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  1. Updates on Friday 19 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 week - thank you for joining us. 

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

We'll also have plenty of updates on the weekend's football matches as Sunderland play Boro, Newcastle travel to Bristol City, Pools welcome Notts County and Darlington play Gloucester City.

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

Sunderland sign South African midfielder Steven Pienaar

BBC Sport

Sunderland manager David Moyes has brought in former Everton midfielder Steven Pienaar on a one-year deal.

The 34-year-old was released by the Goodison Park side at the end of last season and had been training with the Black Cats.

Pienaar was signed by Moyes for Everton in 2007 and then, after a stint at Tottenham, re-signed by the Scot in 2012 for a second spell at the club.

Pienaar has played for Everton and Tottenham in the Premier League
Rex Features

The South African has made 199 Premier League appearances, scoring 20 goals.

Meanwhile, Sunderland defender Younes Kaboul is set to move to fellow Premier League club Watford.

There are still doubts over centre-back Lamine Kone's future with the Black Cats after the 27-year-old told Moyes he wanted to leave.

Sunderland play Middlesbrough on Sunday and Kone is out with a back injury.

Clinic suspends terminations over patient safety fears

A clinic which helps pregnant women undergo terminations has suspended some operations over concerns about patient safety, a watchdog says.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) says it is working with Marie Stopes International to make sure that patients are protected.

Following a number of CQC inspections, Marie Stopes has:

  • Suspended termination of pregnancy provision for under-18s and vulnerable groups of women.
  • Suspended terminations under general anaesthetic or conscious sedation.
  • Suspended all surgical terminations at their Norwich centre.

There is a Marie Stopes clinic in South Shields.

Anyone concerned can call a special hotline number - 0300 123 1041 - which runs from 09:00 to 17:00 at the weekends and 09:00 to 20:00 during the week.

Pools sign Donnelly afer trial spell

BBC Tees

BBC Tees Sport

Hartlepool have signed defender Liam Donnelly on a permanent deal following a successful trial.  

Travel: One lane closed on the A1 in Newcastle

BBC Travel

There's one lane closed and queuing traffic on the A1 northbound in Newcastle between the Westerhope Turn Off and Kenton Bar Roundabout because of an accident. Congestion to Dunston Interchange.  

Get the latest travel news for Tyne and Wear and Teesside.

Hospice blooms event postponed due to weather

The Butterwick Blooms commemorative event due to be held in Newham Grange Park in Stockton tomorrow has been postponed due to the adverse weather forecast.

The event was a showcase of hundreds of ceramic flowers made by potter Daisy Doodle in aid of the Butterwick Hospice.

It is being rescheduled for Saturday, 3 September, when the Mayor of Stockton will individually present the personalised blooms to those who have ordered them.

Some blooms
Butterwick Hospice

Police car and cathedral on World Photo Day

Ex-Boro midfielder Greening talks treble and Tadcaster

BBC Sport

Former Middlesbrough midfielder Johnathan Greening has been talking to the BBC about his career, from the early days being part of Manchester United's 1999 treble-winning side to turning out for Tadcaster Albion (and helping remove fish from their pitch after a flood.

Greening, now 37, joined Boro in 2001 and made 99 appearances for the club before leaving for West Bromwich Albion three years later.

Greening and family
Tadcaster Albion

Diesel stolen in Bltyh

Thieves have stolen diesel from a firm in Blyth.

They siphoned the fuel out of a tank at DA Johnstone Plant Hire on Coniston Road sometime between 15:00 and 17:20 on Tuesday.

Northumbria Police is appealing for witnesses. 

Theresa May backs Osborne's 'Northern Powerhouse'

BBC Politics

Theresa May has vowed to press ahead with George Osborne's "Northern Powerhouse" despite having fired him as chancellor.

In a Yorkshire Post article, the prime minister promised to "help the great cities and towns of the North pool their strengths and take on the world".

Theresa May

The Northern Powerhouse is the name attached to the government's bid to create a rival economy to London and the South East in the north of England.

It involves devolving new powers from Whitehall, improving transport links and creating new regional mayors to act as figureheads for their regions.

Driver who left pedestrian in coma is jailed

A drink driver who left a woman in a coma after crashing his car into her and a house has been jailed for four years.

Lewis Heslop admitted causing serious injury by dangerous driving, drink driving, driving while disqualified and without insurance when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court.

The 26-year-old of no fixed abode, crashed the silver Hyandai on Easson Road in Darlington on 13 June.

Lewis Heslop
Durham Police
The crashed car
Durham Police

He was also banned from driving for six years. Part of his jail term includes three months for breaching a conditional discharge which he was given by magistrates in Darlington in February for drink driving.

The Northern Echo is reporting that the woman, a 41-year-old Polish mother-of-two, is still in a coma after the crash and her life has been shortened by her injuries.

Sunderland target's Rangers move collapses

BBC Sport

Rangers' proposed move for Aston Villa's Joleon Lescott is off after the defender failed his medical, BBC Scotland understands.

The 34-year-old ex-England centre-half had been offered a two-year contract at Ibrox and had been expected to sign once he passed his medical in Glasgow.

Lescott had been linked with a move to Sunderland before his Rangers deal progressed.

Joleon Lescott
Getty Images

Lifebuoy vandalism 'endangering lives'

Lives could be in danger after 10 lifebouys were removed from their moorings and thrown into the water, a council is warning.

Seven buoys at Hebburn Marina and a further three at Hebburn Riverside Park were all removed last weekend.

Moira Smith from South Tyneside Council said: “These actions may well be down to high jinks but the consequences could, quite literally, be deadly.

“These lifebuoys are there for a reason and could save someone’s life in an accident. The people who are removing them are putting lives at risk so I would urge them to think very carefully about their actions.”

Durham disruption expected as traffic lights installed

Motorists are being warned of six weeks of disruption in Durham from Monday while a new £2.5m traffic light system is installed.

The lights, which form part of the SCOOT system, will be installed on the Leazes Bowl roundabout.

The restrictions will mean that people travelling eastbound on the A690 will not be able to turn right on to New Elvet Bridge after crossing Milburngate Bridge – instead being diverted up and round Gilesgate roundabout.

Traffic plan
Durham County Council

While this stage of the work is ongoing, several bus services will be using different routes and members of the public are advised to check with their operator.

Adrian White, head of transport and contract services, said: “We’re extremely grateful to everyone for their continued patience while we carry out these vital improvements which promise easier journeys in the future. 

"We’ve now reached the most disruptive part of the works but, by constantly revising and adapting our approach to help the public, we’ve been able to reduce this stage by a month.”

Man pushed and attacked by dog-walker

A man was pushed and verbally abused by a dog walker in Seaton Carew, Cleveland Police says.

The 21-year-old was approached and assaulted on Seaton Beach opposite the Norton Hotel at about 14:15 on Wednesday.

The dog walker is a man in his late 40s to early 50s with white hair and he was wearing black shorts and a white polo to.

He was walking a black and white Border Collie which answered to the name Maple.

Victim of best-man fraudster 'shocked'

One of the victims of best man fraudster Martyn Galvin has been speaking to BBC Tees about the moment he realised he had been conned.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the stag party started to become suspicious after gathering for breakfast on the morning they were due to depart.

“We rang Galvin and he answered the phone and he said he’d been in hospital overnight and was waiting for a doctor to come along. He rang again and said he’d just had a consultation with a doctor and they’d confirmed his cancer was terminal and he wouldn’t be able to make it.

"We decided, ‘Let’s go to the airport and find out what’s going on’ because that’s what Galvin told us to do. He was he was terminal cancer [sic], there wasn’t a lot they could do and he was going to sign himself out of hospital. The whole thing just didn’t add up."

De Jong set for Newcastle exit?

BBC Sport

Newcastle's 27-year-old forward Siem de Jong is close to completing a move back to his native Netherlands with PSV, according to Voetbal International. 

Siem's 25-year-old brother Luuk de Jong -  who played for the Magpies in 2014 - is already at the Dutch champions.

De Jong
Getty Images

Windscreen shattered by rock thrown from bridge

A car windscreen was smashed by a rock thrown from a bridge in Blyth.

Northumbria Police said the "mindless act of vandalism", which happened at about 19:00 on the Spine Road in Bebside near to the roundabout next to Asda, could have injured or even killed someone.


A VW Passat was damaged by the rock.

Acting Inspector Lee Kennedy said: "We are carrying out extra patrol in this area anyone found to be responsible will be arrested.  

"We want to make it clear that these types of incidents are extremely dangerous and those responsible must face the consequences." 

Karaka gives views ahead of match against Sunderland

Middlesbrough boss Aitor Karanka's side go into Sunday's match at Sunderland on the back of a positive performance - but a 1-1 draw - at home to Stoke on Saturday.

"It is my first derby," Karanka says. "I have heard how big and important this game is for everyone. But for us it is another three points.

"Everybody was really pleased after the Stoke game. We have to keep working harder every day. Everybody is fit to play except for Grant Leadbitter and Marten de Roon."

Watford agree fee with Sunderland for Kaboul

BBC Sport

Sunderland defender Younes Kaboul is set to have a medical at Watford today after a transfer fee was agreed.

Kaboul, 30, moved to Sunderland from Spurs in 2015 and has told the club he wants to leave for personal reasons.

Watford will also pay a club record fee for Juventus' Argentina international Roberto Pereyra, more than the £12.5m they paid Granada for striker Isaac Success this summer.

Younes Kaboul
Getty Images

Are you missing your bunny?

Young Northumberland politicians sought

Candidates are being sought to join the Northumberland Youth Parliament.

There are two places open to anyone aged between 13 and 19 and attending school in Northumberland.

There are also five places open on the Northumberland Youth Cabinet. 

Northumberland County Council offices

Robert Arckless of Northumberland County Council said: “Northumberland Youth Parliament is a great way for young people to gain experience of elections and the democratic process. 

"It’s great to see so many young people enthusiastic about making a real difference in their county and I’m excited to hear about the plans our potential candidates have for the county.”

Candidates can be nominated until noon on 21 October. The two-year placement would start in February.

Groom in disbelief over best man's deception

The groom who chose Martyn Galvin to be his best man was in shock after his friend conned the stag party out of almost £8,000, one of the victims has said.

Speaking to BBC Tees, the man who wishes to remain anonymous said: "He was in shock. He was on one side of the fence thinking his best mate’s got terminal cancer but then on the other because of all the things that had happened and when he started to look at other incidents that were leading up to the stag weekend.

“Like all of us, he started to think ‘What’s true and what’s not?’.

“It’s a weird situation and it’s something you’d see on telly, not in real life. I still to this day don’t believe it actually happened.”

Best man's bowel cancer lie 'went on for months'

One of the victims of Martyn Galvin, a best man who conned a stag party out of almost £8,000, said the fraudster had been lying about having bowel cancer for months.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, told BBC Tees: “This lie of bowel cancer had been going on for about four months. 

"I remember incidents where I had gone and picked him up from his house because the doctor had said he wasn’t allowed to drive and he would gingerly get into my car with a fresh bandage on that we later found out he was buying from Boots."

Martyn Galvin
Cleveland Police

On the day the group were due to fly to Prague, and as they started to raise questions about the trip, Galvin, 30, sent them messages saying his cancer had been diagnosed as terminal.

The victim said: “He said he had terminal cancer, there wasn’t a lot they could do and he was going to sign himself out of hospital. 

"The whole thing just didn’t add up. While all this was happening, one of us was receiving texts from Galvin saying, ‘Have you told all the lads I’ve got terminal cancer?’ followed by, ‘Can you let me know how they reacted?’.

“It’s almost as if he was starting to believe his own lies and living a lie."

Trust asks: 'Have you got a favourite tree?'

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

The Durham Wildlife Trust is asking a somewhat unusual question - what is your favourite tree?

The charity has launched a photography competition for the best shots of the area's trees. 

Really, they have.

Duncan Leatherdale

The deadline for entries is 5 September and photographs can be submitted on Twitter by tweeting #NETrees or via email to

The Trust is also holding a junior contest where children can draw their trees, make tree poems and write a tree tale. 

Both competitions will be judged in September by botanist Dr Phil Gates and prizes will be given at an awards event later.

Football gossip: Sunderland's Kone offered new contract

BBC Sport

Sunderland boss David Moyes has offered Ivory Coast defender Lamine Kone a new £50,000-a-week contract. Everton want to sign the 27-year-old. (The Sun)

Click here for more football gossip.

Stadium of Light pictures sought

Sunderland's Stadium of Light is calling for photos of the venue as part of National Photography Day:

View more on twitter

Former Newcastle United player Harper is club's new 'keeper coach

Newcastle United's longest serving player, Steve Harper, has been appointed as the club's new Academy goalkeeping coach, the club has announced.

The 41-year-old stopper spent 20 years at St James' Park between 1993 and 2013, making 199 appearances and representing the Magpies in the FA Cup final, Champions League, UEFA Cup and Europa League as well as domestic games.

Steven Harper
Getty Images

Following his release from Tyneside, Harper spent time at Hull City and Sunderland, but has returned to Newcastle's Little Benton Academy where he will work with goalkeepers from under-nine to under-16 level. 

Harper said: "I've been involved in grassroots football in the area for the last six years so I have extensive knowledge of the many junior football clubs throughout the region. It's great to be back at the club in a coaching capacity and i'm looking forward to starting."

Travel: Slow traffic on A19 due to roadworks

BBC Travel

There's slow traffic on A19 in both directions in Newcastle Upon Tyne between Holystone Roundabout and Howdon Roundabout. In the roadworks area.  

Click here for the latest travel news.

Conned stag party found nothing had been booked

A stag party conned out of almost £8,000 by the best man discovered the fraud after arriving at Newcastle Airport to find neither flights nor hotels for their Prague trip had been booked.

One of the victims of Martyn Galvin's con told BBC Tees: “We got to the airport at which point all the stories obviously connected and there was nothing booked. 

"There were suspicions but you’re talking about a guy some of these lads have known for 20 years.

Getty Images

“Then we rang him from the airport and said, ‘Nothing’s booked. What’s going on?’. 

"He said it must be a mix up and he’d get back to us. We were like, ‘Well where’s the booking reference?’

“He just said, ‘I’ll get back to you’ and that was it. We never from him again for the rest of the day other than a random text saying, ‘Hope you all have a good night lads, sorry for the mix up’. 

"We ended up doing the best we could with a stag do in Newcastle, Yarm and Middlesbrough."

Travel: Protest slows traffic

BBC Travel

There is very slow traffic on A178 Seaton Carew Road northbound in Billingham between the A1046 Port Clarence Road junction and the A1185 junction, because of a demonstration. 

Click here for the latest travel news.

Sunderland accept Watford's Kaboul bid

BBC Sport

Sunderland have accepted an undisclosed bid from fellow Premier League side Watford for defender Younes Kaboul.

The 30-year-old centre-back, who moved to Sunderland from Tottenham in 2015, has told manager David Moyes that he wants to leave for personal reasons.

Getty Images

Kaboul has been given permission to discuss personal terms with Watford.

"The club and the manager have shown an understanding of my personal circumstances and I am grateful for that," Kaboul told the club website.

Best man jailed for stag-do fraud

A Yarm man has been jailed for 20 months after conning his friends out of almost £8,000 for a stag trip to Prague.

Best man Martyn Galvin (pictured) was meant to be organising the trip for the 17-strong group, but instead gambled their money away. 

The victims only found out about the con when they arrived at Newcastle Airport to find no flights or hotels had been booked.

Martyn Galvin
Cleveland Police

He also told them he had terminal bowel cancer.

Galvin must also pay £7,945 compensation after admitting fraud when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court.

Weather: Dry start, wet later

BBC Weather

It will be a dry and cloudy start to the day, but turning wet during the afternoon as outbreaks of rain spread northeast.

These will perhaps turn heavy across the hills, before easing away from the southwest later. It will feel cooler than recently.

Check the forecast where you are here.

Weather map

Teenager in coma after cliff fall

A 13-year-old boy has suffered serious head and leg injuries after falling from a cliff.

The teenager fell about 20ft (6m) at Cullercoats Bay, North Tyneside, at about 17:20 yesterday, emergency services said.

Emergency services at the scene
John Tuttiett Photography

He was given a blood transfusion by medics from the Great North East Air Ambulance and put into an induced coma.

He was flown to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary where his condition on arrival was "serious but stable".

Good morning and welcome to our coverage

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

Morning - Welcome to Friday's live coverage.

We're back with your latest news, sport, weather and travel updates throughout the day.

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