Wear-Tyne derby: Could football call time on early kick-offs?

Police control crowds in Newcastle Trouble flared in Newcastle city centre in April

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This weekend Sunderland play Newcastle United for the first time since more than 100 fans were arrested after trouble following a game last season. Like that fixture, Sunday's match will kick off earlier than many fans would like, but do early starts still prevent violence?

April's Tyne-Wear derby at St James' Park will be remembered for events both on and off the pitch.

Sunderland won on Tyneside for the first time in almost 13 years and the aftermath of the game is still making its way through the courts.

Several Newcastle fans received prison sentences, including one man who was jailed for a year after he admitted punching a police horse, and two 12-year-old boys are now among the youngest in the country to have football banning orders.

It came as some surprise to fans, then, when Sunday's match between the fierce rivals was originally scheduled for 16:00 GMT by Sky Sports, but no one connected to either club was shocked when the kick-off was brought forward to 13:30 for safety reasons.

Early kick-offs are unpopular with fans attending games and some have questioned whether they still serve their purpose of reducing drinking time.

'Little correlation'

Kevin Miles from the Football Supporters' Federation said he was "yet to be convinced" the measure was still relevant.

"The fact is that once you give agencies like the police additional powers of this kind, they'll be very reluctant to relinquish them," he said.

"From what I can see there appears to be little correlation between the time a game starts and the numbers of arrests made, especially at derby games.

"The last Tyne-Wear derby was an early kick-off, yet the number of arrests was among the highest ever. Added to that was the fact the less than 10% of those arrested had actually attended the game."

A town divided

Sunderland and Newcastle fans

Rival fans at the Stadium of Light will be kept largely out of view of each other due to the configuration of the ground and carefully-planned travel arrangements.

But a little over 10 miles from Newcastle and only eight away from Sunderland, the town of South Shields will be split down the middle.

Tickets will be required just to get standing room in some pubs as supporters gather to watch the match on television.

Ross Gregory, sports editor of the Shields Gazette, said the town was "literally 50/50".

"As much as you might think there'd be lots of trouble, I can't think of a time when we've had a major disturbance before or after a derby match," he said.

"Certain pubs are black and white, others are red and white and the rest just sit on the fence."

Home Office statistics released this month revealed more Newcastle fans had been arrested than any other club during the 2012-13 season, with the figure vastly inflated by the trouble following Sunderland's 3-0 win on Tyneside in April.

The figures showed football arrests had risen by 4% but the number of fans held for alcohol-related issues was down from 800 to 549 year-on-year.

Geoff Pearson from Liverpool University has researched the impact of alcohol restrictions on football crowds and found fans observed in a study would go to "extraordinary lengths" to overcome "practical and legal measures".

He said early kick-offs did reduce the alcohol consumed, although perhaps not as much as police forces would like.

"Fans will start earlier, but if you have a 17:30 kick-off, fans belonging to that drinking sub-culture are going to drink for about five hours before the game, whereas if you had a midday kick-off, they're not going to be drinking for as long.

"They might start at 10:00 maybe, but they're not going to be consuming the same amount.

"What does happen is that over the course of the day an early kick-off means there's going to be more drinking time in total."

Mr Pearson said early kick-offs could lead to volatile situations for "same city derbies" where fans would mix long after the game

'Get tanked up'

Fans on either side of the Wear-Tyne divide point to relaxed licensing laws as an example of why the measure may now have less of an impact than in the past.

Gary Stephens, a former chairman of Sunderland's fan liaison group, believes early kick-offs should be scrapped.

"They absolutely do not work", he said. "As far as drinking goes, you can't stop it. Pubs can open whenever they want, now that we've got 24 hour drinking. But even if they didn't, people can simply go to the supermarket, get tanked up and still cause trouble."

Of its 384 licensed premises, Sunderland Council said 67 were able to serve alcohol before 11:00 BST.

It has rejected one temporary application to serve from 08:00 BST on Sunday after objections from police.

Barry Rogerson at Newcastle Magistrates' Court Barry Rogerson punched a police horse after April's derby at St James' Park

Northumbria Police's operations commander for Sunday's game Ch Supt Steve Neill said "public safety and the welfare of fans" was the "absolute priority".

"We sometimes seek earlier kick-off times for the derby to reduce the length of time people have to consume alcohol and to help prevent the likelihood of crime and disorder," he said.

Mark Jensen, editor of Newcastle fanzine The Mag, said he had not found any football fan that had "anything to say" for early kick-offs.

"It's crazy in this day and age that a crowd of around 50,000 can be inconvenienced just because of the risk a small minority might cause trouble.

"When there's so much money in football and the police have CCTV and all their other resources it does seem mad that you can't have a match after a certain time.

"Police will always play the public order card but after the match at St James' Park in April that seems to have been blown out of the water."

Ch Supt Neill said the police priority was for "supporters to be able to enjoy the game".

He will join fans of both clubs in hoping Sunday's talking points are generated purely on the field.

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BBC Local Live

    Good evening 18:00:

    That's all from Local Live today. We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday. Graeme Darbyshire sent us this picture of St Mary's Lighthouse, in Whitley Bay.

    St Mary's Lighthouse

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    On tonight's BBC Look North 17:58: Ian Reeve BBC North East Business Correspondent

    Scores of firefighters have spent hours battling a large blaze at one of the region's best known hotels and wedding venues, Crathorne Hall Hotel, near Yarm.

    Firefighters tackling blaze

    Crews from North Yorkshire, Durham and Darlington, and Cleveland dealt with the fire, which broke out this morning. I'll have the latest from the scene on BBC Look North at 18:30 on BBC One.

    Dry but cold night 17:55: Paul Mooney BBC Weather presenter

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    Crathorne Hall fire: Your reaction 17:52:

    People have been reacting on Twitter to the fire at Crathorne Hall in Yarm.

    Hannah from Barrow upon Humber tweets: So sad about @CrathorneHall fire, supposed to be getting married there in March. Such a beautiful building. Hope they can save it.

    Jay from Durham tweets: Gutted to hear the news today on the fire at Crathorne. Married there 2 yrs ago, beautiful building. Our thoughts are with team.

    Care matters tweets: Absolutely awful news. A gorgeous venue and let's hope it's back up and running asap.

    Is Hague greatest Yorkshireman? 17:46: Northern Echo Newspaper

    The PM David Cameron says William Hague is the "greatest living Yorkshireman", but who you think deserves the title?

    Appeal 'more important than ever' 17:42:

    Former medic Ian "Roger" Bannister, the president of the Stockton and Yarm Royal British Legion, who was blown up by a landmine while serving with the Royal Navy Special Forces, says it's now more vital than ever that the public supports the Poppy Appeal.

    He said: "I was involved with the Cyprus dispute between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. I was there for three years. It was all about guerrilla warfare and you never knew what was going to happen next.

    Ian Bannister

    "We were blown out of the Jeep and the driver suffered a broken pelvis. Fortunately I had just had burns and grazing to my backside and was otherwise unhurt. But it was a hell of a shock. And believe me; it leaves you rocking for a good while afterwards."

    'All out in plenty of time' 17:36: Andy Bell BBC Tees

    Richard Hooper is a guest at the Crathorne Hall hotel and he told me what happened when the alarm was raised.

    He said: "The fire alarm went off and everyone evacuated. The staff put us over here, they were all very calm, no-one was running around and there was smoke coming out of the roof, just out of the top of it.

    Firefighters tackling blaze

    "It was nothing like this, it was just a bit of smoke, we were all out in plenty of time. It's a shame, it's only 110 years old but it is a shame."

    From cricketer to umpire 17:27: Jeff Brown BBC Look North

    He's the cricket player given a contract by Durham at the age of 18 who soon came to realise that he didn't actually like playing cricket!

    Michael Gough, from Hartlepool, spends even more time on the cricket field than he did as a player because he's become an umpire, both at home and abroad.

    Michael Gough with others

    I'll have more on this story on BBC Look North at 18:30 on BBC One.

    Fire now under control 17:20:

    North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service has just said the fire in the roof space at Crathorne Hall "is now under control".

    It added: "Crews continue to fight the fire and dampen down. The aerial ladder platforms and four main jets are still in use. Crews are likely to remain at the scene for some time."

    'Weddings planned' 17:16: Andy Bell BBC Tees

    This Grade II listed Crathorne Hall is a popular hotel and wedding venue - we understand there are weddings planned for this weekend. Fortunately, despite the size of the blaze, all staff and guests managed to leave the hotel safely, and there were no injuries.

    Firefighters tackling blaze

    The luxury Hotel was owned by the Dugdale family until 1977. It has played host to politicians, courted royalty and delighted socialites over the decades.

    News on the hour 16:59:

    The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

    Fire crews aiming water at flames 16:48:
    Generally cloudy, predominantly dry 16:38: Lisa Gallagher Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

    It will be generally cloudy, although predominantly dry in most areas with some limited bright spells and just the chance of occasional light rain. Clearer conditions spreading south late in the afternoon.

    Weather forecast

    Maximum temperature: 17C (63F). Check today's forecast near you.

    Crash motorist jailed 16:29:

    A motorist who caused a crash which claimed the lives of three women has been sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison.

    Jak Parker, 24, had been racing another car when he caused the head-on smash in Shotton Colliery in June 2013.

    Anne Peachey, Rebecca Learoyd and Megan Robinson

    Anne Peachey (left), 60, Rebecca Learoyd and Megan Robinson, 19, all died in the crash.

    Fire is 'soul-destroying' 16:18:

    The fire at Crathorne Hall started this morning.

    The operations director at Crathorne Hall is Douglas Wadell. He said: "I got the first call this morning at 10:00. When I saw it without a roof, it was soul-destroying, it's such a beautiful building. It's a difficult day for everyone. Everyone is accounted for and nobody is missing."

    Crathorne Hall

    Crews from North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, alongside colleagues from Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Services and Cleveland Fire Brigade are attending.

    Woman hit by bus dies 16:05:

    A 28-year-old woman has died after she was hit by a bus in Stockton. Kelly Marie Evis was involved in the crash in Stockton High Street, opposite Ropery Street, at 23:05 on Monday 15 September.

    Her family have paid tribute to her, saying: "Kelly was a bubbly, lovely and loving daughter and sister who will be sadly missed. It hasn't sunk in yet that she has gone." Officers are now appealing for a female passenger who was travelling on the bus at the time of the collision to contact them.

    News on the hour 15:59:

    The top local headlines at 16:00 include:

    About 100 firefighters tackle blaze 15:53: Lloyd Watson BBC News

    North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue group manager Dave Dryburgh, who is at the scene, has confirmed that crews are still working to stop the fire spreading from the east wing to the main building.

    Firefighters tackling blaze

    He also said there are still 18 fire engines at the scene, and about 100 firefighters tackling the blaze. The large number of fire engines are used for extra equipment such as breathing apparatus.

    Beams burnt to cinders 15:38:

    Here's a close up shot of the damage caused:

    Crathorne Hall
    Flames coming from roof 15:29:
    Fire effort continues 15:24:
    Spray from a height 15:16: Andy Bell BBC Tees

    Fire crews are continuing to tackle the fire at Crathorne Hall near Yarm and the aerial ladder platform is in use as a water tower, to spray water on to the roof of the building from above.

    Fire at Crathorne Hall at Yarm

    Read the full story here.

    'High-volume pump' requested 15:07:

    North Yorkshire Fire service tweets: Officers have requested a high volume pump attend the incident at #Crathorne, as firefighters continue to tackle the fire.

    Firefighters tackle blaze 14:59: Andy Bell BBC Tees

    All of the guests and staff have been evacuated safely from the site, Lord Crathorne who lives in the hotel said.

    Firefighters tackle blaze

    A total of 18 engines were at the scene as teams of firefighters from North Yorkshire were joined by colleagues from the County Durham and Darlington service and Cleveland brigade.

    Injured horse rider 'was helping charity' 14:49: Lloyd Watson BBC News

    More horse and air ambulance news. A horse rider who was injured when she fell off and had to be treated by the Great North Air Ambulance was actually raising money for the charity at the time.

    Pamela Brookes was cantering on her horse at Corbridge and District Riding Club in Northumberland when she fell and injured her head and neck on 21 September.

    The 70-year-old, of Melkridge, was treated at the scene by air ambulance medics before being flown to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary. The flight took just 20 minutes.

    One more series of Lewis 14:38:

    Kevin Whately from Northumberland, star of detective series Lewis, has said there will be just one more series of the long-running drama.

    Speaking to the Radio Times, the actor said: "Everything has a life span and I think it's gone on long enough."

    Kevin Whately

    The 63-year-old added that he is now older than actor John Thaw when he died in 2002. Lewis started out as the sidekick to Thaw's Inspector Morse, which clocked up seven series and five specials between 1987 and 2000.

    NUFC talk from the papers 14:25: Lloyd Watson BBC News
    'Roof has caved in' 14:12: BBC Tees

    There are two of the 18 fire engines tackling a major blaze at Crathorne Hall near Yarm. Lord Crathorne believes part of the roof has caved in.

    Fire engines at Crathorne Hall Hotel
    News on the hour 13:59:

    The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

    • BBC Newcastle: A driver who caused a crash which killed three women in County Durham has been sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison.
    • BBC Tees: A major fire has broken out at Crathorne Hall. Eighteen fire engines are at the hall tackling the blaze in the roof. Lord Crathorne has told BBC Tees everyone is safe.
    Give us your feedback 13:52:

    What do you think of BBC Local Live? We'd like your feedback about this service.

    'Restricted view' of fire 13:40: Andy Bell BBC Tees

    This is as close as I'm going to get to the blaze at Crathorne Hall Hotel. I can see smoke billowing in the distance but at the moment it's a restricted view. Listen live to BBC Tees.

    Fields near Crathorne Hall Hotel
    Non-emergency? Call 101 13:30:

    Cleveland Police tweets: Our 326326 number will not work from today. Please use the non-emergency number 101 to call us. #call101

    Trio clock up 90 years 13:17: News Guardian Newspaper

    A trio of staff are celebrating after working a combined 90 years between them at the Tyne tunnels.

    News on the hour 12:59:

    The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

    • BBC Newcastle: Police are investigating another rape in the North East - the fourth reported in as many weeks. A woman in her 20s told officers she'd been raped in the smoking area between two bars in Newcastle, Perdu and Blackie Boy.
    • BBC Tees: Firefighters are tacking a blaze at Crathorne Hall Hotel in Yarm. Lord Crathorne has told BBC Tees everyone is safe.
    Large fire at Crathorne Hall Hotel 12:50:

    Eighteen fire engines are battling a fire at the Crathorne Hall Hotel in Crathorne, near Yarm. The fire is believed to be in the roof space of the main building.

    PM hails Tyne manufacturing 12:50: Richard Moss Political editor, North East & Cumbria

    PM David Cameron has used the example of oil rigs being built on the Tyne as an example of renewed British pride.

    Follow live coverage of the Conservative Party conference here.

    Durham's 'youngest crossling patrol' 12:40:

    Samantha Yuill, 20, has become Durham County Council's youngest school crossing patrol.

    She was inspired to get into the profession by her father Robert, 51, who has been crossing children on Ouston Lane in Ouston, near Chester-le-Street for the past four years.

    Samantha Yuill and father Robert

    Samantha said: "I used to watch my dad out on the road when I was younger and I thought it looked like a nice, rewarding career to get into... I'm really enjoying it so far."

    Middlesbrough 'worst for booze admissions' 12:26:

    Middlesbrough is the worst place in the country for alcohol-related hospital admissions, new figures show.

    The Department of Health data shows there were 4,320 admission in 2012-13 - the highest rate in England.

    Veteran hands back medals 12:11: Cara Thorpe BBC Newcastle

    A man from County Durham who served for 21 years in the army has handed back his veterans medal.

    Jason Wilkes, 40, from Haswell, says it's in protest over a compensation claim after he was discharged with post-traumatic stress disorder which has still not been settled after eight years.

    He says by handing his medal back to his MP, he wants to raise awareness of people in similar situations.

    News on the hour 12:00:

    The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

    • BBC Newcastle: Durham Police is to start drug-testing everyone arrested for certain offences in the area.
    • BBC Tees: A motorist who caused a crash which claimed the life of three women has been sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison.
    'Performance was a surprise' 11:51:

    After Middlesbrough's 1-1 draw against Blackpool, Boro boss Aitor Karanka said: "I said yesterday that if we want to do something this season, these are the kinds of games where we cannot lose points.

    "We made mistakes and played in a way I didn't like. But we are just three points from top.

    Aitor Karanka

    "The performance was a surprise because we had recovered our consistency and confidence. Now we have to recover it again."

    Fallen horse rider 'stood on' 11:41:

    A woman in Sunderland was injured when she fell off her horse and it stood on her.

    The 40-year-old was treated by the Great North Air Ambulance crew and a doctor at the scene in Offerton, Houghton-le-Spring, at about 17:00 yesterday. She was then flown to Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

    Tiote 'wants to leave' 11:23: Newcastle Chronicle
    Woman sexually assaulted 11:12:

    A 19-year-old woman was pulled into a wooded area and sexually assaulted in Newcastle, Northumbria Police says.

    The teenager was walking through the City Stadium in Warwick Street at about 01:30 on Thursday 18 September when she was approached by a man.

    She was sexually assaulted before breaking free and running away. Police are appealing for witnesses.

    News on the hour 11:00:

    The top local headlines at 11:00 include:

    • BBC Newcastle: Durham police is to start drug-testing everyone arrested for certain offences in the area.
    • BBC Tees: The overnight children's ward at The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton has now closed.
    Heavy traffic on A19 10:48:

    Queuing traffic and heavier than usual traffic on A19 southbound between the A689 junction in Wolviston and Portrack Interchange in Stockton. More on BBC Travel News for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

    Aycliffe fireworks display to return 10:29:

    A fireworks display which was cancelled due to the "dangerous" number of spectators will be back on this year - but for residents only.

    Great Aycliffe Town Council will run a wristband scheme for the event on 5 November.

    The cancellation of other displays in the area had seen a "dangerous" number of people turn up at Aycliffe's previous display in 2012. Town councillor Brian Hall said up to 6,000 people could enjoy the show.

    Middlesbrough match stats 10:12:

    Middlesbrough had 19 shots, with five on target but only one hit the back of the net during their 1-1 draw against bottom-of-the-league Blackpool.

    Boro had 58% of possession and had six corners to Blackpool's three. Aitor Karanka only made two out of a possible three changes during the match which was seen by 15,215 supporters.

    News on the hour 09:59:

    The top local headlines at 10:00 include:

    • BBC Newcastle: A new report has ranked South Tyneside hospital as the best in the country when it comes to caring for cancer patients.
    • BBC Tees: The overnight children's ward at The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton has now closed.
    Ward closes at hospital 09:50: Colin Briggs BBC Look North

    One of the region's longest-running public health battles has come to an end this morning with the closure of the overnight children's ward at Northallerton hospital.

    From today, children who need emergency care will have to be treated elsewhere. And from next Monday the maternity unit will be led by midwives, not doctors, so high-risk births will also have to be sent to bigger hospitals.

    People staging protest

    The changes have sparked protests, but the NHS says it's been done to ensure patient safety.

    Share your views 09:33:

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place. Tell us what you think.

    Dial the code 09:25:

    Middlesbrough is one of five affected areas where people from today must dial the full area code whenever they call a local number from a landline.

    The 01642 code includes Middlesbrough and surrounding places such as Stockton, Redcar, Stokesley and Yarm.

    Dial the code logo

    Ofcom says: "Asking landline callers to use the code when dialling local numbers is intended to safeguard the future supply of new landline numbers and avoid the need for more disruptive measures, such as changing existing phone numbers."

    Middlesbrough 1-1 Blackpool 09:12:

    Ishmael Miller scored against his former club to earn Blackpool only their third point of the season with a hard-fought draw at Middlesbrough.

    Midway through the first half, Daniel Ayala headed in the opener for Boro, who are now eighth in the Championship.

    Ishmael Miller

    But Miller, who spent a season on loan at Boro two years ago, poked in the equaliser soon after.

    News on the hour 09:00:

    The top local headlines at 09:00 include:

    • BBC Newcastle: The National Crime Agency says that more than 200 people throughout the North East were possible victims of human trafficking in the last year.
    • BBC Tees: From now on, if you live on Teesside you'll need to dial the full 01642 code for all local calls.
    Surge in popularity 08:48:

    Female comics are enjoying a surge in popularity, with audiences flocking to see live acts including Miranda Hart and Sarah Millican.

    Box office receipts for female stand-up comedians in the UK now account for 14% of all sales, up from just 2% in 2009, according to a new Ticketmaster report.

    Sarah Millican

    Millican and Hart have been the biggest live draws in the past five years, followed by Dawn French.

    North Shields stand-off: Man in custody 08:40:

    A 21-year-old man remains in police custody after a five-hour armed stand-off in North Shields yesterday.

    Ambulances, fire engines and armed police all attended Howard Street at about 14:10 on Tuesday.

    Howard Street in North Shields

    Howard Street was closed from Saville Street while police tried to resolve the situation. The last cordon was lifted shortly before 20:00.

    As it happened
    • News, sport and weather for Wed 1 Oct
    • Join us again from 08:00 on Thursday
    • Listen live: BBC Tees and BBC Newcastle
    Your shopping habits 08:22: Nicki Hornby BBC Newcastle

    Analysts say cutting fuel prices is a way for Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda to get an advantage over the likes of Aldi and Lidl who don't have fuel stations yet, but are winning trade with their discounted products.

    You may aim to shop local to save your high street, but does the big supermarket just offer you more? Call BBC Newcastle on 0191 232 6565 or join the conversation on Facebook.

    Cloudy but dry 08:13: Lisa Gallagher Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

    Generally cloudy, although it'll be predominantly dry in most areas with some limited bright spells and just the chance of occasional light rain. Rain is most likely across the Pennines, with isolated heavier bursts possible. Clearer conditions spreading south late in the afternoon.

    Weather forecast

    Maximum temperature: 17C (63F). Check today's forecast near you.

    Broken down car on A19 08:07:

    One lane is blocked and there's slow traffic on the A66 westbound in Middlesbrough between Cannon Park Interchange and the A19 junction because of a broken down car.

    There's also very slow traffic on the A1 Western Bypass southbound between the Hexham turn off in Newcastle and Dunston Interchange in Gateshead. Plus there's congestion on Claremont Street to the Back Woodbine Street junction. Get more on BBC Travel News for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

    Good morning 08:00: Lloyd Watson BBC News

    Welcome to BBC Local Live. I'll be bringing you news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the North East.

    If you'd like us to feature your comments or pictures, send them to us by email, tweet us @BBCNewsNE or join our Facebook page.



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