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  1. Updates on Thursday 30 March 2017
  2. Greggs heir jailed for 13 and a half years for sex abuse
  3. Plans for 350 homes near airport approved
  4. Firefighters tackle barn blaze

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Through the day: BBC North East England Live

Joanne Carter

Video Journalist

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.

Blackbirds are 'most common garden bird'

Blackbirds are the most common garden bird in County Durham, the RSPB has claimed.

More than 3,800 people from the county took part in the bird charity's 38th Big Garden birdwatch survey held over the last weekend of January.

The RSPB said blackbird sightings were recorded in 95% of gardens but there was a 7% drop in the number of blue tits and an 8% reduction on great tit sightings.

There was an 18-fold increase in the number of gardens where waxwings (pictured) were seen.

Getty Images

The birds are only seen here every seven to eight years with their trip to the UK caused by a berry shortage in Scandanavia.

Watch: Sunderland apprentice says 'Don't let gender get in your way'

Throughout this week, we've been telling the stories of young people in Sunderland and their hopes for the future.

Paige Audsley is one of only four females out of a group of 131 carrying out a painting and decorating apprentice in Sunderland. 

The 17-year-old is training for two years with Carillion. 

She said: "Don't let your gender or what anyone else thinks of you get in your way."

The Sunderland apprentice challenging gender stereotypes
Windlestone Hall falls into disrepair
A stately home, which was the former home of former British prime minister Sir Anthony Eden, has fallen into disrepair.

Tyne and Wear Metro ready for new £1 coins

Good news for Tyne and Wear commuters

View more on twitter

Tees Valley Mayor: Who are the candidates?

Voters will elect the first Tees Valley Mayor on 4 May.

The mayor will have responsibility for Hartlepool, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough and Darlington.  

We've been asking what you want to know about the new role - click here to find out how to ask your questions.

Vicky Cash got in touch with us to ask who the candidates are.

Here's a list of those who are standing so far:

  • Chris Foote Wood - Liberal Democrat
  • Ben Houchen - Conservative
  • Sue Jeffrey - Labour
  • John Tennant - UKIP

Gregg sex assault sentencing: 'Never too late to report abuse'

Bakery heir Colin Gregg, 75, of Home Farm Stedding, Gosforth was jailed earlier for carrying out nine sex attacks on boys. 

Colin Gregg
Northumbria Police

He was arrested in January 2013 following a report of historic sexual offences. 

Following an investigation, more victims were identified and Gregg was charged with indecent assaults dating back more than 50 years. 

He had denied indecently assaulting four boys while working as a teacher, beginning in 1963. 

A jury at Leeds Crown Court found him guilty earlier this month. 

Det Sgt Chris Wilson, of Northumbria Police, said: "Colin Gregg was in a position of trust which he used to sexually exploit children. 

"This will have undoubtedly had a huge impact on the lives of these victims and their families. We hope today's outcome gives them a sense of justice and some closure - this case absolutely demonstrates it is never too late to report abuse."

Colin Gregg, 1986
Nothumbria Police
Colin Gregg in 1986 when he was a teacher

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the region

Richard Moss

Political Editor, BBC Look North

Hartlepool gets ready to take on Portsmouth

Matthew Nixon

BBC Tees reporter

Hartlepool United train ahead of their match against Pourtsmouth this weekend in League Two; with over 1000 travelling Pompey fans expected to make the trip to Victoria Park.

View more on twitter

Sex abuse complaints made against bakery heir two decades ago

The lengthy jail sentence handed down to bakery heir, Colin Gregg, earlier comes more than 20 years since police first investigated him. 

He was cleared of groping a boy at a trial in the late 1990s, then more complainants came forward but a judge ruled he could not be tried on those allegations. 

Last year he was tried when more victims made complaints and a jury in Newcastle cleared him of some counts but could not agree verdicts on others. 


That led to a retrial at Leeds Crown Court which concluded earlier this month with nine convictions. 

Sasha Wass QC, defending, said he continued to maintain that the allegations against him were false. 

She said he had been happily married for 50 years and was a grandfather and asked the judge to bear in mind "the very positive contribution this man has made to society during the course of his working life". 

1859 depiction of Durham Cathedral

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News online

As Durham Cathedral celebrates winning another award, a steward spills some of its secrets and stories.

Read more
JJ O'Donnell

Returning to football after a two-and-a-half-year injury absence was "incredible" for Gateshead midfielder JJ O'Donnell.

Read more

Judge brands Colin Gregg a 'sophisticated, predatory paedophile'

Judge Robin Mairs told Colin Gregg he had groomed the boys. 

"It is true you have enjoyed great wealth, privilege and social standing. It is also true that you used those benefits as a cloak of respectability behind which you sexually abused young boys. You were a charismatic, inspiring teacher and mentor but you used those attributes to groom boys and to protect yourself from allegations."

Judge Robin MairsNewcastle Crown Court

NSPCC says Colin Gregg jailing gives victims 'hope'

Colin Gregg, 75, has been jailed for 13 and a half years at Newcastle Crown Court for abusing boys.

The former headteacher abused boys aged between 10 and 14 years and some of the attacks took place in his home.

"This case gives hope to survivors of child abuse that they will be listened to if they speak out - no matter how much time has passed. Gregg's victims have shown incredible bravery in reliving their ordeals and it's these actions that have helped bring their attacker to justice.


The statement added: "During a sickening campaign of abuse, Gregg brazenly exploited positions of absolute trust for his own twisted gratification. 

"We hope today's sentence provides some level of comfort to those whose lives have been so badly affected."

Man hurt when car mounted pavement 'deliberately'

A 20-year-old man has been hurt after a driver "deliberately" mounted a pavement and ran him over, police said. 

It happened around 15.40 yesterday while the victim was walking in Yewcroft Avenue in the Scotswood area of Newcastle.

He was alone on the street when a black Citreon C2 mounted the pavement and drove at him, Northumbria Police said. 

The vehicle then left the scene before it was found abandoned a few minutes later a short distance away on Armstrong Road.

Witnesses have reported seeing two men and a woman fleeing the scene on foot in the direction of Denton Road.

northumbria police

Colin Gregg jailed for 13 and a half years for sex assaults

A wealthy businessman has been jailed for 13 and a half years at Newcastle Crown Court for abusing boys.  

Colin Gregg, 75, whose family set up the Greggs bakery business, was convicted of nine indecent assaults on four boys over almost 30 years. 

The former headteacher abused boys aged between 10 and 14 with some of the attacks taking place in his home. 

Colin Gregg
Colin Gregg
Paul van Zandvliet

Ex-Newcastle prop Paul van Zandvliet will receive the RPA's Blyth Spirit prize, recognising bravery in the face of adversity.

Read more

Former headteacher Colin Gregg due to be sentenced for sex assaults

The businessman and former head teacher, Colin Gregg, is due to to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court this afternoon.   

The 75-year-old who is from the Tyneside bakery family - was convicted of indecently assaulting four boys, over a period of almost 30 years. 

Colin Gregg
Colin Gregg

Jamie's last biking hurrah in Blyth

Sharon Barbour

BBC Look North

In tonight's Look North we meet 22-year-old Jamie Hartley and find out about the bikers determined to help him take one last motorbike ride on the seafront at Blyth. 

View more on twitter

His dad's facebook appeal to find a sidecar - to take his terminally ill son out for one last motorbike ride - has ended up leading to an impromptu festival for thousands on the seafront at Blyth this Sunday.  

Beat police at board game challenge in aid of children's charity

Football gossip: Defoe could leave on free

BBC Sport

England striker Jermain Defoe, 34, can leave Sunderland on a free transfer if they are relegated from the Premier League. (Daily Mail)

Click here for more gossip .

New path for wheelchair users in Hartlepool

Pupils from a Hartlepool Academy have been testing out a new path that's wheelchair friendly at Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre. 

          Pupils from Hartlepool Academy at Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre.
Hartlepool Council
Pupils from Hartlepool Academy at Summerhill Country Park and Visitor Centre.

Students from Catcote Academy were some of the first to use the new path which was made possible thanks to a £12,000 grant from the community charity Groundwork, through the Tesco Bags of Help Grants Programme.  

Praise for everyone involved with Middlesbrough school fire

Staff, the fire brigade and parents have been praised after a fire closed Pennyman Primary Academy  in Middlesbrough.

View more on twitter

The small fire, which started in the school’s electricity supply board, was contained to the immediate area and the caretaker’s office.  

Naturally, the incident has caused some inconvenience for the children’s families as we have regrettably had to close the school for the remainder of today whilst we assess the damage. We have lost the school’s electricity supply so we are assessing how long that will take to repair.

Katrina Morley Tees Valley Education’s chief executive officer

Police appeal over car collision

A driver suffered minor injuries in a collision with another car in Stockton, police have said.

Cleveland Police said a red Vauxhall Astra and a black Mazda 2 collided on University Boulevard at about 21:40 on Wednesday.

University Boulevard

A spokesman for the force said the 53-year-old male driver of the Mazda was taken to James Cook University Hospital where he was detained for minor injuries. 

The force is appealing for witnesses in particular anyone who saw the Astra being driven before the crash.

Transporter Bridge to be closed from midday

Football gossip: Sunderland manager change 'not right way'

BBC Sport

Sunderland fans believe changing the manager is "not the right way", despite the Black Cats being bottom of the Premier League table, according the the club's current boss David Moyes.  (Sunderland Echo)

Click here for more gossip .

What questions do you have about the Tees Valley Mayor?

On 4 May, voters will elect the first  Tees Valley Mayor   who will have responsibility for Hartlepool, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, Middlesbrough and Darlington.

The Mayor will have £15m a year to spend and will make decisions on areas such as transport, jobs, education, housing and investment.

Ahead of the election, BBC Tees will be finding out what you want to ask about the new mayor.

Do you want to know how the role will fit into the existing structure, how decisions made will affect your lives and what powers the mayor will have?

You can get in touch by using the  form on this page  to ask your questions.

Sun over Tees

Busted playing South Shields

Boy band Busted will be headlining the South Tyneside festival this year .

The concert will be held in Bents Park in South Shields on 16 July. Tickets on the day are free but are dependent upon availability. Places can be guaranteed by buying a priority access ticket for £5.


The trio of Charlie Simpson, Matt Willis and Jason Bourne found fame in the early 2000s with hits including Air Hostess, What I Go to School For, Crashed the Wedding and Year 3000. 

Busted will be joined at Bents Park by local acts The Understudies, Call on Sunday and Sonny.

Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, said he was "thrilled".

Weather: Breeze and rain

BBC Weather

Today will be a breezy and rather cloudy day with further outbreaks of rain, these heaviest and most persistent across the Pennines and Cheviots. 

The best of drier, brighter, warmer interludes will be in eastern areas.  

Click here for more weather .

Weather bars

School closed by fire

BBC Tees

A school in Middlesbrough has been closed due to a fire.

A source told the BBC the blaze at Pennyman Primary Academy has been caused by an electrical fault.

The school will be closed today with an announcement about tomorrow expected later.

Hay on fire in barn blaze

About 80 tonnes of hay is on fire in a barn blaze in Durham.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service is tackling the blaze at Crossgate Moor.

The service said two engines from Durham Fire Station are at the scene. .

Barn blaze

Travel: A1 reopened but delays on A19

The A1 near Birtley has now been reopened northbound following a multi-vehicle collision.

There are long delays on the A19 near Murton after a collision which has closed one lane southbound.

View more on twitter

Travel: Accident on the A1 northbound near Birtley

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