal cancer as he swindled friends out of stag party money

The Gazette


A cheating best man lied to his mate that he had terminal cancer while fleecing him and their friends out of thousands of pounds for non-existent stag parties.

Front page
The Gazette

Match report: Newcastle United 4 Reading 1

BBC Sport

In case you missed it last night - Newcastle secured their first win since relegation to the Championship as they beat Reading 4-1 at St James' Park.

After Dwight Gayle had a goal disallowed for handball, the hosts went ahead when Isaac Hayden was first to react to a loose ball in the box.

Garath McCleary equalised from the spot on the stroke of half-time.

Matt Ritchie's penalty edged the hosts ahead again, while Gayle's free-kick and close-range finish secured Newcastle an emphatic victory.

Newcastle United's summer signing Isaac Hayden scored his first goal for the club
Rex Features

Weather: Warm and sunny

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

Early mist and low cloud will soon disperse to give a dry day with some good sunny spells.

Feeling warm inland, but cooler near the coast with an onshore breeze.  

Check the weather where you are.

Welcome to our live coverage

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Good morning and welcome to BBC Local Live. We'll be with you throughout the day to bring you the latest news, weather, sport and travel updates.

Would you like to get in touch? In that case you can tweet us at @BBCNewsNEemail us, or contact us via our Facebook page