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  1. Updates on Wednesday 18 May 2016

Live Reporting

By Rebecca Turner

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Rebecca Turner

BBC North East

Updates for the North East have now finished here for the day - thank you for joining us. 

We'll be back from 08:00 on Tuesday with more news, sport, weather and travel updates and hope you can join us then.

If you'd like to get in touch you can tweet usemail us, or contact us via our Facebook page.   

Weather: Scattered, heavy showers

BBC Weather

Scattered, heavy showers during the early evening will soon die out to leave partly cloudy conditions overnight.

Some patches of mist and low cloud may form under light winds.  

475 assaults on police officers in the North East over a year

There were 475 assaults on police officers in the North East over a year, according to government statistics.

The number of police officers assualted in the year ending 31 March 2015 were as follows:

Cleveland Police: 81

Durham Police: 82

Northumbria Police: 312

Travel: Delays on A1049, A66 and A19

BBC Travel

The A1049 West View Road in Hartlepool is closed and there is very slow traffic in both directions between the West View Road junction and the Winterbottom Avenue junction, because of an incident.  

There is a shed load on the A66 westbound between Scotch Corner in Middleton Tyas and the A67 junction in Bowes.  

There are delays of five minutes and queuing traffic on A19 southbound in Shiremoor before Silverlink Roundabout. Expected delayof 5 minutes.  

More traffic information on the BBC Travel website for Tyne & Wear and Teesside.

Cricket: First win of the season for Durham

Durham beat Lancashire by 73 runs giving them their first win of the season.

View more on twitter

Barnard Castle school could close over falling pupil numbers

A primary school could close because of falling pupil numbers and concerns over inadequate improvement following an Ofsted inspection.

Startforth Morritt Memorial Primary School

Startforth Morritt Memorial Primary School in Barnard Castle, County Durham, was rated as "requiring improvement" in 2014.

Durham County Council said proposals for an amalgamation with a nearby primary had failed to go ahead.

A consultation is under way with a decision due in September.

Ant and Dec form a boy band with Alan Shearer

Geordie duo Ant and Dec have formed a "man band" with football legend Alan Shearer, golfer Lee Westwood and Jersey Boys actor Ryan Molloy.

And and Dec with band
Ant and Dec

It was all in aid of the Children's Heart Unit Fund which is based at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Cricket: Clouds are looming

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle

Some brooding clouds have arrived over Chester le Street and the lights have been switched on at the Durham vs Lancashire match. 

Could be in for a nervy final, Lancashire need 88 more to win.

Cricket field at Chester le Street

North Tyneside pupils hailed as role models

Boys at Holy Cross RC primary school in Howdon have been working to transform their school grounds.

Pupils at Holy Cross primary
North Tyneside Council

Aged between seven and nine, a group of boys started the ‘Transformers’ project earlier in the year.

They'll plant a wildflower meadow in the school grounds, alongside North Tyneside Council’s park wardens at Killingworth Lake.

Over the last year, the boys have also mentored younger children with their reading and writing skills.

Headteacher Andrew James says: "They have been positive role models to us as adults, as well as to their peers around school."

Northumberland farmer 'resigned' to losing land when A1 is dualled

A Northumberland farmer has said he's "resigned" himself to the idea that the dualled stretch of A1 will go through his land, despite not having been approached by the Highways Agency.

Peter Hogg's family have been farming on the land at Causey Park, north of Morpeth, since 1850. That's 166 years.

Peter Hogg

He says he has been sent two letters from the Highways Agency - one letting him know about public awareness events coming up, and another telling him about an environmental survey taking place on his land.

But he has not been approached by the Highways Agency about actually using his land.

Back in 2004, when dualling the A1 was first mooted, the plan was to put the new segment directly through the centre of his land - meaning he'd lose around 10-15% of it.

Liam Fee murder trial: Accused says she did not assault toddler

One of the women accused of murdering toddler Liam Fee has told the trial she did not assault the child.

Rachel and Nyomi Fee

Nyomi Fee said another boy had injured Liam in the days leading up to his death.

However, Nyomi Fee accepted at the High Court in Livingston that she had not sought medical help for Liam when she knew he had a leg injury.

The women, who are both originally from Ryton, deny all the charges against them.  

Plans to give prison governors control welcomed

New powers to allow some prisons to set their own rules and budgets and decide how to rehabilitate inmates have been widely welcomed after being outlined in the Queen's Speech.

Getty Images

Governors at six "reform prisons" in England, including Holme House and Kirklevington Grange on Teesside, will be given direct control.

Such freedoms for governors should be part of a modern justice system, the Prison Reform Trust said.

But the government must also address "real problems within prisons", the Prison Officers' Association warned.

Durham roundabout traffic lights to be switched on next week

Traffic lights at a key roundabout in Durham will be switched on next week.

The work on Gilesgate roundabout has also included an extra lane being added, two new crossings and footpaths being widened.

A £2.5m system will also see lights installed on Leazes Bowl roundabout. The improvements there are due to be completed by the end of September.

Gilesgate roundabout
Durahm County Council

Teesside 'second luckiest location for major lottery wins'

Teesside is the second-luckiest location for major lottery wins, Camelot has revealed.

Lotto ticket

The Essex postcode RM came top, with more winners of £50,000 prizes or higher than anywhere else in the country.

This is followed by the Teesside postcode TS, based on major wins per head of population since the National Lottery began.

Healy written out of new Benidorm series after illness

Benidorm actor Tim Healy has been written out of the ninth series of the show while he recovers from an undisclosed illness. 

Tim Healey

The 64-year-old, who was born in Newcastle and found fame in the 1980s show Auf Wiedersehen Pet, fell ill almost a month ago during filming in Spain. 

He was flown home to a hospital in Manchester on Saturday after his condition had stabilised enough for him to travel. 

A spokesman for the ITV show said: "Tim won't be appearing in episodes whilst he rests and gets better."

Cricket: Lunch at Durham v Lancashire

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle

Durham captain Paul Collingwood took the decision to declare first thing, setting Lancashire a target of 325 for victory. It would be the second highest run chase on this ground if they could pull it off but at lunch they are 105-5.

Three wickets in 2.3 overs did the damage as they were reduced from 94-2 to 97-5. Alviro Petersen's dismissal triggered the slump as he played a Brydon Carse ball to point when on 22. Luke Procter then edged Carse to the slips in his next over when he was on 21.

And captain Steven Croft was given out caught behind when he tried to cut a short ball from Barry McCarthy when on one. He looked very disappointed in the decision but the Durham players all rose as one as he played the shot.

It was a turnaround from earlier when Karl Brown put some poor Durham bowling around the park. Lancashire had 50 on the board in the first seven overs but the runs dried up when Brown was out for 41. 

Weather: Brighter spells this afternoon but some heavy showers too

This afternoon some brighter spells will develop but as well as this there will be a scattering of heavy showers. 

weather graphic

Maximum Temperature: 16C (61F). 

Greggs loses takeaway loo battle

Newcastle-based bakery chain Greggs could be forced to provide toilets in all its stores that have customer seating following a High Court ruling.

Hull City Council, which brought the action, said the chain should provide sanitary facilities if food and drink are consumed on the premises.

Newcastle City Council, Greggs' home town authority, opposed the move.

An earlier ruling in Greggs favour said outlets serving simple takeaway food did not need toilet facilities.


North East mayor would 'get power to franchise bus services'

Luke Walton

BBC Look North

In the Queen's speech we've heard more about the powers a  North East mayor would get, after six of our seven councils voted to in favour of the plan yesterday.

They'll get the power to franchise bus services and levy business rate supplement.

Mum of twins with debilitating muscle disease says she is ‘watching her boys die every day’

Sunderland Echo


Wilton Ensus bioethanol plant production trial to start

Production at a biofuel plant that has been repeatedly mothballed is to be restarted on a trial basis.

Wilton plant

Ensus stopped production at Wilton on Teesside in February 2015 blaming significantly reduced demand in Europe.

Commercial director Grant Pearson said, although the market had not picked up, government moves to increase the use of bioethanol in petrol could lead to increased demand.

Redcar MP Anna Turley said it was "a sign of confidence in the region".

Cricket: Preview of the final day of Durham vs Lancashire

Digital Nation: Focus on rising Newcastle musical star

Digital Nation is a weekly round-up of the best local independent television from around the UK.  

The clip from Made in Tyne and Wear features a performance by rising Newcastle musical start Kay Greyson - you can watch it here.

Kay Greyson
Made in Tyne and Wear

North East has lowest average weekly hours worked

The UK unemployment figures released today showed the North East still has the highest rate with 104,000 people out of work, a rate of 7.9%.

It has also emerged that the region has the lowest average weekly hours worked in the 12 months ending December last year, alongside the South West - both clocking in at 31.1 hours.

Unemployment figures: North East still has highest unemployment rate

UK unemployment fell to 1.69 million between January and March, official figures show, down 2,000 from the previous quarter.  

For the three months ending March 2016, the highest unemployment rate in the UK is still in the North East - at 7.9%. 

It means 104,000 people are out of work.

However, this is 4,000 fewer than in the last quarter.

Football: Gateshead's new striker

Matthew Raisbeck

BBC Newcastle Sport

Gateshead's new striker Reece Styche has spoken to BBC Newcastle about his move to the north east.

You can listen to the interview here.

Reece Styche
Getty Images

Man 'armed with gun' demands cash in Newcastle shop

A man went into a Newcastle shop with what's believed to have been a gun yesterday afternoon and demanded cash.

It happened at Annie's Deli, behind the convenience store at Raby Cross. He left empty-handed and no one was hurt.

He's described as white man, 6ft, wearing a grey coloured hoody with a scarf covering his face, and spoke with a local accent.

Dualling of A1 in Northumberland 'won't start until 2020'

BBC Newcastle

The Highways Agency says work to dual sections of the A1 in Northumberland won't start until 2020 at the earliest - and only if the right funding package is in place.

It has just begun a series of roadshows letting people know what's proposed - and wildlife experts have begun doing surveys of the land which might be affected.

Nannette Toyle from the Highways Agency told BBC Newcastle it's "too early to say who might be affected by any of the dualling options".

Football: Is Benitez close to agreeing Newcastle deal?

BBC Sport

BBC Radio 5 live's senior football reporter Ian Dennis believesRafael Benitezis close to agreeing a deal to remain Newcastle manager, despite relegation to the Championship...  

View more on twitter
Rafa Benitez
Getty Images

Queen's Speech: New prison governor powers expected

"Unprecedented" new powers for prison governors - including two on Teesside - will be outlined in the Queen's Speech later.  

In the bill to be announced later, the governors of six jails - including Holme House and Kirklevington Grange  - will be given control over budgets, decide which rehabilitation and education services to use and be able to change the prison regime and the rules over family visits.

Prison cell

The prisons will be able to enter into contracts and to generate and retain income, the government said, adding that governors would be held accountable by "a new regime of transparency".

By the end of the year, 5,000 prisoners will be held in the first six "autonomous" prisons, 

Critics say the changes fail to tackle overcrowding problems and suicide.  

Travel: Accident on the A19 in County Durham

BBC Travel

There's queuing traffic and one lane is closed on the A19 southbound in Elwick near the Coal Lane junction, because of an accident.

Congestion to the A179 junction.  

Keep up to date with the latest travel for Tyne and Wear and Tees.

Weather: Cloud and rain to start with, some brighter spells later

Rather cloudy during this morning with showery rain moving east.

Some brighter spells developing by the afternoon along with a scattering of heavy showers.

Light winds.  

Check the weather where you are.

£30m devolution deal with North East mayor gets backing

More now on the story which we first brought you yesterday, a North East devolution authority run by an elected mayor with £30m funding a year has moved a step forward.

Six of the seven councils that make up the North East Combined Authority voted in favour of the plan.

People will choose a directly-elected mayor in 2017 if the plan gets the final go-ahead next year.  


Morning, welcome to our live coverage

Rebecca Turner

BBC North East

We'll be here until 18:00 with all your news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the North East.

If you'd like to get in touch you can tweet usemail us, or contact us via our Facebook page