BBC Local Live has finished for the day. We'll be back with more news, sport, travel and weather from 08:00 on Friday.
- Updates on Thursday 12 March 2015
- News, sport, travel and weather updates return from 08:00 on Friday
Staying mostly cloudy with outbreaks of rain overnight, perhaps the odd heavier burst, especially on the hills. As temperatures fall, there is a risk of some sleet or snow over the hills.
BBC Look North presenter
On Look North this evening I'll be talking to the families from our region who lost loved ones in the war in Afghanistan and are travelling to London for a service of commemoration.
The Redheugh Bridge will be closed to traffic this Sunday to allow essential annual maintenance work to be carried out.
Gateshead Council said diversion signs will direct motorists onto the Tyne Bridge during the 24-hour closure from 06:00.
A mum has described school place allocation as "completely random" after her son was denied a place at all three of his choices.Copyright: Gazette
Mackenzie Kirwan, 11, will have to leave most of his classmates from Easterside Primary School behind to attend Outwood Academy in Acklam.
Northumbria Police has appealed for information following a spate of car break-ins in Bedlington.
Twelve vehicles were targeted on Sunday night, and a further five on Wednesday into Thursday, all in the Hazelmere Estate area.
Residents have been advised to remove all of their valuables from their cars overnight and make sure parked cars are locked.
There have been more deaths at a River Wear swan colony in Chester-le-Street which has already lost 50 birds in two months.
Two more have been found sick and two dead, one after flying to Herrington Country Park about six miles away.Copyright: RSPCA
The group of about 130 has been reduced to fewer than 80, the RSPCA has said.
BBC Travel says the A194 Leam Lane in Boldon is partially blocked because of an accident involving a lorry and a car on the roundabout.
Elderly residents are being forced out of a Tyneside care home following a severe water leak.
Almost half of all reports of child rape in the Northumbria Police force area result in suspects being charged or summonsed, according to new figures.Copyright: Phil Mawson
The force comes top of the table with 47% of cases resulting in criminal proceedings.
Essex, Kent and Suffolk forces came bottom, each with 21% of cases resulting in action.
The top local headlines at 16:00 are:
The Shields Gazette
Demolition of outdated blocks of flats in South Tyneside is set to begin.
The six, low-rise blocks at Farding Square, Marsden, South Shields, are due to be cleared to make way for family homes.
Police are hunting a Tyneside man who has absconded from a prison in Lancashire.Copyright: Police
Nigel Dunn, 45, from Gateshead, absconded from HMP Kirkham open prison on 6 March. He was serving a four-year sentence for burglary.
Detectives believe he may have returned to the Gateshead area.
On BBC Tees Drive we'll have more on the milestone achieved today by Hitachi, with the arrival of the first prototype high speed trains to be built in Newton Aycliffe.Copyright: BBC
The first batch of trains will be going to ScotRail, with production getting under way in January 2016.
Police are investigating an aggravated burglary in Newcastle last night.
Four men went into a house in Lewis Drive just after 19:00 and threatened the people inside.
They stole jewellery and left in a dark coloured car.
Oscar-winner William Hurt has been signed up for ITV's new dark ages drama Beowulf, which begins filming in County Durham and Northumberland later this month.Copyright: PA
The Old English poem, which documents the eponymous hero's battles with monsters, is being made into a 13-part drama.
Hurt joins Joanne Whalley in the cast with Kieran Bew, whose previous appearances include shows such as The Bletchley Circle, in the title role.
The top local headlines at 15:00 are:
- BBC Tees: Police are appealing for witnesses after a man was assaulted in Hartlepool and left with a broken jaw.
- BBC Newcastle: A Newcastle hospital has been put on stand-by after a British military worker was diagnosed with Ebola in Sierra Leone.
BBC Travel says there's slow traffic and one lane closed on the A167 Gateshead Highway northbound in Gateshead between the B1296 Old Durham Road junction and the A184 Charles Street junction because of a broken down lorry.
We've introduced BBC Local Live, which is written by reporters across the North East, to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place. Tell us what you think.
Two men have been rescued by a lifeboat crew from Tynemouth this afternoon after getting into difficulties while riding a jet ski off King Edward's Bay.
They were about a mile offshore when they fired a distress flare.
The RNLI said the pair were not seriously hurt and did not require hospital treatment.
The Shields Gazette
A key decision is expected tomorrow which should enable the revamp of South Shields town centre to finally become a reality.Copyright: Shields Gazette
Members of South Tyneside Council's cabinet will be asked to give consent for its development partner, Muse, to appoint a building contractor for the first phase of the hugely-ambitious £100m project.
BBC Travel reports slow traffic and one lane closed on the A167 Gateshead Highway northbound between the B1296 Old Durham Road junction and the A184 Charles Street junction, because of a broken down lorry.
The Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle has been put on standby to take in two British military health workers who it is feared may develop Ebola after working in Sierra Leone.
It comes as three of their colleagues are being flown to London.
One of them has been diagnosed with the virus.
This week on BBC Tees we're looking at how we can bring new life back to empty buildings in our area.
Today, we see how it's hoped transforming the former Swallow Hotel in Stockton will help boost the high street's economy and how a former Darlington office building is being turned into flats.
BBC Look North
On Look North this lunchtime, Blaydon MP Dave Anderson calls for the closure of a rubbish tip which he says has caused years of "nuisance and disturbance" for local residents.Copyright: BBC
A massive clean-up is under way at the site of the former quarry after high winds blew rubbish from the tip into trees and a nearby nature reserve.
The site, run by Octagon Green Solutions, deals with waste from across the North of England and is blamed for causing noxious smells and traffic problems in the local area.
Here's today's front page which features a pub owner who says he's lucky to be alive after a gas blast ripped the skin from his face and arms.Copyright: Gazette
Judge Paul Sloan QC asked the prosecution to produce evidence to back up their hate crime claims within a week.
He told Gatiss at the end of the 10 minute hearing he would continue to be remanded in custody and "an immediate sentence of imprisonment is pretty well inevitable".
Gatiss will be sentenced on 2 April.
BBC Travel says the A1 lane is closed on the entry slip road southbound at Scotch Corner because of a broken down vehicle.
In today's brief hearing Nick Dry, prosecuting, said the mugger struck in an area of sheltered accommodation for disabled and elderly people and made a partial admission to police that he knew of Mr Barnes prior to the attack, and that, in Mr Barnes's opinion, he was attacked due to his disability.
Mr Dry said if it was agreed that Gatiss specifically targeted Mr Barnes "it can be inferred there is a general hostility towards people of disability".
He said that could mean Gatiss was guilty of a disability hate crime, which would aggravate the assault with intent to rob charge that he admitted last month.
In February, Richard Gatiss, from Gateshead, pleaded guilty to assault with intent to rob at Newcastle Crown Court.
A drug addict who mugged frail Tyneside pensioner Alan Barnes (pictured) wept in court as he heard lawyers will argue his attack was a hate crime.Copyright: BBC
Newcastle Crown Court heard prosecutors will say Richard Gatiss deliberately targeted his 4ft 6in, visually-impaired 67-year-old victim out of hostility towards the disabled.
Gatiss, 25, from Split Crow Road, Gateshead, appeared briefly at Newcastle Crown Court via a videolink from Durham Prison where he is being kept in segregation for his own safety. He will be sentenced on 2 April.
Dognappers armed with a machete snatched a Tyneside family's prized Pug puppy in a terrifying night-time home invasion raid, a court hears.Copyright: Chronicle
Danny Allan was one of two crooks who hatched a plot to target the £900 pet dog at a family home in the west end of Newcastle.
BBC Travel reports there's a good service on the Green and Yellow lines on the Tyne and Wear Metro.
County Durham will be one of seven areas in England to pilot a new scheme aimed at cutting rates of Type 2 Diabetes.
The project involves drives on weight loss, physical activity, cooking and nutrition.
It is based on studies in the United States, Japan, China and India which have shown intensive lifestyle changes can help adults at high risk of developing the condition.
The only surviving 1216 copy of the Magna Carta is to go on show at Durham University's Palace Green Library in June to mark the 800th anniversary of the document.Copyright: PA
The Magna Carta is considered to have laid the foundations of British justice and laws and Durham Cathedral holds a number of priceless copies.
Magna Carta and the Changing Face of Revolt runs from 1 June to 31 August.
Sunderland's Split Festival is to end because of spiralling costs.
Co-organiser Ross Millard said: "In the past 10 years the music industry has changed and with the rise of the internet, record sales have fallen. To cover this loss of revenue artist's agents are asking for significantly higher fees for live performances and many festivals are finding this unsustainable.
"We have spent as much as £140k per year on booking the bands, but we haven't been able to recoup those artist's fees in ticket sales and other revenue."
Today on BBC Newcastle we're looking at chivalry.
Have you ever offered to help carry a persons shopping and been met with a look of great suspicion?
Or held a door open for someone only to be told that they are perfectly capable of doing it for themselves?
Sunderland's Split festival is to end due to rising costs.
Split's Rob Deverson explained the decision: "We are so proud of what we have achieved, but ultimately the economics of live music events has left us unable to see how the event can continue.
"Each one of the team has invested personal cash into the festival to keep the business alive over the years, but sadly, we simply can't keep it going."
Middlesbrough have had discussions with Championship rivals Blackburn Rovers about striker Jordan Rhodes, BBC Tees Sport understands.Copyright: Getty Images
Rhodes, also linked with loan moves to Norwich and Derby, joined Rovers for £8m from Huddersfield in August 2012.
Police are investigating the theft of more than 55 sheep from a farm in Consett, County Durham.
Durham Police tweeted: Officers are attending the report of sheep theft, whereby 58 (unknown breed at this time).
Here's the first of today's front pages from the Journal.Copyright: Journal
The paper is reporting how a new report shows the North East is being hit hardest by austerity.
Two more swans have been found dead on the River Wear and another at Herrington Country Park.Copyright: BBC
More than 50 swans have died in Chester-le-Street over the last two months.
Experts believe they have been deliberately poisoned with powdered lead.
The top local headlines at 09:00 are:
- BBC Tees: Hitachi has announced that it has secured another order for new trains to be built at its Newton Aycliffe plant.
- BBC Newcastle: Contractors appointed to refurbish the pedestrian and cycle Tyne Tunnel have gone into administration.
A £7m revamp of the Tyne pedestrian and cycle tunnel has been delayed for a third time after the contractors went into administration.Copyright: Other
GB Building Solutions has gone into administration with the loss of 350 jobs, leaving the refurbishment at another temporary standstill.
The tunnel, which connects Howdon and Jarrow, closed in May 2013. It was expected to be shut for a year, but reopening was set back after high levels of asbestos were discovered.
Organisers of a music festival which brought big names like Johnny Rotten, Dizzee Rascal and The Charlatans to Sunderland have had to pull the plug on the event.
The Split Festival will not take place again after spiralling costs meant the home-grown festival was no longer financially viable, costing as much as £140,000 a year just to book the acts.
Hitachi has announced it has secured an order for 70 new trains - 63 of which will be built in County Durham.Copyright: Transport Scotland
The first seven of the order for ScotRail will be built in Japan, but the rest will be made at the firm's Newton Aycliffe plant.
A prototype will arrive in the UK from Japan later today and will be tested in County Durham, with the 112 of that type being built here.
BBC Travel reports the A185 Victoria Road West in Hebburn is partially blocked because of an accident.
There's slow traffic in both directions between the North Drive junction and the Hospital Drive junction.
Weather presenter, BBC Look North
A chilly and breezy start but becoming milder as the day goes on.Copyright: BBC
The best on any sunshine will be in eastern parts, with rain moving in from the west. Top temperatures of about 12C.