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  1. Updates on Thursday 9 March 2017
  2. Woman charged with tied-up man's murder
  3. Ambitious plans for Darlington station to be revealed
  4. Parents asked to put down phones when collecting children

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Through the day: BBC North East Live

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.

The Word boosts book borrowing on South Tyneside

Library membership and book borrowing have gone through the roof on South Tyneside since The Word venue opened in South Shields four months ago.  

The Word. The National Centre for the Written Word
South Tyneside Council

Membership has rocketed by 1,000 per cent. As well as a library, The Word has computers, it hosts clubs and an exhibition about local lad and Hollywood film director Sir Ridley Scott.  

New cervical cancer screening campaign begins on Teesside

Stuart Whincup

BBC Look North

The family of a Teesside mother who died of cancer are campaigning to encourage women from Black, Asian and ethnic minorities to have smear tests.

Ferzana Khan
Ferzana's familiy

Friends raised £57,000 to pay for Ferzana Khan,41, to travel from Middlesbrough to Germany for pioneering treatment, but she died a few days later. 

Her family believe many women don't get tested because they don't know about screening or are too frightened or embarrassed to get tested. 

Watch: People give their views on school asking parents to put phones away

Signs have been put up at a Middlesbrough school asking parents to put their phones away when collecting children.

St Joseph's RC Primary School says it is part of an idea to get families talking at the end of the day.

View more on facebook

Nine people arrested following legal high raids

Nine people have been charged after legal high drugs with a street value of more than £2,000 were seized in raids in Newcastle. 

A bad containing legal highs

The bags  called Spice, Old Jamaican Extreme and Alabama Wildfire had, not for human consumption, written on them.  

 Eight men, aged between 20 and 55, and a 24-year-old woman have been charged with conspiracy to supply lethal highs. 

They will appear before Newcastle Magistrates' Court on April 7.

"We are one of the most proactive police forces in the country when it comes to clamping down on lethal highs and that is one of the reasons we hear so much about it in the press. "

Superintendent David Felton Northumbria Police

Toddler murder mother's appeal thrown out

A mother jailed for life for murdering her toddler son in Fife has had her appeal against conviction rejected.

Rachel Fee, 32, argued the judge in her 2016 trial misdirected the jury about the lesser charge of culpable homicide before they considered their verdict.

Liam Fee, two, died at his home near Glenrothes on 22 March 2014.

Fee, also known as Trelfa, and her civil partner Nyomi Fee, 30, who were originally from Ryton, Gateshead, were both convicted of abusing and murdering the toddler.

Rachel Fee and Liam Fee
Redcar sea front

Cleveland Police say they are no longer looking for two men accused of abducting and raping a woman.

Read more

Severe accident: A693 County Durham both ways

BBC News Travel

A693 County Durham both ways severe accident, between Pelton Lane and Green's Bank.

A693 County Durham - A693 in High Hold closed and queuing traffic in both directions between the Pelton Lane junction and the Green's Bank junction, because of an accident.

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

Aitor Karanka

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka is confident he still has the backing of chairman Steve Gibson, despite the club's poor form.

Read more

'Greet your child with a smile, not a mobile'

The Gazette


A Middlesbrough school has put up signs asking parents to stay off their phones when they pick up their children .

Fans give their backing to Durham County Cricket club

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle

Cricket fans in the region have thrown their support behind Durham despite their relegation by the ECB in October. 

Durham County Cricket
Durham County Cricket

Membership is up 5%. It's the first rise in eight years. While a lot are new members are trying to do their bit to help the club, a number of lapsed members have re-joined too. 

View more on twitter

Many in the game feel the ECB punishment over financial matters is draconian and the game's governing body is also partly responsible for the problems. 

Durham, like so many other counties, got themselves into trouble bidding too much for test matches.    

Cleveland Police helicopter base to close

The Cleveland Police helicopter base at Durham Tees Valley Airport will close next month. 

          A police helicopter taking off from Cleveland police headquarters
A Cleveland Police helicopter

It had been under threat for the last three years due to budget cuts. 

The National Police Air Service says support will be called into the area from bases in Newcastle and Leeds. It's also building an additional base in Doncaster which will be operational from August.  

Durham University opens its new multimillion-pound science

Durham University's opening its new multimillion-pound science centre today which will house an international team of researchers investigating the mysteries of the Universe.

          The Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics at Durham University
Durham University
The Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics at Durham University

The Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics is named after the benefactor businessman and Durham physics graduate Prof Sir Peter Ogden. The new building was designed by a team of New York architects led by Daniel Libeskind.  

Parents welcome mobile phone ban at picking up time

Parents say they think it is a good idea to put up signs asking for mobile phones to be put away when children are collected.

There are circular signs outside St Joseph's RC Primary School in Longlands, Middlesbrough, which say "Greet your child with a smile not on a mobile".

Jade Collett, whose four-year-old son attends the nursery at St Joseph's, said: "The kids have been at school all day so the last thing they want is for their mum or dad to be glued to their phone." 

Precious Dhladhla, whose four-year-old daughter Isabella also attends the nursery, agreed. 

She said: "I think the other parents are following the rules because you don't see many people on their phones now."

Mobile phone sign

Parents urged to put down phones when collecting children

A primary school has put up signs on its gates asking parents to put their mobiles away and smile at their children when they collect them.

The pick-up time reminder at St Joseph's RC Primary School in Longlands, Middlesbrough, features a figure on a phone with a red line through it. 

The circular signs, which say "Greet your child with a smile not a mobile", have been placed at three entrances. 

The school said it was part of an idea to get families talking at the end of the school day.   

Is Spring finally here?

It's a beautiful sunny day in many parts of the region today.

Here's a picture taken at the National Trust's Wallington Hall in Northumberland this morning by Press Association photographer Owen Humphreys.

Woman walking her dogs through a field of crocus flowers

Ambitious project to revamp Darlington railway station announced

Shorter journey times to London and Manchester from Darlington. That was the bold message announced this morning as part of plans to revamp the town's railway station. 

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

New dementia project in Gateshead enlists help from schoolchildren

Three and four year olds will be helping to cheer up people in their 80s and 90s as part of a new dementia project in Gateshead. 

A pupil from Harlow Green Primary School
Gateshead Council
The old and young member's of Gateshead's first dementia hub

Pupils from Harlow Green Primary School will be encouraged to make friends with older people living at Angel Court, a sheltered housing scheme run by Gateshead Housing Company.

          A pupil of Harlow Green Primary School helping a resident at Angel Court Residents home
Gateshead Council
Learning to weave willow

The project is called 'budding friendships' and its been given £10,000 of lottery funding

“There can be a very real risk of older people finding themselves isolated, on the outside looking in and we’d like to encourage them to be a part of and enjoy our lively, vibrant school life with us becoming a truly dementia-friendly school.”

Kate Rowe Forest School Leader, Harlow Green Primary School

"During the pilot we saw how bringing pupils and older people together to learn from one another can help improve wellbeing and reduce loneliness."

Dani GiddinsEqual Arts’ artist

Tyneside diver helps record Scapa Flow wrecks

A scuba diver from Tyneside has been involved in a project to create a detailed record of German warships scuttled in Scapa Flow in preparation for the centenary of their sinking. 

The interactive maps will be used during efforts to clean up and protect the Orkney site.

Scuba diver Richard Booth, from Tyneside, helped coordinate the team for the expedition.  

He said: "The only other place you can see such guns is outside the British War Museum. If you just dropped in it would be difficult to see the guns but with these maps it will guide people to see these historic features." 

Divers map Scapa Flow wrecks ahead of centenary in 2019

Ambition plans to transform Darlington railway station

David MacMillan

BBC Tees

An ambitious master plan for the future of Darlington Railway Station will be revealed this morning.

A "transformational vision" aims to bring HS2 trains to the town and improve local service. It's claimed trips to London would take less than two hours if it went ahead, while journeys to Manchester would be just an hour and 10 minutes, a reduction of 45 minutes. 

It's estimated that the changes could create 3,000 jobs and bring an extra £130m to the region's economy every year.

How affordable is the rent in your area?

Renters have demanded new rules to stop landlords denying accommodation to people on benefits.

The call comes as a BBC investigation reveals that landlords are more likely to accept potential renters who own pets than people claiming benefits.

Analysis of some 11,000 online listings for spare rooms found all but a few hundred stated benefit claimants were not welcome.  

Read more on this story, and find out how affordable the rent is in your area .

To Let sign

MP secures debate on future of Rothbury Hospital

The MP for Berwick, Anne Marie Trevelyan, has secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons chamber this evening on the future of Rothbury Community Hospital. 

NHS managers say the facility is under used, and want to close the 12-bed inpatient ward and create a "Health and Wellbeing Centre" on the site.

However, campaigners argue that vulnerable and older residents need the ward, and alternatives to closure have not been considered.

A three-month public consultation on its future is currently under way.

Rothbury Community Hospital

Weather: A dry, bright and windy day

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

Once any early showers have cleared, it will be a dry and bright day, with plenty of sunny spells.

There will be a brisk wind through the morning and early afternoon, but this will ease from the west by the evening.  


Woman seriously hurt by car on Sunderland street

A pedestrian has been seriously injured by a car in Sunderland.

The 33-year-old was struck by a Nissan Qashqai on Tempest Street near the Coral Bookmakers on Wednesday afternoon.

She was taken to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary for treatment.

Northumbria Police has appealed for witnesses.

Good morning. Welcome to our live coverage

We'll be here until 18:00 bringing you news, sport, weather and travel from across the North East.

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

Thanks to Ashley Foster, who sent us this picture of a rather blustery-looking South Shields beach.

South Shields beach
Ashley Foster