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  1. Updates on Wednesday 8 March 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's all from us for today - thank you for joining us.

You can still catch up with the latest news throughout the night on  BBC Tees ,   BBC Newcastle ,   Look North  and online.

If you'd like to get in touch or share your North East pictures with us, you can do so on   Twitter ,   Facebook  , or via   email at  .

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00, have a good evening.

Weather: Dry with clear spells overnight, blustery tomorrow

It's been a breezy but lovely, sunny day. Phil Smith took this striking photo of Roker Pier.

This evening and tonight will be mostly dry with clear spells and patchy cloud overnight. However, there will be a chance of a few isolated showers and it will stay breezy especially over the Cheviot Hills and Whitfield Moor. Minimum Temperature: 5C (41F).

Sun shining on the sea at Roker
Phil Smith

Tomorrow will be a dry and mild day with sunny spells. However blustery winds are likely to continue for much of the day, before gradually easing into the evening. Maximum Temperature: 11C (52F).   

Northumberland woman with Down's Syndrome gives evidence to parliamentary committee

A Northumberland woman says she hopes her appearance before a government committee will encourage other disabled people to speak about causes they are passionate about.

Tess Bolt, from Hexham, who has Down's Syndrome, gave evidence about supported housing to the joint Work and Pensions and Communities and Local Government Select Committee who are assessing the Government's plans to overhaul the supported housing sector. 

She is a resident of Mencap's housing arm, Golden Lane Housing.

          Tessa Bolt from Hexham is the first person with Down Syndrome to give evidence in Parliament
Tessa Bolt

She said: "Supported housing is something that I am really passionate about and I am really happy that the committee will get to hear about it from someone who has a learning disability and uses supported housing." 

Blue plaque unveiled to remember Newcastle suffragette

To mark International Women's Day a special plaque has been unveiled in Newcastle's Grey Street. 

Unveiled by the city's Lord Mayor, Councillor Hazel Stephenson, the plaque commemorates the famous Newcastle suffragette, Kathleen Brown. 

It symbolised the moment of Kathleen's release from prison in 1909, where she'd been sentenced for throwing stones at the windows of Whitehall during a protest trying to win the right to vote for women. Kathleen then returned to Newcastle to a hero's welcome. 

Blue plaque

Burglars target Gateshead business premises

Police have said they "have not ruled out" whether three burglaries at businesses premises in Gateshead might be linked.

During the incidents, in the Bensham area, copper piping, cable, money and even baked goods were taken.

Northumbria Police is investigating and has stepped up patrols in the area.

Adam Clayton

Middlesbrough's Adam Clayton says his time at Manchester City shaped his career, ahead of the two clubs' FA Cup quarter-final.

Read more

Your photos: Souter Lighthouse in the sunshine

A big thank you to Billy Davies from Hebburn who took this picture of Souter Lighthouse this morning. 

If you have any weather photos we'd love to see them.

What a beautiful blue sky. Fingers crossed that Spring has finally sprung.

If you have any photos you'd like to send us you can Tweet us  @BBCNewsNEemail , or contact us through our  Facebook page

Souter Lighthouse
Billy Davies

Two of region's biggest employers hoping to employ more women

View more on twitter

Two of the region's biggest companies have chosen International Women's Day to announce they want to recruit more women. 

Northumbrian Water and Northern Powergrid are forecasting a huge skills gap in the coming years - particularly in new technology.  

          Northumbrian Water and Northern Powergrid want to recruit more women.
One of the companies hoping to attract more female employees

They say more than 200,000 new recruits are needed in the next 10 years - and want more women to work with them.  

Drug driver blamed injured eight-year-old for collision on wasteland

Sunderland Echo


A man who collided with an eight-year-old boy while driving a pick-up truck off the road blamed the injured youngster for what happened.

Ryan Crake
Sunderland Echo

Budget 2017: Key points for the North East

Richard Moss

Political Editor, BBC Look North

Philip Hammond has been delivering his first Budget as chancellor.   

There will be £2bn of extra funding for social care for councils over the next few years, so that is a recognition that the councils are struggling. But for a lot of North East Labour MPs it simply isn't enough because the demands on the services here are so strong.

Other announcements made are extra help for business rates, £90m for roads in the North - we don't know the details of that at the moment.

There was one mention of the Northern Powerhouse this year - there were six last year.

Philip Hammond

You can see a summary of the key points of the Budget here.

CCTV and dash cam footage appeal in Redcar rape investigation

Police investigating the rape of a woman after she was forced into a car in Redcar with her toddler are appealing for anyone with CCTV or dash cam footage from the area to get in touch.

The woman aged in her 30s and her child  were abducted by two men  from Redcar seafront at lunchtime on Friday.  

They were later forced out of a dark coloured saloon vehicle on Kirkleatham Lane, between the turn off for Kirkleatham Museum and the bus stop towards Redcar.

Cleveland Police want people to contact them if they can remember seeing a woman and a child close to the Lakes Estate or in the Yearby area in Redcar sometime between 17:30 and 18:30 on Friday. 

          Police are appealing for help following a report of a rape in Redcar

"Anyone with private CCTV or dash cam footage who was in the Lakes Estate and Longbeck area between 17:30 and 18:30 is asked to come forward and speak to police."

Det Ch Insp Steve Young Cleveland and North Yorkshire Major Investigation Team

Extra patrols are continuing in the area and people are being urged to remain vigilant.

MP urged girls to consider career in engineering

On International Women's Day, Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah has urged girls to consider a career in engineering.

There is currently a huge shortage of engineers across the country, and it is hoped targeting women will help make up the shortfall. 

Chi Onwurah
Labour Party

Chi Onwurah, who used to be an engineer herself, said: "Young girls don't get to see what engineers really do and what a difference it makes.

"And then there's all sorts of cultural stereotypes.

"I think the best way to sell engineering is to get women engineers to say how great it is, and then to make sure in schools young girls get experience of engineering."

Richard Kilty

Richard Kilty says running like "a kid in school" helped him win his gold medal at the European Indoor Championships.

Read more

Sex offender arrested following appeal on BBC Crimewatch

A convicted sex offender who had been on the run since last year has been arrested after a nationwide appeal including on BBC Crimewatch on Monday.

Lisa Hauxwell, also known as Craig John Hauxwell, who is originally from Darlington had been convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison in her absence for historical sex offences. Hauxwell carried out the offences while living as a man, but was sentenced under the name of Lisa.

Police received more than 20 calls after the Crimewatch appeal on Monday and the following day officers in Nottinghamshire arrested Hauxwell.

Lisa Hauxwell/Craig John Hauxwell
Durham Police

Det Insp Yvonne Dutson said: "This a fantastic result and due entirely to the calls we had following the appeal on Crimewatch."

Labour councillors at Durham County council threatened in letter

Labour councillors and election candidates have been warned to be more aware of their personal security after death threats were issued in an anonymous letter to a police chief constable.

The letter was addressed to Durham Police Chief Constable Mike Barton and was sent to police headquarters.

Durham Police said: "There is no supporting intelligence to corroborate these threats. 

"Unfortunately, letters of this nature are not uncommon and are generally sent to cause concern to the recipients without any real substance behind them. 

"However, enquiries are taking place to trace the person responsible for the letter and we are liaising with Durham County Council to offer reassurance to those named." 

          Labour councillors threatened in a letter sent to Durham Police
Durham County Council headquarters

Jail terms increased over murdered man

Two people who assisted in the killing of a vulnerable man have had their prison sentences increased by the Court of Appeal .

Lee Irving, 24, who had learning disabilities, was tortured and killed by people he thought were his friends in Newcastle in 2015.

James Wheatley, 29, was jailed for 23 years for his murder in December.

Wheatley's mother Julie Mills and his girlfriend Nicole Lawrence - who were convicted of causing or allowing Mr Irving's death and perverting the course of justice - have had their sentences increased by two and three years respectively.

Lee Irving

Missing nine-year-old boy found

Luca Bolam has been found. The nine year old went missing from his home in Newburn this morning. He was found in the Walbottle area of Newcastle. 

Northumbria Police want to thank everyone who shared the appeal.  

Appeal for help to find missing nine-year-old boy

A nine-year-old boy has gone missing from his home in Newburn, Newcastle.  

Luca Bolam was last seen by his parents at around 05:00 at his home. However, when his parents went to check on Luca at 07.45 he had left the house through the back door. 

Luca is described as white, about 4ft, of slim build and with short blonde hair. He is believed to be wearing a navy blue parker jacket and blue adidas trainers

Have you seen Luca?  If you know where he is please contact the police 101 quoting log 183 08/03/17   

9 year old Luca Bolan who is missing from home
Northumbria Police

North East businesses await Budget details

Businesses across the North East will be waiting to hear what the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, will produce from his red box when he delivers the final Spring budget. 

Future budget statements will be in the Autumn. 

This will also be the last budget before article 50 is triggered, beginning the process of the UK leaving the EU.

You can follow all the build-up here.

Philip Hammond

Town unites behind South Shields as FA Vase semi-final looms

The Shields Gazette

More support for South Shields FC as town unites behind team.

South Shields fans
Shields Gazette

Tees investment advisor Lord Heseltine sacked over Brexit rebellion

BBC Tees

Lord Heseltine - who was an advisor to the government after the closure of SSI in Redcar - has been sacked as a government adviser after rebelling over Brexit in the House of Lords. 

The House of Lords inflicted a second defeat on the Government in calling for parliament to be given a "meaningful" vote on the final Brexit deal. Ministers will try to overturn the amendment in the Commons.

Lord Heseltine was asked by Business Secretary Sajid Javid to look at ways of bringing investment to Teesside after the site closed in 2015.

Lord Heseltine

Weather: A dry, bright and mild day

Lisa Gallagher

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

A mostly dry and bright day, with patchy cloud and sunny spells.

There may be a chance of the odd isolated shower, but temperatures will remain mild.


Rape arrest man released without charge

A man arrested on suspicion of raping a woman who was forced into a car with her toddler has been released.

The victim, aged in her 30s, and her child,  were abducted by two men  from Redcar seafront on Friday lunchtime, and driven about four miles, where the woman was raped by two men.

On Tuesday, police arrested a 31-year-old local man, but he was later released without charge.

Cleveland Police said enquiries were ongoing.

Redcar beach scene
Rafael Benitez

Newcastle see their Championship lead cut to three points as they are held to a draw by fellow promotion hopefuls Reading.

Read more

Boy, nine, dies a week after being hit by car

A nine-year-old boy has died in hospital a week after he was hit by a car.

Ethan Owens was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough after the incident on Marina Way, Hartlepool, on 27 February.

Cleveland Police said "our thoughts and sympathy are with Ethan's family and friends at this extremely difficult time".

Marina Way in Hartlepool

Good morning. Welcome to our live coverage

We'll be here until through the day bringing you news, sport, weather and travel from across the North East.

If you'd like to get in touch you can Tweet us @BBCNewsNE , email , or contact us through our Facebook page .

Thanks to Ashley Foster who sent us this beautiful picture of the sun emerging through the clouds on a rainy day in Hartlepool.

Ashley Foster