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  1. Updates on Wednesday 28 January 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Good evening

That's all from BBC Local Live today. We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday -

possibly even earlier if the weather turns really bad.

But we leave you with this - Maria Wheatley sent us this photo of the sun setting in Bedlington, Northumberland.

Sunset in Bedlington
Maria Wheatley

You can send your pictures by email to or tweet
@BBCNewsNE and we may feature them on BBC Local Live tomorrow.

Newcastle United slash young fans' tickets

Newcastle United have announced a freeze on the price of all season tickets and have cut the cost for young fans.

St James' Park
Newcastle United

The club said those aged between 18 and 21 will pay £250 next season, down from £300.

The move was made to make the game "more affordable and reward loyalty", a club statement says.

'Weaknesses have been addressed'

Durham Free School's chairman of governors John Denning has defended his teachers

following a claim by an MP they are "crap".

He said: "Many of them have come from outstanding schools, some of them are part-time teachers with us and part-time teachers in other outstanding schools."

He admitted there had been weaknesses at the school, but said they had been addressed.

The Ofsted report found leadership, teaching, pupil behaviour and achievement were "inadequate" and said the school should be put in special measures.

Jobs at risk as Tesco shuts store

Hartlepool Mail

Eighteen jobs are under threat with the closure of a Hartlepool store.

Tesco's York Road Express store is one of 43 outlets nationwide facing the axe, putting more than 2,000 jobs at risk.

The firm announced earlier this month that it was closing 'unprofitable' stores nationwide.

Ten charged over £8m drug raids

Ten people have been charged after drugs with a street value of £8m were seized by police in Gateshead.

It follows a number of raids in October where drugs including cocaine, heroin, and amphetamine were recovered, along with £110,000 in cash.

Five men aged 25, 27, 29, 31, 44 and one woman aged 43, all from the Gateshead area, have been charged with conspiracy to supply class A drugs and money laundering offences. Three men aged 31, 37 and 50, all from Liverpool, have also been charged with the same offences.

A 41-year-old man from Gateshead has been charged with possession of amphetamine with intent to supply. All 10 will appear at Gateshead Magistrates' Court on February 26.

River safety review after student death

Riverside safety is being reviewed after the death of a Durham University student.

Euan Coulthard, 19, of Bottesford, Leicestershire, disappeared after a night out in Durham on 14 January. His body was found in the River Wear a week later.

Euan Coulthard
Durham Police

Durham Police say there is nothing suspicious about his death. A safety review will now be led by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

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News on the hour

The top local headlines at 17:00 include:

Camilla visits Newcastle cancer centre

The Duchess of Cornwall was in Newcastle today to visit the

Maggie's cancer centre in the grounds of the Freeman Hospital.

Duchess of Cornwall in Newcastle

She met staff and visitors, including men from the Monday Morning for Men group, and NHS workers from the Freeman Hospital. She also took a tour of the building.

Last year, Maggie's Newcastle saw more than 16,000 visits to its centre of which 6,000 were men. Camilla became president of the charity in 2008.

Incident 'not an abduction bid'

We've just received this statement from Cleveland Police: "Following a report of an incident in which an 11-year-old girl was approached by a man in a car in Guisborough, police can confirm that the incident is no longer being treated as suspicious or as an attempted abduction.

"Members of the public in the local area can be reassured that the investigation has now concluded."

Police reopen 50 'no crime' rape cases

BBC Tees

Cleveland Police is reopening almost 50 rape cases originally recorded as "no crime".

An inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary identified 12 cases between November 2012 and October 2013.

Another 37 were discovered by the force following its own review from cases going back to 2010. A specialist team has now been set up to investigate and will offer support to victims.

FA Trophy match rescheduled

Matthew Raisbeck

BBC Newcastle

The FA Trophy replay between Gateshead and Wrexham has been rescheduled for next Tuesday at the International Stadium.

News on the hour

Live grenade found in Teesside

A controlled explosion is due to take place after a live grenade was found in a home in Marske, Teesside.

Vicarage Drive is cordoned off after an old grenade was discovered and the police were called at about 13:00

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: "Police are on their way to detonate the device which was found in a house. The grenade was found in the property during a house clearing. A controlled explosion will take place."

Man admits chicken throwing

A man has admitted throwing a live chicken into the McDonald's restaurant in Billingham, the RSPCA says.

An RSPCA officer will be speaking to him this afternoon.

The chicken, now named Nugget, has been rehomed by RSPCA officer Ron Crawford, who owns a flock of the birds.

A chicken that was thrown through McDonald's

Forshaw signs for Boro

Middlesbrough have completed the signing of

midfielder Adam Forshaw from Wigan.

Adam Forshaw

Thousands of chickens killed in fire

About 13,000 chickens died when a fire broke out in a shed in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said firefighters were called to the scene at Faceby, between Northallerton and Middlesbrough, at about 01:20.

Fire crews from Stokesley, Northallerton, Coulby Newham, Yarm and Middlesbrough helped tackle the fire.

A fire service spokesman said an investigation is due to be carried out later, but the fire is believed to have started accidentally.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 15:00 include:

'Second chicken' thrown into McDonald's

Lisa McCormick

BBC Tees

On Neil Green's show this afternoon, hear from a woman who saw a second live chicken thrown into a different McDonald's on Teesside.

A live bird was thrown through the drive-through serving hatch of a McDonalds at Wolviston near Billingham yesterday. But it's also now emerged a second incident happened at the drive-through in Portrack Lane on Monday.

Helen Laville was there with her daughter -

click here to hear from her after 16:00.

Plea from 'stretched' lifeboat crews

Volunteers manning busy rescue lifeboats in the North of England are urging seafarers to take more steps to be safe.

The RNLI revealed it was called out more than 1,000 times last year. But many rescues could have been avoided if people had taken basic precautions and sailors had made sure they had enough fuel, and ensured their boats weren't faulty.

RNLI lifeboat crew

Machinery failure was the most common cause of rescue - 23% of the total compared with just 13% when swimmers were in danger of drowning.

An RNLI spokesman said: "Checking a boat's engine and fuel before setting out to sea could prevent the cause of our most common rescue, machinery failure."

More on chicken thrown into McDonald's

RSPCA deputy chief inspector John Lawson has issued a statement after a live chicken was thrown into a McDonald's drive-through in Billingham.

He said: "My colleague Ron Crawford went along and collected her. Fortunately she wasn't injured and is now being cared for by the RSPCA.

"We would like to discourage people from repeating such pranks. Chickens are protected animals under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and subjecting them to pranks such as this could be an offence."

It's believed a group of youths paid for some food but instead of collecting it threw the chicken through the serving hatch. Anyone with information should call the RSPCA's appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 14:00 include:

Live chicken 'thrown into McDonald's'

A rather strange story to bring you now - A live chicken has been thrown through the serving hatch at a McDonald's drive-through in Teesside, the RSPCA says.

The incident happened yesterday at the takeaway at Wolviston service station near Billingham. The RSPCA was called by staff and the chicken was collected by an animal welfare officer. She is now in RSPCA care.

A chicken that was thrown through McDonald's

'Crap teachers' comment criticised

Durham Free School's chairman of governors says

comments by North West Durham Labour MP Pat Glass that it is "a haven for every crap teacher in the North East" are "very disappointing".

John Denning says staff are "highly skilled individuals who have been frankly slandered in the Houses of Parliament under the protection of parliamentary privilege".

He adds: "None of our teachers that are in the school have left other jobs because of being incompetent."

Durham free School

Heed's trophy match off

Matthew Raisbeck

BBC Newcastle

Gateshead FC's FA Trophy replay with Wrexham has been postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

Man jailed for train bomb threat

A Northumberland man has been jailed for saying he had a bomb and would blow up a commuter train.

Charles Crisp, 54, caused an evacuation of the train at Newport railway station after a fellow passenger heard him talking about detonating the device.

Crisp, of Alnwick, admitted communicating false information with intent and was given a three-month sentence. Newport Crown Court heard Crisp was arrested and found to be unarmed.

Prosecutor John Lloyd said: "In a controlled voice, Crisp said, 'I've got a bomb and I'm going to blow everyone up.'"

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 13:00 include:

Three NE Tesco stores to close

Simon Gompertz

Personal finance correspondent, BBC News

Tesco is informing staff at 43 stores today that their shops will close. These include the Express store in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, and the one in York Road, Hartlepool, as well as the Superstore in Bedlington.

In total 2,000 staff are affected. Express and Home Plus stores will close on 15 March. Metros and Superstores will close on 4 April.

Tesco warned earlier this month that 43 stores would be shut as part of plans to cut costs.

Is the Force with this toy?

Jonathan Swingler

BBC Tees

They reckon this Star Wars figure could go for £15,000 at auction this lunchtime.

Watch Look North at 13:00 on BBC One.

Star Wars figure

First snow flurries hit Tyneside

The first of the forecasted snow flurries have begun on Tyneside with Newcastle's Town Moor getting a light covering of flakes.

Town Moor

However, Teessiders have yet to be affected where it is still cold and bright. Forecasters are predicting an afternoon and evening of between 3cm and 8cm of snow throughout the region, as well as very gusty winds.

The gales could lead to drifting and temporary blizzards over high ground, while icy surfaces and lightning pose additional risks in some areas.

Check the forecast where you are.

Amber warning over snow

The Met Office has issued an amber warning for snow in the North East from 17:00 to 11:00 tomorrow.

Northumbria Police is reminding people to take precautions against the expected bad weather.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 12:00 include:

Gillespie thrilled by double signing

Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie says the club are delighted to have landed Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell.

He said: "I spoke to Glenn a little while ago and just enquired as to whether he would be interested in representing Yorkshire and outlined how well he could fit into the dressing room, and the role we wanted him to play.

"Aaron is a great leader, he has a lot of leadership and captaincy experience and having a player like that in the dressing room gives the younger players the opportunity to learn off him."

Records of Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell

North music and comedy highlights

The North of England will be the host of some of the cultural highlights of this year, a BBC chief says.

Director of England Peter Salmon says he is proud the region is leading the way after he announced BBC Radio 6 Music was decanting to Tyneside for its annual festival.

Headliners will include Maximo Park.

Maximo Park's Paul Smith

Mr Salmon also said new North East talent such as Elliot Kerrigan will be getting their breaks this spring with Boy Meets Girl, BBC Two's newest sitcom series, written and created by Elliot, being shot on location in Newcastle.

Other highlights include BBC Radio 4's Home Front series, a World War One drama set in Tynemouth and North Shields.

1970s office block gets listed status

More than a dozen post-World War Two office buildings have been given Grade II listed status.

The move to give legal protection to 14 "remarkable" office blocks in English towns and cities comes after a project by heritage body English Heritage to assess commercial buildings dating from 1964 to 1984.

MEA House, Newcastle
James O Davies

The list includes MEA House, in Newcastle, which was built to house voluntary organisations in the early 1970s. Ahead of its time, it doesn't have columns - instead building slabs are suspended from deep beams.

News on the hour

The top local headlines at 11:00 include: