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  1. Updates on Thursday 22 June 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Adam Clarkson

BBC Tees

That's the end of our coverage for today, thank you for being with us.

You can stay up to date with what's happening in the region with BBC Tees, BBC Newcastle, Look North, and online.

You can tweet your photos to @BBCNewsNE, email them, or contact us via our Facebook page.

We'll end today's coverage with this picture of Staithes harbour taken by local man Alastair Smith.

We'll be back tomorrow for Friday at 08:00. Have a great evening.

Alastair Smith

Top award for Middlesbrough College

An award which recognises "teaching of the highest quality" is being welcomed by 56 colleges across the UK - including Middlesbrough.

After a review of education standards, the Government's first Teaching Excellence Framework awards gave Middlesbrough College the highest grade.

An independent panel of academics, students and employer representatives deemed the College to be performing above national demands. Teaching quality, the learning environment and student's professional outcomes were amongst the issues looked in to during the review.

The achievement has been welcomed by College Principal and Chief Executive Zoe Lewis, who says it will help students decide which college to join in the future.

It's a real reflection of the talent, effort and commitment our Middlesbrough College staff put in to making this one of the best places to study in the country".

Middlesbrough College
Getty Images
Stephen Cook

Four wickets from Barry McCarthy and an unbeaten 89 from Stephen Cook help Durham to a nine-wicket win over Glamorgan.

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Tonight's weather: Outbreaks of rain

Dry and clear at first, but cloud increasing after midnight with some outbreaks of rain spreading in before dawn.

The rain may become locally heavy over the Pennines.

Southwest winds freshening later in the night.


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

Maiden speech: MP for Middlesbrough South

Queen's Speech debate

House of Commons



The new Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Simon Clarke, is giving his maiden speech.

He says it's fitting that his constituency produced Captain Cook as the UK prepares to go on a journey of discovery after Brexit.

He says he is "passionate about helping people to help themselves" and that's something he wants to pursue on behalf of constituents.

Northumbria Police find 'considerable amount of cannabis'

Police say they've discovered a cannabis farm in North Shields with a street value of up to £500,000.

About 2,000 plants were found in the basement of an abandoned warehouse on Union Road yesterday morning.

One person has been arrested and bailed.

Cannabis farm
Northumbria Police

This is a considerable amount of cannabis that we can only assume was meant to be sold on, and thanks to the investigative work of our officers , it is now off our streets".

"The cultivation of cannabis on this scale is closely linked to other organised criminal activity. As such, we will continue to target the people responsible for these farms as well as the so-called farmers".

Detective Inspector Jon BensleyNorthumbria Police

Foo Fighters, Radiohead and cleaning long-drop toilets

The project manager at Northumbrian Water will be enjoying this year's Glastonbury Festival as a volunteer with the Loo Crew.

David Groark, from County Durham, will work six-hour shifts cleaning festival toilets, supporting WaterAid's Water Fight campaign that aims for every child to have clean water and a decent toilet.

He says he's looking forward to the festival atmosphere, as well as chatting to revellers about the work of WaterAid:

I’m delighted to be part of this year’s Loo Crew down at Glastonbury. When I’m not volunteering, I’m looking forward to discovering some new bands and seeing some more well-known artists and shows too. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the Foo Fighters, Radiohead, Kate Tempest and our own North East artists; the Young‘uns and Nadine Shah."

David Groark

Hartlepool man half way through 10,000 mile challenge

Today marks the half-way point for Paul Suggit.

The self-confessed "couch potato" is walking, running and cycling a total of 10,000 miles over the course of 12 months.

Paul has designed the mammoth challenge to fit around his working life to show that no matter the size of a dream, it's possible to achieve.

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Everything that impacts your life can be figured out to help you achieve your goal if you really want it. We often let things stand in our way and this doesn’t need to be so. With a little planning and figuring out, we can all achieve our dreams and realise our ideas."

The challenge is also to raise awareness of the Chris Lucas Trust, which funds research into Rhabdomyosarcoma - an aggressive childhood cancer.

Police dog injured on duty fetches online support

One of Durham Police's drug dogs sustained a leg injury on shift earlier this morning.

Luckily, Lottie appears happy on this photo taken at the vets - despite the dressing on her leg.

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Sympathetic Twitter users have sent their support for Lottie to Durham Police's K9 account:

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Magna Carta returning to the North East

The charter that was drafted to bring peace between King John and a group of barons is to be displayed at Durham Cathedral.

This month marks 800 years since it was signed.

It will be on show as part of the multimillion-pound Open Treasure exhibition, which aims to re-imagine the way visitors can enjoy the cathedral.

The Magna Carta
Getty Images

Northumberland's map ancient hill forts mapped

The locations and details of all ancient hill forts in the UK and Ireland have been mapped in an online database for the first time.

Scientists found 4,147 sites - ranging from well-preserved forts to those where only crop marks are left.

In England, Northumberland leads the way with 271 hill forts, while in the Republic of Ireland, Mayo and Cork each have more than 70 sites.

Nearly 40% are in Scotland, with 408 in the Scottish Borders alone.

Hill fort near Alyth, Perth and Kinross.
How Transformers: The Last Knight was shot in North East
How Transformers: The Last Knight was shot across the North East of England.

Leading universities rated 'bronze' under new ranking system

Several leading universities have failed to score highly in a new ranking of degree teaching standards.

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) has rated 295 institutions bronze, silver or gold according to their standard of undergraduate teaching.

Many universities in the North East were awarded silver, with Newcastle University achieving gold.

Getty Images

The stigma of 'Reborn Dolls'

Adam Clarkson

BBC Tees

Super-realistic baby dolls have been the focus of documentaries in the past which illustrated a market of people who had lost their own children buying them to help cope with bereavement.

It's a stereotype that has been around since "day one", says the owner of Middlesbrough shop Expressions Reborn Babies.

However, despite the image the dolls get,Tammy says she has never sold a doll to somebody who wanted it because they had lost a baby.

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The North East rolls out into cinemas thanks to Transformers

Both Northumberland and Newcastle city centre can be seen on the big screen today as the latest instalment of Michael Bay's Transformers franchise is premiered.

Scenes from Transformers: The Last Knight were filmed in Alnwick and Bamburgh, and Grey's Monument in Newcastle.

Part of the city centre was closed off last September while top-of-the range sports cars raced through the streets.

Military-style vehicles and helicopters could also be seen.

Transformers filming in Newcastle
Transformers filming in Newcastle

Magpies' chief scout leaves the club

Chief scout Graham Carr has today parted company with Newcastle United after seven years.

He took the position under former manager Chris Hughton at the end of the 2009-10 season, which ended with Premier League promotion.

The club says Graham was "instrumental" in signing Yohan Cabaye, Matthieu Debuchy, Vurnon Anita, Moussa Sissoko, Papiss Cisse and Cheick Tiote.

He leaves "by mutual consent".

It has been my pleasure to work with Graham as both a colleague and a friend. He can count some of Newcastle's most successful players in recent years as his 'finds'.

Everyone connected with Newcastle United wishes Graham the very best for the future.

Lee CharnleyNewcastle United managing director
Graham Carr
BBC Sport

Hartlepool Council to decide if members get a raise in allowance

Adam Clarkson

BBC Tees

Councillors in Hartlepool will consider whether their allowances should be increased by almost a third.

The Independent Remuneration Panel has recommended the rise as the authority's basic allowance is currently just under £6,000 - the lowest in the North East.

Allowances haven't seen an increase in eight years.

Votes will be cast by councillors this evening in a full council meeting.

One member has spoken out on the issue already.

The Independent councillor for Seaton, Paul Thompson, said:

It's an absolute disgrace that the council are even considering this in times of austerity."

Former Boro footballer Chris Killen admits sex attack

A former professional footballer has admitted sexually assaulting a young woman as she slept in her bed.

Ex-Middlesbrough, Oldham Athletic and Celtic player Chris Killen, 35, had initially denied the offence at Manchester Crown Court, Minshull Street.

Chris Killen

The court heard he was in a "stupefied state" from alcohol when he went into the spare bedroom of the house in Bury and touched the woman sexually.

He admitted the offence shortly before he was due to go on trial. He will be sentenced on 1 August.

An insight into new MPs' first days in parliament
These video diaries show two newly elected MPs and their first days in parliament.

Weather: Cooler, fresher day and mostly dry later

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

It'll be a much cooler and fresher day with more cloud than of late.

There'll be a few showers but it will brighten up later on and it'll be mostly dry.

Temperatures will get up to about 20 or 21C.

Check the forecast where you live.

Weather  map

James Wharton one of four ministers warned about tower block fire risks

Four separate government ministers - including the former MP for Stockton South - were warned that fire regulations were not keeping people safe, in letters that have subsequently been seen by the BBC.

In the leaked letters, experts warn that those living in tower blocks like Grenfell Tower were "at risk".

At least 79 people are dead or missing presumed dead after the fire at the London high-rise last week.

In December 2015, the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group group wrote to Conservative MP James Wharton and warned about the risk of fires spreading on the outside of buildings with cladding.

"This fire hazard results in many fires because adequate recommendations to developers simply do not exist. There is little or no requirement to mitigate external fire spread," they said.

James Wharton

Welcome to our live coverage

Adam Clarkson

BBC Tees

We'll be with you throughout the day to bring you the latest news, weather, sport and travel updates from across the North East.

If you have any photos or stories you'd like to share with us you can can tweet them to @BBCNewsNE, email them, or contact us via our Facebook page.