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Summary

  1. Updates on Thursday 23 March 2017
  2. North East MPs and police forces pay respects after Westminster attack

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Durham Constabulary: Extra patrols for reassurance only

Deputy Chief Constable, Jo Farrel has assured the public that the public's safety is top priority, but it's "business as usual" after yesterday's attack on Westminster. 

Uniformed officers will be carrying out extra patrols at key locations in the region, but the force says there is no specific information suggesting an imminent threat to North East communities.

Although the UK's threat level for international terrorism remains severe - Farrel urges people to be alert, but not alarmed. 

Flag at half mast
Durham Constabulary

'Worrying' increase in attacks on fire crews

The number of fires started deliberately are down compared to figures from the year before - but the number of physical and verbal attacks on fire crews has doubled. 

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service has released figures as it launches a campaign aimed at bringing the number of anti-social behavior incidents down. 

There were 25 recorded attacks against staff in 2015 - that number had doubled to 50 last year. 

It is totally unacceptable that firefighters are being subjected to physical and verbal abuse while working to protect our local communities. We work closely with Northumbria Police to resolve these issues, including reviewing CCTV footage from the cameras which are fitted on all our fire appliances".

Group Manager Tony Markwell Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
UK fire crew
Getty Images

Tonight's forecast: Frost developing

Yesterday hinted at a snowy Thursday - but it looks like we managed to avoid it.

Your summary for the weather tonight and tomorrow morning:

Thursday's forecast
BBC

Forecast Summary

  • This Evening and Tonight It will be dry overnight with some clear spells and the northeasterly breeze easing. It will soon turn chilly with a frost developing, especially in rural areas with a few mist or fog patches possible.

To check the weather where you are, head to the BBC Weather page.

If you had to choose - Ant or Dec?

It wouldn't be right to split up such an iconic duo, but YouGov has asked the question - and the people have spoken.

The survey asked people which member of the double act they were more familiar with and which one they preferred.

Sorry Ant. It would seem Dec has come out on top.

Ant and Dec
Getty Images

Almost a quarter of people say they prefer Dec, whereas 17% of people say they prefer Ant.

Dec scored particularly well with women, with 27% choosing him over just 17% voting Ant as their favourite.

Men seem to like the pair on equal measures with 17% for Ant and 20% for Dec.

Teen victim gave robber cigarette before being threatened at knife-point

Police are appealing for witnesses after a 17-year-old boy was threatened with a knife and had his mobile phone stolen.

The victim was initially asked for a cigarette which he gave to the robber who walked away before returning and threatening him with a knife.

The incident took place yesterday at 00:30 as the victim walked along Elstob Close and on to Scurfield Road, in Stockton.

The suspect took the phone, which has a cracked screen, and made his way across Wellfield Green towards Hardwick Green Primary Academy.   

He was white, about 20, wearing a black jacket and dark jeans, police said. 

Elstob Close
Google

80% of North East drivers 'have been tailgated'

People find it very annoying - and it was made an offence in 2013, but a Freedom of Information request shows that only 260 drivers have been prosecuted in the UK since then.

Over four years, it accounted for just 3% of more than 9,000 incidents of careless driving. 

Only 20% of North East drivers say they haven't been tailgated by another driver, and half of drivers say they've felt in danger because of it. 

Traffic
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Sexual offences against children double, new figures reveal

There has been a dramatic increase in sexual offences against children, latest figures show.

In the Northumbria police force area the figure rose from 778 in 2014-15 to 1,482 in 2015-16, according to the children's charity the NSPCC. 

In the Cleveland area the figure went up from 247 to 820 in the same period.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: "It's what we want - for people to come forward knowing they will be believed."

Det Ch Supt Scott Hall of Northumbria Police's safeguarding department said: "We want to stress that everyone has a part to play in tackling sexual abuse and exploitation and we would ask if you witnesses something that doesn't feel right between an adult and child, please report it to police."

Warning after sixth death from 'harmful' heroin

Drug users are being urged to be careful after a sixth person died from taking a "dangerous" batch of heroin, police said. 

Police were called to an address on Hartington Road, Stockton, at 17.30 yesterday where a man in his early 40s was found dead. 

Lives are being put at risk by accepting this particularly dangerous heroin and, sadly, there has been a further death in the area. We are concerned and would urge drug users to take extra precautions".

Detective Inspector Jon Tapper Cleveland Police

Yesterday's incident is the latest in a string of drug-related deaths.

Three other men in their 30s and two women aged 27 and 37 from Teesside have also died in recent weeks, police said. 

Police are working with support agencies to advise drug users on the consequences of using the drugs and to identify the supplier or suppliers of the drugs.

Severe disruption: A695 Tyne And Wear westbound

BBC News Travel

A695 Tyne And Wear westbound severe disruption, between A69 and B6317 Chainbridge Road.

A695 Tyne And Wear - A695 Chain Bridge Road in Blaydon closed westbound between the A69 junction and the B6317 Chainbridge Road junction, because of renewing of a manhole cover.

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

New charges rubbished by Hartlepool residents

The head of Hartlepool Council's waste disposal warns that without new charges, the authority might not be able to dispose of less usual household waste.

From 1 April, the Waste Recycling Centre on Burn Road will charge to take material such as rubble, bathroom ceramics, tyres and plasterboard. 

Denise Ogden, Hartlepool's director of Regeneration and Neighbourhoods, has defended the plan - but a number of people have spoken of their fear of a flytipping surge.

Waste Centre
Google

Watch: SAFC players work towards match fitness

Paddy McNair and Duncan Watmore have been filmed in the gym as they both fight to recover from long-term injury.

McNair joined Sunderland from Manchester United last summer. The 21-year-old has made 12 appearances, but ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament four months ago and won't return this season.

Forward Duncan Watmore, who has started 11 games this season, suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury in December during a clash with Leicester and hasn't played this year.

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Woman sexually assaulted in Wallsend

Police are appealing for witnesses who saw a woman being sexually assaulted on North Tyneside.

It happened as the 22-year-old was walking along George Road and Philliphaugh in Wallsend just before 18:00 on 3 March.

The woman was approached from behind by a man who pushed her to the ground and sexually assaulted her before running off.

He's described as being about 5ft 5in, slim and dressed in black, with his hood up.

Rain will gave way to brighter spells by the afternoon

Outbreaks of rain will soon weaken and clear westwards, as dry and much brighter conditions develop, with sunny spells by the afternoon.

A rather chilly northeasterly wind will continue, though, and it'll be strongest across hills and coasts.

Weather graphic
BBC

Decision due on hospital urgent care departments

BBC Newcastle

A decision's due today on whether the urgent care departments at three North East hospitals will stay closed overnight. 

Since December Wansbeck, Hexham and North Tyneside have been closed between midnight and 08:00

That was initially on a trial basis but a health trust board meeting today, which will be held in private, is expected to extend that. 

The Northumbria Trust claims there have been no clinical incidents as a result of the overnight closures during the trial period.

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