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  1. Updates on Friday 24 February 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

That's us all done for another day - thank you for joining us.

You can catch up with the latest news tonight on  BBC TeesBBC NewcastleLook North  and online. 

We'll leave you with this lovely photo Jim Jones sent us at Druridge Bay the morning after Storm Doris.

Druridge Bay
Jim Jones

If you have a photograph you'd like to share with us, you can Tweet us  @BBCNewsNEemail , or contact us via our  Facebook page .

We'll be back on Monday from 08:00 - have a lovely weekend!

Pickford may return to face Everton

BBC Sport

Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is pushing to return for Saturday's Premier League trip to Everton after missing the last two months with a knee injury.

He could make his first appearance since Boxing Day in place of Vito Mannone .

Jordan Pickford
Getty Images

Nissan's new panel press gets to work in Sunderland

Nissan has started production at its Sunderland plant using a new press, which will be capable of stamping 2.5 million panels a year.

The new equipment has taken 18 months to install at a cost of £37m.

It stands more than 10m-high (33ft), and will be used to press body panels for the range of cars the company produces in Sunderland.

It comes as the company celebrates the nine millionth vehicle to come off the production line since the plant opened in 1986.

The new press

Crash causes A1 delays

BBC Travel

There are reports of delays southbound on the A1 Western Bypass due to a three-vehicle collision near junction 68 at Lobley Hill.

Tail backs to junction 72 at Swalwell.

Chickens in a field

A protection zone is put in place after avian flu breaks out among 35 birds in Northumberland.

Read more

Nail traps left for trail bikers

The National Trust has contacted police after dangerous nail traps were found by mountain bikers on a Wearside trail.

The traps, photographed here by keen rider Dan King, were hidden on the trail at Dawson’s Plantation near Penshaw. It is thought they were placed there to damage bikes.

The land is owned by the trust and head ranger Helen McDonald says the nails could also have "caused serious injury".

Nails in a trail trap
Dan King
Another of the traps
Dan King

The trust has been closed for conservation and to protect the area of special scientific interest. It said the discovery of the traps had "no bearing on the decision".

An on-line petition was started by Dan King, of the Penshaw Riders bike group, who said it would be "missed". He said the nearest similar terrain is an hour’s drive away in Hamsterley.

The trust said it was keen to work with the riders and other bodies to find a suitable replacement route.

South Tyneside Council budget agreed

South Tyneside Council has approved a 4.95% council tax rise.

As a result, householders in Band A properties will be charged 87p a week extra from April.

The council says that 3% of the rise is the adult social care precept.

The authority needs to save £19m in the next financial year.

Durham teaching assistants protest

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

About 100 teaching assistants have protested outside County Hall today against changes to their contracts. 

Durham County Council says it will only pay its teaching assistants during term time and unions claim that will cut wages by up to 23%.

Negotiations are continuing and the council says it is carrying out a review of the roles and activities of its teaching assistants.

The scenes outside County Hall today

Fire and ice

Huge blocks of ice will be carved into beautiful sculptures - of Vikings, dragons, and King Arthur - as they form a trail around Durham city for the Fire and Ice Festival.

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Day trippers swoop to save barn owl

A woman and two young children out for a walk on the beach at South Shields today weren't surprised to see a group of excited gulls swooping around noisily.

But they were shocked when they realised that the gulls were attacking a barn owl.

Amy Salem was out with her friends' kids, Molly Edgar and Elli-Jo House at Sandhaven Beach when they witnessed the assault.

Then, when some crows joined in the attack, they saw the owl plunge into the sea as it tried to escape.

The owl in the towel
Amy Salem
The owl in the towel

Amy says she waded into the sea to rescue the owl.

A passer-by provided a towel to keep the owl warm and National Trust warden Mick Simpson was soon on the scene to take the owl away to recover in safety.

The walkers and the warden
Amy Salem

Bradley For England!

Bradley Lowery, who is battling cancer, has been invited to be a mascot when England play Lithuania next month. 

The five-year-old, who is from Blackhall Colliery in County Durham, has already been a mascot for his favourite club side, Sunderland.

His family were told earlier this week that he has developed a new tumour


MP to call for tougher animal cruelty sentences

Bethan Bell

BBC News Online

When two brothers who filmed themselves torturing a dog were spared jail it provoked an outcry. Yet England and Wales has the lightest maximum sentence in Europe for animal cruelty offences. Now an MP is hoping to make the law tougher on perpetrators .

There was outrage when the abuse to which Andrew and Daniel Frankish subjected a bulldog became public knowledge.

The brothers, from Redcar in Teesside, had  repeatedly stamped on the dog  and thrown it down stairs. As a result the dog became paralysed in the back legs and was eventually put down.

          Andrew Frankish was filmed stamping on a bulldog and throwing her down stairs

Yet they were given only a suspended sentence. Even if they had been jailed, the maximum prison sentence they could have faced was six months - meaning they would be released in just three.

The sentence attracted widespread criticism. Nearly  500,000 people signed an online petition  calling for a tougher penalty. Others held a vigil for the abused dog while a plane was flown over Middlesbrough FC's stadium during a match, calling for the brothers to be locked up.

Redcar's Labour MP Anna Turley, who was among those outraged by the sentence, has secured a parliamentary debate about the issue later.

Leazes Park vandals sought

Newcastle City Council is hunting for vandals who damaged Leazes Park.

View more on twitter
Vandalised balustrades

Police investigate after Victorian balustrades are smashed and the bandstand damaged.

Read more

Macmillan cancer support goes on tour

Macmillan Cancer Support’s  mobile service will be touring the region next week  offering free information and support about cancer.


Kirsty Wilkinson, who is leading the Macmillan Joining the Dots County Durham work, said: “The impact a cancer diagnosis can have on an individual and their family goes beyond medical treatment. 

"Right now, the project is seeking views from people affected by cancer about the help they need, and where and when they need it."

The team will be in Durham marketplace on Tuesday, Middlesbrough's Captain Cook Square on Wednesday, Darlington West Row on Thursday and Tesco Extra in Newton Aycliffe on Friday.

Search for precious pendant

BBC Newcastle

A woman is appealing for help to find a pendant which fell off her necklace in Newcastle because it contains her mum's ashes.

Lauren Bennet, whose mum died three months ago, came to the city last Friday to register the death.

She thinks the pendant fell off somewhere between The Gate and the Centre for Life.

Lauren says she is "desperate" to get back the "little bit of her mum she had left".

Severe accident: A1130 County Durham eastbound

BBC News Travel

A1130 County Durham eastbound severe accident, between Westbury Street and Harewood Road.

A1130 County Durham - A1130 Mandale Road in Thornaby-on-Tees closed and heavy traffic eastbound between the Westbury Street junction and the Harewood Road junction, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Morning Metro delays

There are delays on the Tyne and Wear Metro this morning.

View more on twitter

Teaching assistants take dispute to County Hall

Teaching assistants in County Durham are holding a rally outside County Hall this morning as their dispute with the council over contracts continues. 

The new deals would pay them only during term time which they claim will result in cuts of up to 23%. 

Durham County Council says it is working hard with recognised trade unions to complete a review of the job descriptions and activities of its teaching assistants.

Picket line
Teaching assistants on a picket line earlier in the dispute.

Culture bid gets heavenly backing

Sunderland's bid to become the UK City of Culture 2021 has won the backing of The Dean of Durham and Durham Cathedral.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett added his support, saying Durham and Sunderland have many links and one is the Venerable Bede.

Bede was born in Sunderland in the 7th Century and his tomb is housed in the Galilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral. Bede became an acclaimed scholar and his works are still studied today.

Andrew Tremlett

Weather: Cold and sunny start

BBC Weather

In the wake of Storm Doris, today will see a cold start with sunny spells but isolated wintry showers should soon fade away .

However cloud will thicken from the west later in the day with rain and strengthening winds move into the Pennines around dusk.

Weather chart
Dog X-ray

Bethan Bell

BBC News

High-profile cases of animal cruelty have provoked public outcry over apparent leniency. Is the law tough enough?

Read more

Welcome to our live coverage

Russ Ward

BBC Newcastle

We'll be with you throughout the day to bring you the latest news, weather, sport and travel updates from across the North East.

It's beautiful and sunny this morning following Storm Doris. Rose Weber sent us this lovely photo of the sunrise in Beadnell Bay in Northumberland. 

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us? In that case you can tweet them to  @BBCNewsNEemail them,  or contact us via our  Facebook page .

Sunrise in Beadnell Bay
Rose Weber