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Summary

  1. Updates on Wednesday 20 December 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's all from us for today - thank you for joining us.

You can stay in touch with the latest news overnight onBBC Tees,BBC Newcastle,Look North, and online.

If you've got a story or a picture you'd like to share with us you can tweet us @BBCNewsNE, email, contact us via Look North's Facebook page.

We're back at 08:00 tomorrow.

RSPCA officers rescue Hardy from frozen river
Hardy was exhausted and distressed and kept slipping underneath the water, before being rescued by RSPCA officers .

Weather: A dry and chilly night

It will be a largely dry and chilly start to the night, with some clear spells. It will tend to cloud over as the night goes on, with some patchy mist developing in rural areas by morning.

Minimum Temperature: 5C (41F)

Tomorrow will be a dry and bright start with light winds. Cloud will thicken and lower through the morning with sporadic outbreaks of rain developing, with the rain turning heavier for a time in the afternoon.

Maximum Temperature: 8C (46F).

North East hospitals urging people to use services wisely this Christmas

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trusts are urging people to think twice before turning up at A&E this Christmas.

In 2016/17 the trust recorded more than 13,000 "inappropriate" attendances to A&E at South Tyneside District and Sunderland hospitals.

South Tyneside District Hospital
BBC

These included bites, stings, dental problems, sore throats and headaches.

The Trust's medical director Dr Shaz Wahid said: "People with injuries over 48 hours old, or who have had low level pain for a few days should see their GP first.

"We would also encourage patients with ailments which are common at this time of year such as coughs and colds, upset stomachs and general aches and pains to self care and ask their local pharmacist for advice".

Cleveland Police make pledge to domestic violence victims

Cleveland Police have made a pledge to victims of domestic abuse by setting a series of minimum service standards.

The Victims Charter summarises what victims should expect from police during the investigation and criminal justice process.

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, who holds the Force to account on behalf of victims, said: “When victims take the brave step to report domestic abuse to the police, it’s essential that they feel like they are being believed and supported throughout the process.

You can read the full charter here.

New appeal over unsolved 1993 hoax call murder

The sister of a County Durham man murdered 24 years ago has said the family is unable to move on, as police have renewed an appeal for information.

Paul Logan, a takeaway delivery driver, was found with severe head injuries on farm land near Shotley Bridge early on 24 December 1993.

The 25-year-old, from Blackhill, had been lured to the area on the pretext of delivering a Chinese meal.

Northumbria Police is working with partners in the Durham force to rrexamine old lines of enquiry and look at new investigative techniques.

Dawn Logan-McCance said: "People think that because 24 years have passed, time heals all wounds and that we've moved on - we haven't, our family haven't and Paul's kids haven't.

"We're hoping that someone out there who knows something will come forward and we can finally get justice, not only for Paul, but for our parents who have passed on without finding out what happened."

Paul Logan
Northumbria Police

Pupils create artwork for Metro station

Artful school pupils have added a splash of colour to a Metro station in North Tyneside.

The Cullercoats Kids’ Art Project was launched in an effort to brighten up the Metro station with a series of images that reflect the heritage and beauty of the popular coastal village.

The project is a collaboration between Cullercoats Primary School, teacher and artist Chris Howlett, local councillor Karen Lee, North Tyneside Council, professional photographer Veronica Congleton and Nexus.

Cullercoats Metro art
Nexus

Ms Lee said: “This project just started out as a fun thing to do with a local junior school. I wanted visitors to see local images that reflected the heritage and history of Cullercoats when they arrived at the Metro station.

“However, it captured everyone’s imagination. In the end it actually demonstrated how much we can achieve and how much fun can be had, when we pull small voluntary teams together in our communities.”

School closed until the new year after gas leak

BBC Tees

www.bbc.co.uk/BBCTees

Egglescliffe school and sixth form college has been closed this afternoon after a serious gas leak.

It's been closed to all year groups and won't reopen until school starts again after the Christmas holidays on 8 January.

£300K to help Sunderland theatre project

Some £300,000 has been given to help boost theatre workshops at Sunderland's newest venue.

Live Theatre Sunderland will invest the money in studio facilities at the city's Fire Station complex.

The cash, from the Virgin Money Foundation, will provide free workshops for schools across Wearside as part of the Live Tales project, which begins in April.

Sunderland Fire Station
Sunderland City Council

Live Theatre is a tenant at the Fire Station, which is part of Sunderland's new music and arts hub.

Live Tales has already been a success in Newcastle, with 1,500 children benefiting in the last year.

The city's 1907 central fire station opened as a centre for participatory activities in the performing arts with a focus on young people in November, thanks to a £2.5m Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Union boss justifies more rail strikes

Services on Arriva Trains across the North East are to be hit by a series of as-yet unspecified 24-hour strikes in January.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “We are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action in the New Year.

"No one should be in any doubt, these disputes are about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies

“It is frankly ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate long-term arrangements in Scotland and Wales that protect the guards and passenger safety, but we are being denied the same opportunities with rail companies in England."

Nine north east hospitals ban visitors following norovirus outbreak

Visitors have been banned from nine hospitals across the North East as a result of a norovirus outbreak.

Northumbria Healthcare sites including Wansbeck General, North Tyneside General and the Northumbria have been shut down for visitors in order to control the spread of the virus.

The ban is exempt for people visiting patients who are critically ill or receiving end of life care.

Outpatient apointments are going ahead as normal.

The Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has advised visitors to contact the wards direct for further information or the switchboard on 0344 811 8111

Traffic: Congestion on A692 in Gateshead

Train passengers face January strikes

Workers on Arriva trains services across the region are to stage a series of 24-hour strikes in January, union officials have announced.

Members of the RMT are involved in a long-running dispute over the role of guards.

Services on Southern, South Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Merseyrail, and the Isle of Wight's Island Line are also to take part in strike action.

The union has yet to specify strike dates.

Watch: Hartlepool community transform home of disabled nine-year-old

Members of the community in Hartlepool have rallied around to create a huge surprise for the family of nine-year-old Charlotte Wisdom, who has a very rare disease.

View more on facebook

Police hunt man who punched and robbed woman, 61

BBC Newcastle

Police in Northumberland are appealing for information after a 61-year-old woman was robbed in Seaton Delaval.

She was punched by a man in his 40s who then snatched her bag.

It happened in Hallington Drive, at about 18:00 on Saturday.

Police have appealed for witnesses, but would also like to speak to a male, thought to be about 17-years-old, who chased the attacker and retrieved the woman's bag.

MP raises school funding at prime minister's questions

House of Commons

Parliament

Speaking at prime minister's questions Labour North West Durham MP Laura Pidcock says schools in her constituency are dealing with deficits from years of real-terms cuts and suffering the "corrosive effect of academisation".

Theresa May tells her "there is more money going into our schools" and funding will rise by £1.4bn next year.

She says it's not just about money and "what parents are looking for is quality of education".

Laura Pidcock
HOUSE OF COMMONS

Pub and restaurant staff trained to prevent drowning

The RNLI and North East firefighters are working together on a new scheme to help prevent people drowning in rivers and waterways across the region.

Lifeboats
RNLI Tynemouth

It's in memory of Ross Irwin, 22, who accidentally drowned in the River Wear on his way home from a Christmas night out with his friends last year.

Staff from pubs, clubs and restaurants are encouraged to sign up to the scheme which will teach them how to use a throw bag and what to do when people get into distress in or near water.

Research by Royal Lifesaving Society UK found that around a quarter of all adult drowning victims have alcohol in their bloodstream.

Drug treatment for cancer to be available on NHS

BBC Newcastle

A drug treatment for patients with an incurable blood cancer will now be available on the NHS.

Trials led by experts in Newcastle have found combining Ixazomib with two other drugs helped patients live longer without their disease getting any worse.

About 5,000 people are diagnosed with multiple myeloma every year in the UK - and more than half die.

'This is why we need A19 action'

Sunderland Echo

Newspaper

A 12-car smash on the A19 near Seaham yesterday has sparked renewed safety calls from a local MP.

Sunderland Echo front page, Wednesday 20 December 2017
Sunderland Echo

Bogus workmen in Redcar steal £1,000

Police are appealing for information after bogus work men stole £1,000 from a man in Redcar.

On 3 December a man who called himself Patrick visited a property on Derwent Road and offered to give a quote for some new windows.

The following Friday another man who said his name was John came to the property to look at the windows. He then returned with three men who ripped off some of the frame causing damage stating it was rotten and damp.

John then gave a quote of £1,000 to replace them and returned the next day to take the money.

He said he would be back the next week to start the work, but has not returned.

The suspect named John is described as 5ft 9in tall, of heavy build with short dark hair and is said to have an Irish accent.

Visitor restrictions in place after norovirus outbreak

Visitor restrictions have been put in place across hospitals in Northumberland and North Tyneside after outbreaks of norovirus.

Wansbeck General Hospital
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Affected sites include Wansbeck General, in Ashington, North Tyneside General and Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, in Cramlington.

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation trust say they are experiencing large numbers of patients with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea.

Norovirus is highly infectious and can spread from person to person and it can even be spread before symptoms start to appear.

People are being asked not to visit friends and relatives until the outbreaks have ended. The restriction does not apply to patients receiving end of life care.

Severe accident: A1(M) County Durham northbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham northbound severe accident, at J60 for A689.

A1(M) County Durham - One lane blocked and heavy traffic on A1(M) northbound at J60, A689 (Bradbury), because of an accident.

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

Police hope to uncover new clues in 24-year-old murder case

Colin Briggs

Look North

Detectives investigating the unsolved murder of a man 24 years ago will today give details of a renewed investigation into his killing.

Paul Logan, 25, from Consett, was working as a takeaway delivery driver when he was beaten to death near a remote farm on the Durham-Northumberland border on 23 December 1993.

A number of people were arrested, but none ever brought to trial.

Northumbria Police are now reviewing the case in the hope of finding new evidence.

Paul Logan
Family photo

Postcode lottery in council support for families in crisis

The Northern Echo

Newspaper

Crisis support in the North East has been slashed and is now a postcode lottery for thousands of residents in need of urgent help, an investigation by a poverty charity and The Northern Echo has found.

Night in jail highlights plight of lonely

BBC Tees

www.bbc.co.uk/BBCTees

Charity workers in Durham have spent the night "locked up" in a police cell to experience the effects of loneliness.

Organisations which support vulnerable people across the North East went into the cell at Consett Police Station at 21:00 last night and were allowed out at 07:00 this morning.

This time of year can be stressful for lonely people who feel isolated.

Shirley Smith, from the If U Care Share Foundation, said: "What I thought of many times last night was the light coming through the bottom of the door. Sometimes, the loneliest people don't see light.

"That's the most important thing - trying to instill light and hope."

'Mother's hospital vigil after machete attack'

The Shields Gazette

A man is in hospital after being attacked by three men armed with a chain and machetes. The 29-year-old victim was walking along the street when he was approached by three men who attacked him.

Shields Gazette front page, Wednesday 20 December 2017
Shields Gazette

Beautiful skies this morning

We've all been commenting on the beautiful sky this morning - it was absolutely stunning.

Press Association photographer Owen Humphreys took this photo of the sun rising behind St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay.

Sunrise at St Mary's Lighthouse
PA

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us?

In that case you can tweet them to@BBCNewsNE,email, or contact us viaLook North's Facebook page.

Travel: Delays on A19 in South Tyneside after vehicle abandoned

Highways England says lane one is closed on the A19 southbound between the A194 and the A184 in South Tyneside due to a vehicle which has been abandoned.

Police are arranging recovery for vehicle and there are delays are building on the approach

Reggie Young

Coroner records a narrative verdict in the case of Reggie Young, mauled at his home in Sunderland.

Read more

Weather: Cloudy with rain expected

It'll be rather cloudy with a little rain during the morning, mainly in the west.

Clearer skies and drier conditions are likely during the afternoon with a few sunny spells. It will feel rather mild in light winds.

Expect it to be dry and fairly clear during the first part of the night with temperatures falling. It will become a little cloudier later, preventing a widespread frost, and remain dry.

Weather forecast, Wednesday 20 December 2017
BBC

Bar closures bid to go before magistrates

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

Closure notices served on four Newcastle city centre bars will go before magistrates today.

The nightspots - House of Smith, Madame Koo, Florita's and The Empress Bar - were all closed on Monday amid Northumbria Police concerns about drug dealing.

More than 20 people have been questioned during their investigation.

South Tyneside Magistrates' Court will decide on whether to rescind the orders or extend them for what could be three months.

Florita's
BBC

Good morning and welcome to Local Live

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

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us?

In that case you can tweet them to @BBCNewsNE, email, or contact us via Look North's Facebook page.