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  1. Updates on Thursday 14 May 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Good evening

    Lloyd Watson

    BBC News

    That's all from BBC Local Live today. We'll be back from 08:00 on Friday. Another aurora borealis photo for you this evening, Craig Morgan sent us this picture of the Northern Lights at Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland.

    Dunstanburgh Castle, Northumberland

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

  2. Seb Larsson confident of handling pressure

    BBC Sport

    Sunderland midfielder Seb Larsson says they can cope with the pressure of staying in the Premier League.

    The Black Cats won their past two games against Southampton and Everton to lift themselves out of the relegation zone with three games to go.

    Sebastian Larsson

    However fellow battlers Leicester at home are up next, before trips to Arsenal and champions Chelsea. "We know we can handle the pressure, and we're up for the fight," Larsson told BBC Newcastle.

    "The game can't be much bigger than what they've been over the last two. We weren't expected to get much but we got six points from those games."

  3. Chilly and cloudy overnight

    Paul Mooney

    BBC Weather presenter

    Dry, although rather cloudy in the evening. Overnight clearer spells should develop. It will turn chilly in light winds with a slight frost possible in some rural inland locations, mainly around Hexham.

    Weather forecast

    Minimum temperature: 0C (32F). Check the forecast near you.

  4. Men jailed over dying man theft

    Two men have been jailed after a man who was dying in the street had his phone stolen.

    Instead of calling for help for the 22-year-old victim, Dale Walker and Scott Stephenson, both of South Shields, took his mobile phone.

    At Newcastle Crown Court, Stephenson, 19, was sentenced to two years at a Young Offenders' Institution after admitting theft. Walker, 25, was jailed for 10 months after admitting handling stolen goods.

  5. Latest headlines

    Lloyd Watson

    BBC News

    Here's today's top stories on Local Live:

  6. Wiggins' squad to compete in North East

    The Virgin Money Cyclone Festival returns to Newcastle and Northumberland on June 19 - 21 and will include some of the world's best cyclists.

    Five British Union Cycliste Internationale Continental teams are confirmed to compete in the race, including a squad assembled by Sir Bradley Wiggins.

    Sir Bradley Wiggins

    The 2015 Beaumont Trophy will also be up for grabs during the event.

  7. Up the Boro

    Lloyd Watson

    BBC News

    There's a positive feeling across Teesside and beyond that by the end of the month, Middlesbrough could once again be a Premier League club battling England's top teams.

    To show it, the hashtag #believe is being used on social media among many Boro fans, along with #UTB (Up the Boro). We've been asking - Do you believe? See our video which includes some famous faces here.

    Ali Brownlee
  8. John Carver news conference

    QPR v Newcastle (Sat, 15:00 BST)

    BBC Sport

    Newcastle boss John Carver has held his news conference as he previews Saturday's game against relegated QPR.

    Carver on injuries: "Siem de Jong and Adam Armstrong aren't available for Saturday. Gaby Obertan comes back into a squad of 21 which will travel."

    On fighting relegation: "The spirit has been good and upbeat but we are not taking our eye off the ball. There is a huge job ahead of us."

    On QPR: "There are one or two characters in the QPR team with a point to prove. They will want to finish the season on a high. Chris Ramsey is a good guy and a good coach. Hopefully he will get the QPR job next season. He deserves it."

  9. Newcastle won't be a 'pushover'

    Newcastle City Council's leader is warning the Chancellor that the city won't be a "pushover" if having an elected mayor is the price for giving more power to the North East.

    George Osborne is promising "radical devolution" of power to English cities and making clear an elected mayor is part of the deal.

    Nick Forbes

    Council leader Nick Forbes says: "There is clearly going to be a whole series of discussions in the months ahead but the North East isn't a pushover and we're not going to take the first offer the government make to us. We've got to do what's right for the region."

  10. Funniest football faces of the season

    BBC Sport

    It's that time of the season where awards are being handed out for all kinds of things. So here at MOTD Kickabout we thought we would come up with some honours of our own.

    In any match the free kick defensive wall can be a scary place to be. And it often shows on the faces of those within it! With that in mind MOTD Kickabout presents the top 'Wall Faces' of the Premier League 2014-2015!

    John O'Shea

    First up, after a controversial sending off earlier in the game, John O'Shea braces himself while facing a thunderbolt from his former team mate Wayne Rooney in Manchester United's 2-0 win over Sunderland from February 2015. See the rest here.

  11. Guerrilla gardeners stage protest

    The Chronicle


    Guerrilla gardeners who risked prosecution in order to tidy up eyesore sites have staged a protest.

    Guerrilla gardeners
  12. 'Know the area well'

    Phil Mawson

    BBC News

    Newcastle medical student Charan Thandi, 23, is in favour of handing more power to local politicians and believes that "would be beneficial".

    He said: "Newcastle is a big, developing city and I think a mayor would be a move that would be positive and important and allow local communities to contribute more to what's important.

    "One of the biggest issues in the city is transport and the lack of parking, especially in the centre of the city. I'm a student and I know it's a problem for me and a lot of my friends.

    Charan Thandi

    "I think having local devolution could be one way of addressing these problems and we would have more accountability. But any mayor would have to be someone who had experience and knew the area well."

  13. Dropped cigarette butt costs man £600

    Dropping a cigarette end in Durham city will cost a man more than £600.

    Gary Barton, 46, from Witton Gilbert, was seen by a Durham County Council neighbourhood warden throwing the butt to the ground outside the Gates Shopping Centre in August.

    Gates Shopping Centre

    He refused to pay an £80 fixed penalty notice and was found guilty by magistrates in Peterlee after failing to appear for his trial. He was handed a £200 fine and was ordered to pay £390 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

  14. Virtual Hadrian's Wall

    Virtual versions of Hadrian's Wall and the Pennine Way have been added to Google Street View.

    The Northumberland National Park Authority (NNPA) collected 360-degree images of the remote locations using the tech giant's Trekker equipment, including a 15-angle-lens camera.

    Hadrian's Wall

    NNPA chief executive Tony Gat says he hopes it will encourage people to explore the areas first-hand.

  15. 'Span-tastic'

    Sunderland Echo

    Here's today's front page and a link to the main story:

    Front page
  16. Latest headlines

    Lloyd Watson

    BBC News

    Here's today's top stories on Local Live:

  17. More power for North

    Chancellor George Osborne is outlining plans to give English cities greater powers. Watch it live here.

  18. Easterly breeze

    Kay Crewdson

    Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

    Fine and dry this afternoon with some sunny intervals. An easterly breeze will make it feel cooler than Wednesday, especially along the coast.

    Weather forecast

    Maximum temperature: 12C (54F). Check the forecast near you.

  19. 'Rather have a dictator'

    Phil Mawson

    BBC News

    I've been gathering opinions of the people of the North East about devolution of powers in the region.

    Bob Vint, a 56-year-old taxi driver of 20 years from Newcastle, has little faith in the benefits of regional devolution.

    He said: "Having a mayor or more local devolution won't make any difference to me. It's like all these Euro MPs, they're just a strain on society and it sounds to me like all this would be just be another layer of bureaucracy and red tape.

    Bob Vint

    "If I thought a dictator would be better at running the place I'd rather have that. They'll just take and not give us anything back. They're all in it for themselves. I don't think being governed locally would be any better than being governed nationally."

  20. In the news today

    The Journal


    Here's today's front page and a link to the top story

    Front page
  21. Ramsey warns NUFC players

    BBC Sport

    QPR manager Chris Ramsey has warned Newcastle United his players won't ease off as the relegated side prepare for their penultimate game in the Premier League.

    "We won't be letting Newcastle off this weekend," he said. "We'll pick our strongest possible side. We have pride ourselves.

    "We owe it to the supporters to put on a positive performance. We need to give everything in our final two games." Kick off is at 15:00 on Saturday.

  22. Treasure trove of artefacts unveiled

    Peter Harris

    Look North

    It's one of the oldest forces in the country and now Durham Police has unearthed a treasure trove of artefacts from its past.

    The force is marking its 175th anniversary and claims a number of innovations down the years including the traffic camera. Their archives reveal much about changing times including examples of the harsher side of law enforcement.

    Two people with artefacts

    I'll have more on this story on BBC Look North at 13:40 on BBC One.

  23. Son 'was denied a future'

    Newcastle United fan John Roberts sold football badges for a living and was a well-known figure outside St James' Park on matchdays.

    After his death, his mother Jennifer said her son had been "denied a future". She said: "John was my eldest son and grew up within a stable close-knit family and was a much loved member of that extended family.

    "The law in our country doesn't hand down the death penalty for anyone, but whoever is responsible for John's murder could decide to do it again.

    "John is gone. He has been denied a future. He will never have the opportunity to see his daughter grow up."

  24. BreakingTwo held over murder of John 'The Badge' Roberts

    Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murdering John "The Badge" Roberts in Gateshead nearly three years ago.

    John Roberts

    Mr Roberts, 32, was found dead inside his house in Park Terrace, Winlaton on Sunday, December 16, 2012.

    Northumbria Police says it arrested two men, aged 42 and 45, on suspicion of murder today. They are currently in custody helping police with their inquiries

  25. Your views on more powers for north

    We asked you what you thought a northern powerhouse could mean for cities in the North East, ahead of George Osborne's speech this afternoon.

    Alan Prudhoe said: It will depend who the power is devolved to. Hopefully, not the same crew who dreamt up the Durham County Plan.

    Ann Ferguson said: Sure Tories & BBC think Scotland is North of Newcastle! Northumberland doesn't exist?!

    Eric Robson said: And what happens to rural communities in places such as the Lake District and Northumberland? Treated as poor relations?

  26. In the news today

    The Gazette

    Here's today's front page and a link to the main story

    Front page
  27. 'Crumbs from the table'

    Chancellor George Osborne will confirm that the Queen's Speech later this month will contain proposals to allow Greater Manchester to elect a mayor, with control over areas such as transport, housing and health spending.

    He says other cities such as Newcastle will be able to follow suit in future, if they choose.

    Greg Clark

    The new Communities Secretary, Greg Clark, says many cities could benefit: "These decisions... should be made by the people of those great cities, who know and love their area - rather than having to troop up to London and plead for crumbs from the table."

  28. Man stabbed outside Wallsend shop

    Rebecca O'Neill

    BBC Newcastle

    A man has been stabbed in North Tyneside.

    The 20-year-old was attacked outside the Premier Shop in Tynemouth Road in Wallsend yesterday.

    His injuries aren't believed to be life threatening but he remains in Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

    A 27-year-old man has been arrested. It is believed the two men are known to each other.

  29. More on terrorism charges

    Mohammed Kahar from Sunderland is accused of a number of terror offences over his alleged support for Isis in Syria.

    The father-of-six accused is accused of 10 offences including five of disseminating terrorist publications, one of preparation of terrorist acts, two of supporting a proscribed organisation, one of financing terrorism and one of possession of a record likely to be useful for committing terrorism.

    A trial lasting up to six weeks was provisionally set for 19 October either in London or Newcastle.

  30. BreakingTerrorism offences: Man refused bail

    A man from Sunderland charged with terrorism offences, including one relating to Syria, has been refused bail at the High Court.

    Mohammed Kahar, 37, of Bournville Road, Sunderland, appeared before the Old Bailey via video link from Wandsworth Prison.

    He has been remanded in custody until his next appearance on 4 September.

  31. Lavery out of leadership race

    Mark Denten

    Political Correspondent, BBC North East & Cumbria

    Wansbeck Labour MP Ian Lavery says he won't stand for the Labour Party leadership and instead he's backing Andy Burnham for the role.

  32. We want your views

    Ahead of George Osborne's speech calling for more powers for northern cities, we want to know what you think.

    • Government says it wants to build on the northern powerhouse concept as the first step to English devolution in cities. What does that offer you?
    • Under devolution, what would you like to see your politicians take on and run?
    • What can an independent Newcastle, Durham or Sunderland offer the world?

    Send us your views by email, tweet us @BBCNewsNE or comment on our Facebook page.

  33. Pub destroyed by fire

    Hannah McMahon

    BBC Tees

    An investigation is under way after a Middlesbrough pub was destroyed by fire.

    The Thorntree pub's roof collapsed late last night. There was no-one in the disused building at the time.

  34. Boro boss writes to students

    BBC Tees

    Boro boss Aitor Karanka has written a letter to students at Acklam Grange School wishing them good luck in their exams.

    Karanka letter

    Here's a translation:

    Dear class 11b1

    I would like to wish you all the best of luck for your next Spanish exams.

    Learning another language can be very difficult at times, but the advantage of being able to communicate with other people from different parts of the world can be very beneficial.

    This is especially true in football but also applies to many other career options. I hope that all of you have enjoyed learning Spanish and that all of you get the results that you are expecting.

    Kind regards

    Aitor Karanka


  35. 'Unite the region'

    James Ramsbotham from the North East Chamber of Commerce says we need somebody to "unite the region" ahead of George Osborne's speech outlining plans to give English cities powers over housing, transport, planning and policing.

    He said: "We need to find a way to come together in a way that motivates and benefits the people. Local authority leaders are not elected to do anything more than look after their local authority area, so we've got to find a new way of doing things.

    "We desperately need somebody to be a leader, whether it needs to be an individual or some organisation that really unites the region."

  36. More on nursery reopening

    Simon Armstrong

    BBC News

    Investigations by health officials to determine the source of the E. coli outbreak at a Barnard Castle nursery are continuing.

    A sibling of a child who attends the nursery has tested positive, bringing the number of people affected to nine.

    Barnard Castle's Kirklands Nursery

    One of the affected youngsters remains in hospital while seven more and one adult are recovering at home.

  37. Tributes to mother killed in crash

    Tributes have been paid to Stockton mother-of-four who died after being hit by a lorry on the outskirts of Durham.

    Kelly Bennett, 36, of Rochester Road, died in the early hours of Saturday morning after she was hit by the truck on the A690 at West Rainton.

    Kelly Bennett

    Her mother Patricia Bowmer said she had many friends not only in Stockton but also in Bearpark and Sherburn Road in Durham, where she grew up.

    She said: "Kelly loved socialising, playing bingo and having late night chats with her niece, Danielle. She was a loving mum who was immensely proud of her four children and loved spending time with them, helping them with their homework, going to the park and generally having fun with them."

  38. More powers for northern cities?


    Plans to give English cities powers over housing, transport, planning and policing will be set out in George Osborne's first post-election speech.

    Greater Manchester, which will elect a mayor in two years and take on such powers, should become a blueprint for other large cities, he will say.

    The "old model" of running everything from London is "broken" and has unbalanced the economy, he will add.

    Further government plans include creating a so-called Northern Powerhouse, aimed at closing the economic gap between north and south, which Mr Osborne said would be backed by extra funding of more than £18bn to the region by 2030.

  39. 'Police and social services failed'

    The serious case review hasn't said whether any one thing could have prevented Michaela Cole's death - but that there were failures in the police and social services.

    The review was commissioned by the Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB) and concluded there were a number of lessons for agencies responsible for supporting her and her family. Sixteen recommendations have been made.

    The board found areas requiring attention included the need to improve the quality of supervision and the management of staff dealing with challenging cases.

  40. Agencies criticised after baby death

    A review into the death of a three-week-old baby girl in Northumberland has criticised a number of agencies for "failing to give her the protection she deserved".

    Michaela Cole was born dependent on methadone in March 2013, and after she died her mother Amanda Cole, from Cramlington, was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

    The cause of death was "unexplained" but a post-mortem examination revealed she sustained a fractured skull and other injuries.

  41. E. coli outbreak nursery reopens

    Simon Armstrong

    BBC News

    A nursery affected by an outbreak of E. coli has reopened after being given the all-clear by health chiefs.

    Kirklands Nursery, in Barnard Castle, County Durham, has welcomed back staff and children who have had two negative test results.

  42. Institution faces drugs challenges

    A County Durham young offenders' institution is "decent and generally safe" but faces challenges with drugs, violence and education, a report says.

    An unannounced inspection of HMYOI Deerbolt did show some violent incidents were serious and inmates had used new "psychoactive substances".

    Deerbolt YOI

    It noted however, there had been no self-inflicted deaths. There was also respect between inmates and staff but it was not clear if all force used was proportionate, it said.

  43. New Wear bridge construction under way

    Work is due to start on a new multimillion-pound road bridge over the River Wear in Sunderland.

    Crossing the water between Castleton and Pallion, the structure will be supported by a 115m (379ft) A-frame pylon. It is expected to be completed by spring 2018.

    Artist's impression of new River Wear crossing

    Earlier plans for a 590ft (180m) high bridge - which would have been England's tallest - were scrapped in 2013.

  44. New Boro shirt revealed

    David MacMillan

    BBC Tees

    And here it is:

    New Boro shirt
  45. New Boro kit revealed

    David MacMillan

    BBC Tees

    Here's the first Boro fans queuing for the new shirt at the Riverside. The latest kit is being revealed right now. Here's the full details.

    Boro fans queuing
  46. Costly broadband speeds dip

    Fergus Hewison

    BBC Newcastle political reporter

    Superfast broadband in parts of rural Northumberland isn't working properly - despite costing almost £500,000 of public money.

    It's been installed in Rothbury and rolled out to surrounding areas during the past two years using government money, but since March locals and businesses have seen their broadband speeds dip.

    BT engineers are fitting extra cable links to try and solve the problem and the company hopes to have things fixed by June.

  47. Lorry partially blocks A1

    BBC Travel

    The A1 in Belford in Northumberland is partially blocked and there's slow traffic in both directions between the B6349 junction and the Cragmill Road junction because of a broken down lorry.

    The traffic is also building up on the A66 eastbound in Middlesbrough at the Hartington interchange.

    More on BBC Travel News for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

  48. Fine and mostly dry

    Kay Crewdson

    Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

    Another fine and mostly dry day with some sunny intervals. An easterly breeze will make it feel cooler than yesterday, especially along the coast in places like Seaham, where the odd spot of drizzle is possible through the morning.

    Weather forecast

    Maximum temperature: 12C (54F). Check the forecast near you.

  49. Good morning

    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.