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  1. Updates on Friday 15 May 2015

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. Good evening

    That's it for today's BBC Local Live for the North East. We'll be back on Monday from 08:00, we hope you can join us then.

  2. Algae warning

    Duncan Leatherdale

    BBC News Online

    Warning notices have been posted at Hemlington Lake in Middlesbrough after the Environment Agency confirmed the presence of blue-green algae in the water.

    The algae occurs naturally in warm weather and stable sunshine, with some of the bloom producing a harmful toxin which can kill animals and harm humans.

    Hemlington Lake

    People are warned to keep themselves and their pets away from the algae.

    The algae is likely to subside when the weather cools.

  3. Council stands by plan

    Durham County Council says it is disappointed with the inspector's initial assessment of the plan.

    The authority had three options:

    • Continue the examination - but the inspector said he would then find the plan unsound;
    • Suspend the examination - but the inspector believed that the plan could not be rectified within a reasonable timescale and would require a significantly different plan
    • Withdraw the plan.

    The council had sought a fourth option, a re-examination in public of the plan with the inspector re-thinking his report - but inspector Harold Stephens has rejected that.

  4. Gym fined for blinding member

    David Lloyd Leisure has been ordered to pay £96,233 after one of its members was blinded in one eye at its Stockton centre, a council says.

    David Lloyd in Stockton

    Stockton Borough Council says it prosecuted the company after Mauro Carneiro, 46, from Eaglescliffe, was injured in June 2013.

    Mr Carneiro lost the sight in his left eye and has partial vision in his right after a bodycore resistance band broke and hit him in the face.

    At Teesside Crown Court today, the firm pleaded guilty to two offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act at Teesside Crown Court today. It was unavailable for comment.

    David Lloyd Leisure Limited was fined £40,000 for each offence and was ordered to pay Stockton Council £16,233 in costs.

  5. Fire chiefs back Winkleman plea

    Phil Mawson

    BBC Newcastle

    Fire chiefs in County Durham have backed calls by Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman for tougher tests to be done on children's fancy dress costumes.

    Claudia Winkleman

    County Durham Fire and Rescue Service was responding to a Watchdog interview with the presenter, in which she told of horrific injuries sustained by her eight-year-daughter Matilda when a synthetic Halloween costume caught fire.

  6. The inspector's concerns

    Duncan Leatherdale

    BBC News Online

    After examining the County Durham Plan, inspector Harold Stephens reported the following findings:

    • The assumptions about job growth were unrealistic
    • The Strategic Economic Plan is 'evidently very ambitious'
    • The number of houses the council believes are needed is too high
    • The spatial distribution is not justified particularly for Durham City
    • The process and evidence relating to the proposed amendments to the Green Belt boundary are flawed
    • The proposed western and northern relief roads are not justified, deliverable or environmentally acceptable.
  7. Acquittal hope for death row smuggler

    Chantalle Edmunds

    BBC Tees

    The lawyer for a Teesside-born drugs smuggler on death row in Indonesia has said her final appeal case will have "strong grounds" for her acquittal

    Lindsay Sandiford

    Lindsay Sandiford, 58, originally from Redcar, is facing death by firing squad but has a six-month window to file her appeal.

    Craig Tuck told Victoria Derbyshire her defence will show she was a vulnerable drugs mule trafficked into Bali.

  8. Shop stops selling 'legal highs'

    Phil Mawson

    BBC Newcastle

    Police say a shop in Newcastle has stopped selling "legal highs" after it was threatened with closure.

    Northumbria Police said Ranja News in Bothal Street was warned a closure order application would be made to magistrates if complaints of anti-social behaviour continued in and around the shop.

    Officers claimed sales of legal highs substances was directly linked to an increase in low-level crime.

  9. What is the plan?

    Duncan Leatherdale

    BBC News Online

    The County Durham plan is effectively the blueprint Durham County Council will use to direct and determine future development.

    Under the plan the council wants to build 31,400 homes and create thousands of jobs over the next 20 years to attract more businesses and people to the area.

    Durham city centre

    But inspector Harold Stephens said the plan was "unsound" and assumptions about job growth were "very ambitious".

    The council had asked him to reopen his examination, but his refusal has prompted today's announcement of a judicial review.

  10. Council is 'disappointed'

    Duncan Leatherdale

    BBC News Online

    Mr Thompson said: "It came as a disappointment that the Planning Inspector has now declined to reopen the examination so that our concerns can be fully explored in the public domain.

    "We maintain the plan offers the best prospect for economic growth and a once in a generation opportunity to see our county deliver on its potential to safeguard the sort of life we want every resident to have the opportunity to strive for.

    "We now have no choice but to pursue this matter through the courts by way of a Judicial Review."

  11. BreakingCouncil takes plan refusal to court

    Duncan Leatherdale

    BBC News Online

    Durham County Council is seeking a judicial review of an inspector's decision not to reopen his examination of the "unsound" county plan.

    In February planning inspector Harold Stephens called the County Durham plan, which is the document guiding future development in the county, "unrealistic and flawed".

    Durham County Hall

    The council, which is standing by its plan, had asked him to reopen his investigation, but he refused.

    Ian Thompson, corporate director of regeneration and economic development at the authority, said the council will seek a judicial review at to court.

  12. Police seize cannabis plants in raid

    Phil Mawson

    BBC Newcastle

    Cannabis plants worth thousands of pounds have been seized by police in Bishop Auckland.

    Cannabis plants

    Officers from the Durham and Cleveland forces found the plants, with an estimated street value of £4,000, at a property in the town's Helen Terrace, earlier today.

    A 44-year-old local man has been arrested at the scene on suspicion of cultivating cannabis.

  13. Safety assessments after student river deaths

    Stephanie Finnon

    BBC Newcastle

    Safety assessments are being carried on rivers and lakes in County Durham following the deaths of three students in the Wear in less than 18 months.

    Sope Peters, Luke Pearce and Euan Coulthard have all died over the past 18 months

    Sope Peters drowned in 2013, Luke Pearce died in 2014 and Euan Coulthard in January. All had been out drinking.

    Durham County Council says it has been given advice from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and is looking at any improvements that can be made.

    Some areas have already seen changes with the installation of public rescue equipment and new signs.

  14. Taxi driver sought over sex assault

    Phil Mawson

    BBC Newcastle

    Police are hunting a taxi driver believed to have sexually assaulted a woman in Newcastle.

    The 20-year-old victim was attacked in the early hours of 4 May in Osborne Road, but police have only now released details.

    She was not seriously hurt but was left badly shaken. Police have appealed for witnesses.

  15. Memorial wall for lost service personnel

    Russell Ward

    BBC Newcastle

    I've been looking at a memorial wall in Sunderland, where servicemen and women lost in recent conflicts will be featured.

    Sunderland memorial wall

    Families who have lost loved ones in recent military service are being asked to put forward their names to be inscribed on the Memorial Wall in in Burdon Road, in time for Remembrance Day.

    Find out more on BBC Newcastle.

  16. MP 'saddened' at Umunna decision

    BBC Newcastle

    Newcastle Central Labour MP Chi Onwurah says she is saddened by the decision of Chuka Umunna to pull out of the party's leadership race.

    Chi Onwurah

    Ms Onwurah, who has worked with Mr Umunna in the past, said: "Whilst I hadn't decided to back Chuka or any of the candidates so far, I have worked with Chuka in the shadow business team and I'm really sad that somebody feels the kind of pressure that being in a leadership position in the Labour party brings with it."

    Mr Umunna announced his intention to quit the leadership race earlier today, saying he us uncomfortable with the level of media scrutiny.

  17. Chickens killed in suspected arson attack

    Phil Mawson

    BBC Newcastle

    Forty-five chickens have been killed in a suspected arson attack on an allotment in Hartlepool.

    The incident happened in the early hours of this morning at Thornhill Gardens. The birds were were in a shed.

    Cleveland Police says the blaze is being treated as suspicious.

  18. Mother's fear for lung burst son

    Sunderland Echo

    A mum has told how she thought her teenage son could die after he underwent emergency surgery when a blood vessel burst in his lung.

    Connor Smith and his mother Louise

    Connor Smith was at home last Friday when he started coughing up blood. His mum Louise immediately called the emergency services.

  19. Crunch game for Sunderland

    Nick Barnes

    BBC Newcastle commentator

    Here I am prepping for Sunderland's final home match against Leicester City tomorrow.

    SAFC match notes

    You can hear full commentary live on BBC Newcastle.

  20. Under-threat library to reopen

    Phil Mawson

    BBC News

    A Newcastle library that faced closure due to council budget cuts is to reopen tomorrow after a deal to run it was struck with Newcastle College.

    Denton Burn library is one of several in the city that was taken over by outside organisations. The site has been closed for almost six months.

  21. Leadership battle latest

    Richard Moss

    Political editor, North East & Cumbria

    On this weekend's Sunday Politics we'll have the latest on Tim Farron's bid to become leader of the Liberal Democrats.

    Tim Farron

    We'll also be in Tony Blair's former Sedgefield constituency, where the local Labour Club is now a carpet warehouse.

    Join us on BBC One on Sunday at 11:00.

  22. Accident closes stretch of A19

    BBC Travel

    A stretch of the northbound A19 has been closed at Haverton Hill, near Stockton, because of an accident.

    The incident affects an area near the slip road at Portrack Interchange. There are no reported injuries.

    Check the travel conditions where you are.

  23. Burglar 'hit four homes in 30 minutes'

    Hartlepool Mail

    A serial burglar who invaded four people's homes in just half an hour has been jailed.

    Adrian Golden

    Adrian Golden, 32, was caught inside three homes and another's garden looking for things to steal after he took pills and prowled the streets, a court heard.

  24. Mobile scooter dumped in pond

    Hannah McMahon

    BBC Tees

    Teenagers in Sedgefield, County Durham, have written to a great grandmother apologising for stealing her mobility scooter.

    Margaret Pelger, 87, was left unable to leave her home when her scooter was ruined after being dumped in a pond.

    Ms Pelger was uninsured and had to pay to replace the vehicle. Cleveland Police have condemned the actions of the youths.

  25. North East artists named for light festival

    Helen Richardson

    BBC Newcastle

    Four North East artists have been picked to show their work in the Lumiere Festival in Durham later this year.

    Durham Cathedral during Lumiere festival

    Lumiere has become the UK's largest light festival and attracted 175,000 visitors to the city in 2013. The festival will run from 12-15 November, its fourth appearance having been held every second year since 2009.

    The chosen artists chosen Richard Hornby and Alison Lowery from Durham, Victoria McLeod, also from Durham, Robyn Wright from Darlington and Louise MacKenzie, who moved to the region from Edinburgh.

  26. 'Tragedy of loving mum'

    The Gazette

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

    Gazette front page
  27. Latest news

    Phil Mawson

    BBC News

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

    • More than £100,000 has been raised for a Northumberland rugby player living with an inoperable brain tumour
    • Middlesbrough FC are aiming for the Championship play-off final at Wembley when they take on Brentford tonight
    • Teenagers in Sedgefield write to a great grandmother apologising for dumping her mobility scooter in a pond
  28. Need to highlight respite care

    Hannah McMahon

    BBC Tees

    The chief executive of Stockton's Butterwick Hospice has joined others across England in signing a letter calling on the government to ensure there's enough funding for respite breaks.

    They say it is vital that families can take time out and rest from caring for a child with a life-limiting condition, while someone steps in for a short time to take over that care.

    Graham Leggatt-Chidgey says the work of hospices needs to be better appreciated.

  29. Rugby player fund tops £100,000

    Helen Richardson

    BBC Newcastle

    More than £100,000 has been raised for a farmer and rugby player from Northumberland living with an inoperable brain tumour.

    Stu Ridley

    Stu Ridley, 25, from Tynedale, was diagnosed in February - and told he had less than six months to live.

    His friends and family started a campaign called StayStrongStu to raise money for brain tumour research.

    The social media campaign has already gained the support of actor Stephen Fry, former England rugby union star Jonny Wilkinson and cricketer Alastair Cook.

  30. Boro's play-off form

    BBC Sport

    Ahead of Middlesbrough v Brentford in the crucial second leg of their bid to reach the Premier League, we take a look at the previous previous play-off form of both sides.

    • Middlesbrough have had one successful play-off campaign and one which ended in defeat. Both came in the second tier
    • Boro won promotion by beating Chelsea on aggregate over two legs in 1987-88 but lost to Notts County at the semi-final stage in 1990-91
    • Brentford have suffered defeat in their seven previous play-offs campaigns, and have lost three play-off finals
    • All of those final defeats have been in the third tier; against Crewe in 1996-97, Stoke in 2001-02 and Yeovil in 2012-13
  31. Tackling the stigma of death

    Anna Foster

    BBC Newcastle mid-morning presenter

    It can be an uncomfortable, awkward, even upsetting thing to talk about, but the fact is, one day it will happen to everyone.

    I'm talking about death, dying, end of life. But it's so important that you make the right decisions and make sure your family know and understand your wishes.

    On this morning's show we'll be hearing from St Cuthbert's Hospice in County Durham, which has launched a new project with the aim of getting people talking, and getting rid of the stigma.

  32. Latest headlines

    Phil Mawson

    BBC News

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

  33. In the papers

    The Journal


    Here's today's front page from The Journal.

    Journal front page
  34. Global support for Boro ahead of play-off

    BBC Tees

    Middlesbrough fans from around the world have sent us their pictures showing their support for the team's big game later against Brentford tonight.

    Middlesbrough fan Mike and friends in San Francisco

    Mike posted that he was believing all the way from the West Coast of the United States!

    Middlesbrough fan Rory in Egypt

    And a big thanks to Rory for believing all the way in Egypt!

    Follow all the action with BBC Tees and on our Facebook page.

  35. Newcastle United cancel awards party

    Phil Mawson

    BBC Newcastle

    Newcastle United have cancelled their end-of-season awards dinner as head coach John Carver and his players battle to secure Barclays Premier League safety.

    John Carver

    The event, which would have raised funds for the club's charitable foundation, was due to take place at St James' Park on Wednesday evening, four days before the final-day fixture against West Ham.

    However, the parlous on-field situation has led officials to cancel it to ensure the focus remains solely on collecting the points required to avert disaster.

    The team is currently languishing fourth from the bottom of the Premier League table.

  36. Boro's big day: 'We believe'

    BBC Tees

    A video featuring host of famous faces declaring "we believe" that Middlesbrough can make it to the Championship play-off final has gone viral.

    BBC Tees We Believe video

    So far the specially-produced video, which features BBC business reporter Steph McGovern and Teesside-born magician Paul Daniels, has been viewed almost 23,000 times on Facebook.

    A win or draw against Brentford tonight will book the team a place at Wembley and a step closer to the Premier League.

  37. 'Mum strikes a blow for justice'

    Northern Echo editor Peter Barron

    Here's today's front page.

    Northern Echo
  38. Boro bidding for play-off final

    Ali Brownlee

    BBC Tees

    Middlesbrough Football Club are preparing for the biggest game of the season so far.

    Grant Leadbitter

    A win or a draw against Brentford tonight will book them a place at Wembley - and one step closer to the Premier League.

    More than 30,000 people are expected to pack the Riverside Stadium. BBC Tees will have all the action.

  39. Pair bailed in murder probe

    Helen Richardson

    BBC Newcastle

    Two men arrested on suspicion of murdering a Gateshead man who was accused of abducting a 14-year-old girl have been bailed.

    John Roberts

    John Roberts, 32, was found dead at his home in Winlaton, on 16 December 2012. He had suffered head injuries.

    The football badge seller, known as John 'The Badge', had been facing an abduction charge.

    Nine people have been arrested and released without charge since his death.

  40. Latest headlines

    Phil Mawson

    BBC News

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

    • A former soldier from Ashington is facing an anxious wait to find out if the Indian courts will allow him to come home later.
    • Middlesbrough FC take on Brentford tonight for a place in the Championship play-off final at Wembley
    • Spittal beach in Northumberland is among several in England at risk of failing EU quality standards
  41. Spittal beach 'may fail quality test'

    Claire Marshall

    BBC environment correspondent

    Spittal beach in Northumberland is among several in England at risk of failing to meet EU water quality standards this year, the Environment Agency has warned.

    Beach water quality testing

    It suggests new EU regulations will make it much harder for beaches to attain the top "excellent" rating.

    More than 99% of English beaches passed last year's tests, but this is forecast to drop by 6%, with the water of 25 beaches possibly classed as "poor".

  42. Anxious wait for Indian detainee

    Helen Richardson

    BBC Newcastle

    A former soldier from Ashington is facing an anxious wait to find out if the Indian courts will allow him to come home later.

    Nick Dunn

    The Supreme Court is due to give a verdict on Nick Dunn, who has been in India for the past 18 months.

    He was accused of carrying illegal weapons on an anti piracy ship he was working on.

    If a judgement does not come today a summer break for the courts in India will mean the men will have to wait until July.

  43. Mainly dry with plenty of sunshine

    Clare Nasir

    Weather presenter, BBC Look North

    Starting rather chilly this morning, but brightening up quickly with plenty of sunshine for most parts.

    Clare Nasir

    Best of the weather will be in the east, with moderate winds.

    Top temperatures of about 15C. Check the weather where you are.

  44. Good morning

    Phil Mawson

    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.