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  1. Thursday 27 April 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Sonatane Takulua

Sonatane Takulua scores all of Newcastle Falcons' points as they beat Worcester at Kingston Park.

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Severe disruption: A1(M) County Durham southbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham southbound severe disruption, between J58 for A68 and J57 for A66.

A1(M) County Durham - One lane closed and slow traffic on A1(M) southbound between J58, A68 (Burtree) and J57 A66(M) Darlington, because of a broken down vehicle.

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

Our live coverage across the day

Our updates here have finished for the day, thank you for joining us. You can still find the latest news on BBC TeesBBC NewcastleLook North and online.

We'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel at 08:00 tomorrow.

Thanks to Kevin Redpath for sending in this image of the sun going down over Roseberry Topping near Middlesbrough. 

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.    

Sunset at Roseberry Topping
Kevin Redpath

Weather: Showers clearing most areas and a cold night to come

Showers mostly clearing this evening although a few may continue to affect some coastal parts overnight. 

Clear spells will lead to a cold night with a frost forming in some rural areas. 

 Minimum Temperature: 2C (36F).

Country Durham charity touched by bike donations

A County Durham charity says it has been touched by people's generosity after they have received more than 20 bikes following an appeal. 

The Darlington Assistance for Refugees asked local people to donate unwanted bikes to help those who are new to the country get around cheaply. 

Sally Forth, who works for the charity, said: "When the children have bikes they can go out and play with other children.

"It really helps them integrate as well as give them a means of freedom and transport and obviously it saves some money on bus fares."

Bogus caller burgles man in Gateshead after pretending to work for the council

A Gateshead man was burgled on Monday after receiving a call from a man claiming to be a council worker. 

A 69-year-old from Whickham received a call from a man who knew his name and that he needed to arrange a utility service inspection to be conducted at his address. 

The man, who carried a clipboard but no identification, entered a number of different rooms within the house before leaving with a quantity of cash that he had stolen from the occupant.

The victim of the burglary contacted police when he realised the money was gone and officers have now confirmed that the man was not a legitimate council worker.

Driver-only trains would become 'muggers' paradise'

A union has warned that removing train guards will cause a rise in anti-social behaviour and crime.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Removing staff from trains, which will travel through over 300 unstaffed stations, is a toxic combination that will increase anti-social behaviour and unleash a surge in crime which will see Northern rail becoming a muggers' paradise."

This comes after news that Northern rail workers plan to strike over the suggested plans for driver-only trains. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union at Arriva Rail North will walk out for 24 hours on Friday for the third time to protest staffing plans for new trains due to come into service in 2020.   

RMT members at protest outside of Parliament

Richard Allan, Northern's deputy managing director, said: Any changes to Northern's services are always fully risk assessed, consulted upon, and approved in accordance with relevant health and safety legislation." 

Teenage shooting victim was riding on the back of a motorcycle

A man who admitted shooting a 15-year-old boy in the head as he rode on the back of a motorcycle has been jailed for 11 years and 10 months.

Steven Thompson, 39, shot the teenager on Hewitt Avenue in Sunderland in October. He suffered a serious head wound.

Last month Thompson, of Hewitt Avenue, admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possession of an air rifle without a firearms certificate,

He was jailed today at Newcastle Crown Court.

Man jailed for more than 11 years for shooting teenager in head with air rifle

Megan Paterson

Reporter, BBC Look North

A man from Sunderland who shot a 15-year-old boy in the head with an air rifle has been sentenced to 11 years and 10 months in prison.  

More to follow.

Conservative Tees Valley Mayor candidate tackles Tees quiz

Richard Moss has been quizzing the Tees Mayoral Election candidates ahead of the election. 

Here's how Conservative candidate Ben Houchen got on.

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Northumbria Police reveal acid attack figures

There were 120 reported acid attacks in the last three years, Northumbria Police said.

In comparison the Metropolitan Police in London reported that there were 881 acid attacks. However each force records data differently. 

New figures obtained by the BBC, after some high-profile incidents, show there were more than 400 hospital admissions for acid attacks in the last four years. 

Figures from police forces across the UK suggest that the number of assaults involving corrosive substances has risen by 30% in two years. 

Police say hundreds of attacks with acid, and other noxious substances, are being recorded each year. 

Hospital trial parking charge changes after patient and visitor complaints

Hartlepool Mail


New parking charges have come into force at Peterlee Community Hospital after complaints by patients and residents. 

Peterlee Community Hospital
Hartlepool Mail

Former KGB spy Makarov claims MI6 thwarting job attempts

A former Soviet spy faces a life of poverty because UK secret services are preventing him getting a job and his benefits have been cut, he claims.

Ex-KGB agent Viktor Makarov, who now lives in Haltwhistle, Northumberland, was smuggled into Britain by the MI6 intelligence agency in 1992.

But he was "still suspected of being an enemy agent" by the UK, he said.

MI6 said it never commented on staff or agents and the Foreign Office said it could not discuss intelligence issues.

Viktor Makarov
Courtesy of Viktor Makarov

Rafa: 'Focus is on football, not fraud probe'

Matthew Raisbeck

BBC Newcastle Sport

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez says he is concentrating on football rather than the HMRC probe into alleged Income Tax and National Insurance fraud.

"It's a pity, all the issues about the investigation that was [for] something that happened four of five years ago," the Spaniard told the assembled media at a club press conference.

"We can concentrate on our normal football business. I was talking with Lee [Charnley] today about pre-season. We will start on 3 July."

Managing director Charnley was arrested yesterday and later released without charge.

It has since been reported former Newcastle player Sylvain Marveaux has been arrested in France. 

Rafa Benitez
Getty Images

Little Mix star's clothes raise £1,400 for charity

BBC Newcastle

A clothes shop in South Shields has raised more than £1,400 for charity by selling pop star Jade Thirlwall's clothes.

The Little Mix member (second left), who is from the town, has been donating bags of her unwanted clothes to Empire and they are then sold for a set price or go up for auction online.

Every penny goes to local charity Cancer Connections.

Little Mix
Getty Images

Your Photos: How do you like your eggs in the morning?

Thanks to Tracey Laing, in County Durham, for this photo of a blackbird's nest full of eggs, which she can see from her kitchen window!

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.  

Blackbird nest
Tracey Laing

Film director back in North East

The director of award-winning film I,Daniel Blake will be back in the North East this evening for a special screening of the film.

Ken Loach will be at the Miners' Hall in Durham for the event, which will raise cash for the Durham Miners' Gala.

I, Daniel Blake follows the life of a middle-aged widower living in Newcastle and the UK welfare system. It won Best British Film at the British Academy Film Awards.

Ken Loach
Getty Images

Murder suspect released without charge

No further action will be taken against a 73-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murdering a mother of three from Middlesbrough.

Deborah Wilkinson, 42, was found with head injuries at a house in the Hemlington area of the town on 19 August 2016.

Deborah Wilkinson
Cleveland Police

Cleveland Police have now concluded there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding her death.

The coroner has been informed, the force said.

Sylvain Marveaux 'arrested in connection with HMRC investigation'

BBC Sport

Former Newcastle United player Sylvain Marveaux has been arrested in France as part of the investigation into suspected Income Tax and National Insurance fraud, according to reports across the Channel.

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Redcar RNLI lend a helping hand to lost seal

BBC Tees

I'm sure the residents of this block wouldn't have expected to see this unusual visitor when they answered a knock at the door!

The wandering seal was rescued by Redcar RNLI and returned to the beach.

Seal at doorstep
Redcar RNLI
Seal at doorstep
Redcar RNLI
Seal due to be released onto beach
Redcar RNLI
Boro will take on the fight - Agnew
Middlesbrough head coach Steve Agnew says his side will "take on the fight" for Premier League survival after a 1-0 victory against Sunderland.

Almost 80 drivers per day caught speeding

Almost 80 drivers per day were caught speeding on roads across Cleveland, County Durham and Darlington last week.

The operation - a joint effort by the police forces in Cleveland and Durham - launched on 17 April and saw a total of 557 drivers caught in seven days.

The offenders will either have been invited to go on a speed awareness course, issued with a fixed penalty fine or, in the most serious cases, face prosecution. 

Insp Jon Curtis, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “The number of drivers caught speeding demonstrates that enforcement action remains absolutely essential. Too many motorists are continuing to drive in an unacceptable, unsafe manner and putting lives at risk."

'Police must assess danger - not abuse victims'

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird says it is up to officers to assess how dangerous an individual is - not victims of abuse.

Her comments come after the force was criticised by safety campaigners following the murder of Gateshead woman Alice Ruggles.

Lance Corporal Trimaan Dhillon is beginning a life sentence today for stalking the 24-year-old, breaking into her flat in Gateshead and cutting her throat. 

Miss Ruggles contacted police to alert them to Dhillon's erratic behaviour but chose not to have him arrested.

Dame Vera says she will study the forthcoming report from the Independent Police Complaints Commission and see if any improvements can be made.

No comment as Lee Charnley leaves his home

Dan Roan

BBC Sports editor

Newcastle United managing director Lee Charnley declined to comment as he left home this morning following his arrest and release by HMRC yesterday.

The 39-year-old was among"several men within professional football" who were arrested by HMRC. He was released without charge at about 17:00.

Lee Charnley in his car

HMRC approached French counterparts for assistance

BBC Sport

More now on the news we brought you earlier that HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) raids on Newcastle United and West Ham are focusing on secret payments made to players and agents.

The French Prosecutor's office says 10 searches were also carried out in France and four people were placed in police custody.

French officials were asked by HMRC to provide assistance to their investigation in July 2016.

It took a further nine months before officers launched their raids on both sides of the Channel.

HMRC said it searched premises in the North East and South East of England, and seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones.

Weather: Sunny intervals and heavy showers

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

There'll be a good deal of cloud around this morning with some patchy rain in places. 

It will become brighter into the afternoon, but with showers developing and some of these could be heavy.

Weather map

Brighter weather will perhaps reach more northern areas by late afternoon, then elsewhere towards the evening, with maximum temperatures staying at about 12C (54F).

Showers should gradually die away later, with most places dry by dusk.

Abuse reports 'must be taken seriously'

Women reporting abuse "must be taken seriously every single time", a charity has said following the murder conviction of Trimaan "Harry" Dhillon.

The Edinburgh-based signaller with 2 Scots became obsessed with Alice Ruggles, of Gateshead, and stalked her when he realised she was moving on after their relationship ended.

The judge at Newcastle Crown Court described the killing as an act of "utter barbarism" and on Wednesday Dhillon, 26, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 22 years.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Women's Aid, said Alice's murder was "a potent reminder" that authorities have a duty of care towards anyone worried about their safety.

Alice Ruggles
Family photo

Secret payments focus of HMRC investigation

BBC Sport

Secret payments made to players and agents is the focus of a tax fraud investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), say French authorities.

It is suspected serious tax fraud was committed during the transfer of players between French and Premier League clubs.

Newcastle and West Ham's grounds were raided on Wednesday, as HMRC deployed 180 officers across the UK and France.

The BBC understands the suspected fraud amounts to £5m.

"The British authorities suspect secret payments may have been made to benefit certain players, their agents or third parties, allowing them to avoid paying tax on the income, or making social security payments," said a statement from the French Prosecutor's office.  

St James' Park
Getty Images
David Moyes

Sunderland manager David Moyes resists calls from fans to quit with his side facing relegation from the Premier League.

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Victor Anichebe

Amy Lofthouse

BBC Sport

Sunderland are 12 points from safety with five games remaining and could be relegated from the Premier League on Saturday.

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Newcastle United MD released after tax probe raids

Colin Briggs

Look North

Newcastle United managing director Lee Charnley has been released without charge after being arrested by the HMRC as part of an investigation into suspected tax fraud in football.

Lee Charnley

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs carried out co-ordinated raids across the UK and France on Wednesday, searching premises in the North East and South East of England and seizing computers, mobile phones and paperwork. 

In a statement, the club confirmed that a member of its staff had been "assisting HMRC with their inquiries".

Welcome to our live coverage

Morning. Welcome to BBC Local Live. We'll be with you throughout the day to bring you the latest news, weather, sport and travel updates.

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.