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  1. Updates on Wednesday 22 February 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's us all done for another day - thank you for joining us.

You can catch up with the latest news tonight on BBC TeesBBC NewcastleLook North and online.  

If you have a photograph you'd like to share with us, you can Tweet us @BBCNewsNEemail, or contact us via our Facebook page.

Tracey Laing sent us this photo. She said: "I don't think he was keen on getting his photograph taken."

Highland cattle
Tracey Laing

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 and hope to see you then.

Two best friends in £15m lottery win

It's champagne and celebrations for two women who have just become multi-millionaires.

Paula Barraclough and Lorraine Smith

The friends, who scooped a £15.3m Lotto jackpot, say they plan to take a first-class flight to Las Vegas.

Paula Barraclough and Lorraine Smith, from Sunderland, always share lottery wins and have previously put £25 prizes towards a holiday fund.

Now instead of a trip to the Greek islands, the pair, aged 45 and 54, are set to jet off to the United States.

Mrs Smith bought the ticket on Saturday on her way to work as a care home cook after finding £2 in her purse.

Lorraine Smith and Paula Barraclough

Severe accident: A1 Tyne And Wear southbound

BBC News Travel

A1 Tyne And Wear southbound severe accident, between A692 Lobley Hill Road and A167 Durham Road affecting A69.

A1 Tyne And Wear - A1 Western Bypass in Gateshead closed, delays and queuing traffic southbound between Lobley Hill Interchange and the A167 Durham Road junction, because of a multi-vehicle accident. Diversion in operation - Via exit and entry slip roads, Team Valley and through Lamesley from the Coalhouse roundabout. Congestion to Hexham Turn Off.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Weather: Storm Doris weather warnings for the region

Jennifer Bartram

BBC Look North weather presenter

A number of weather warnings are in force across the North East as Storm Doris approaches.

Overnight and into tomorrow morning, it will turn wet and windy, with snow across higher ground in Northumberland – some rather high accumulations are possible here.

Even if you don’t have the snow, there’ll be heavy rain around and strong winds, so rush hour on Thursday could be quite tricky. 

There’ll be a spell of very windy weather through Thursday afternoon, with gales or severe gales at times – gusts of 50-60mph possible.

View more on twitter

Stay tuned to the forecast if you have travel plans – or check it any time at

Record return for wetland's early bird

A rare bird has made its earliest ever return to a North East wetland reserve.

Avocets began breeding at WWT Washington in 2006 and since then numbers have steadily increased.

On Tuesday, an unringed female adult was spotted on Wader Lake – two days earlier than the site’s previous record of 23 February set in 2014.


Reserve warden David Dinsley, said: "It’s always very exciting to see the first avocets return each season and we’re thrilled that a new record has been set this year.

“We now expect numbers to start gradually building as more birds move further north during this mild weather."

Ed Sheeran and James Arthur bromance

The BRIT Awards 2017

There's a romance brewing on the red carpet - Ed Sheeran moves from admiring James Arthur's beard or fake tan to having a lovely hug. Ahh!! 

The Middlesbrough singer has been nominated for two awards - British single and British artist video of the year.

Music News LIVE: Brit Awards 2017.

Ed Sheeran and James Arthur

Storm Doris prompts Twitter warnings

The lady everyone is tweeting about this afternoon is Storm Doris and she's certainly keeping the region's agencies and councils busy #StormDoris. 

View more on twitter
We are prepared for #stormDoris following @metoffice weather warnings. #TeamPowergrid

We are prepared for #stormDoris following @metoffice weather warnings. #TeamPowergrid

View more on twitter
View more on twitter
View more on twitter
DTH van der Merwe

Newcastle Falcons are to sign winger DTH van der Merwe for the 2017-18 season once his Scarlets deal expires.

Read more

Wearside Women in Need protest to be held

For women trying to escape from an abusive relationship, Wearside Women in Need is a last resort. Many arrive with nothing but the clothes on their backs and their children.

Claire Phillipson. Wearside Women in Need

But the charity is facing an uncertain future after Sunderland City Council announced proposals to stop funding the service.

This means it will be left with a massive financial black hole and could be forced to close all its refuges if its current grant of £500,000 ends in July.

Clare Phillipson who heads the charity, says she has "seen it all over the last 35 years".  

We've got a lot of desperately worried service users who don't know where they're going to be in a few months time and don't know whether help is going to be available."

Claire PhillipsonWearside Women in Need

A protest is being held next week to voice their concerns about the council's decision. 

The council said no final decisions had been made on the 2017/18 budget.

North East artists nominated for Brit Awards

Little Mix and James Arthur will find out tonight if they will be taking home a Brit Award

The awards will be handed out to the best music acts from the UK and beyond at a ceremony at the O2 Arena tonight in London. 

Little Mix

Little Mix and James Arthur are two of the nominees in the Best British Single category - Little Mix with 'Shout Out To My Ex' and James Arthur with 'Say You Won't Let Go'.  

Little Mix are also nominated for the Best British Group.

James Arthur

They're also competing against each other for best British artist video of the year.

Local TV: Exploring the treasures at Durham Cathedral

Made in Tyne and Wear

Shops targeted by armed robbers

Robbers armed with knives targeted two shops in Thornaby on Tuesday night.

The first incident took place just after 19:00 GMT at the Spar Store, formerly the Nisa Store, on Lanehouse Road when a man attempted to rob a store armed with a knife. Scratch cards were taken. No-one was injured in the incident, Cleveland Police said.

The suspect is described as a white male, aged in his late 30’s, about 5ft 8in (1.7m) tall, of average build and with ginger stubble. He was wearing a grey sports jacket and dark bottoms.

At about 19:50 three men with a knife attempted to rob a store a store on Cumbernauld Road. No-one was injured in the incident and the suspects made off empty handed. 

Two of the suspects are described as white males, about 5ft 11in (1.8m) tall, of slim build and aged 20 to 30 years old. A third suspect is described as a white male, about 5ft 7in (1.7cm) tall, of slim build and aged about 20 years old.

Villagers pay tribute to two young men

Sunderland Echo


Friends and family held a candle-lit lantern release last night in memory of two much-loved young men.

Lantern tribute
Sunderland Echo
Marcus Watson

Wasps sign winger Marcus Watson and prop Ben Harris from Newcastle, plus Nottingham hooker Antonio Harris, for 2017-18.

Read more

Plasma trial success for Great North Air Ambulance

Three people probably would have died without a new blood plasma treatment which is now being extended, an air ambulance has said. 

Since May 2016, one of the Great North Air Ambulance Service's two helicopters has been using plasma when treating patients with blood. 

The charity said a review of five months data has proved a success so will now also use it on both aircraft. Plasma helps form blood clots and stop bleeding.

The Great North Air Ambulance team

We're delighted to see evidence that using fresh frozen plasma alongside red blood cell transfusions, when stabilising patients with life threatening injuries, has had such a positive impact."

Dr Rachel HawesAircrew doctor
The bags used in transfusions contain a mixture of blood and plasma

The air ambulance said three of the 36 people who were given the plasma and blood mixture ended up being "unexpected survivors" thanks to the new treatment.

The plasma and blood mixture is delivered daily to the air ambulance by Northumbria Blood Bikes and Blood Bikes Cumbria, with support from the Henry Surtees Foundation, from the blood laboratories at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Man guilty of murdering children's author

The fiance of a Northumberland-born children's author who drugged and suffocated her before throwing her body in a hidden cesspit has been found guilty of murder.

Ian Stewart, 56, had denied murdering Helen Bailey at their home in Royston, Hertfordshire, in order to get his hands on her near-£4m fortune.

He was convicted at St Albans Crown Court following a seven-week trial.

Police say they will look again at the death of Stewart's wife Diane in 2010 following the verdict.

Helen Bailey
Sunderland striker Andrew Nelson

Hartlepool United loanee Andrew Nelson returns to parent club Sunderland for treatment to a knee ligament injury.

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Pair admit dog nail head death

Peter Harris

BBC Look North

Two men have admitted their part in the death of a dog found buried alive with a nail in its head.

The 16-year-old terrier was discovered in a mound of earth in Kirkleatham Woods, Redcar, in October and was so severely injured it had to be put down.

Michael Heathcock, 59, and Richard Finch, 60, both from Redcar, pleaded guilty to offences under the Animal Welfare Act.


Teesside Magistrates' Court heard Heathcock could not afford to have Scamp put down by a vet so he and Finch did it themselves, thinking they "were doing the right thing".

However, a vet said it was the "worst case he had ever come across".

They will be sentenced on 1 March.

Weather: Warnings for Thursday

There are both amber and yellow warnings for snow in parts of the North East tomorrow, the Met Office says.

The warnings are in place from 02:00 until 18:00.

The amber snow warning is for Northumberland with accumulations of 10 to 15cm likely quite widely with 20 to 30cm falling on hills above 300m. This will lead to disruption to transport and perhaps power supplies. 

The yellow warning is also for Northumberland with rain or sleet at low levels first with some snow likely too

It says there will also be heavy rain at lower levels.

Dalesman bus

The bus service through the Yorkshire Dales featured in a popular BBC programme in 2016.

Read more

Woman sexually assaulted in taxi

A woman has been sexually assaulted in a taxi in Newcastle.

The woman got into the black hackney-style cab at about 03:00 on Sunday in the Pilgrim Street area.

Northumbria Police said she was taken to Orchard Place, Jesmond where, after the car stopped and parked up, the driver touched the woman inappropriately. 

She screamed, fled the car and reported the incident to police who are appealing for witnesses.

Get Carter gangland murder appeal rejected

A bid to challenge a murder conviction that inspired the classic crime thriller Get Carter has been rejected by the High Court.

Michael Luvaglio, served 12 years in jail for the killing Angus Sibbet in a suspected gangland execution in 1967. Luvaglio, who has always maintained his innocence, had asked for the decision not to re-hear the case in the Court of Appeal to be reviewed.

Mr Justice Langstaff said the bid had "no realistic prospect" of succeeding.

Stafford and Luvaglio

Mr Sibbett was found dead in the back seat of his Jaguar under Pesspool Bridge, South Hetton, County Durham, with three gunshot wounds in January 1967.

Luvaglio (pictured right) and co-accused Dennis Stafford (left) were both found guilty of shooting Mr Sibbett, who collected cash from fruit machines in Newcastle.

Travel: All lanes now open on A1 but still delays

Weather: Dry day with sunny spells

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

It will be a mainly dry day with sunny spells, and just a chance of an odd shower, these wintry over the hills. 

Feeling chilly with strong, gusty westerly winds. 

Maximum Temperature: 9C (48 F).

Abbie Dewhurst and weather graphic

Watch: Prince Harry's visit to Tyneside

Prince Harry was in Newcastle and Gateshead yesterday - here's a round up of his visit.

Prince Harry brings his mental health message to Tyneside

Travel: Jack-knifed lorry causing delays on A1

BBC Tees

There have been problems on the A1 in North Yorkshire this morning.

A lane is closed and there is heavy traffic due to jack-knifed lorry on A1 southboundbound between A6136 Gatherley Road (Catterick North) & A6136 Leeming Lane  

Welcome to our live coverage

We'll be with you throughout the day to bring you the latest news, weather, sport and travel updates from across the North East.

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us? In that case you can tweet them to @BBCNewsNEemail them, or contact us via our Facebook page.