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  1. Updates on Wednesday 15 March 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Holly Taylor


That's all from us for today - thank you for joining us.

You can still catch up with the latest news throughout the night on  BBC Tees  ,   BBC Newcastle  ,   Look North   and online.

If you'd like to get in touch or share your North East pictures with us, you can do so on  TwitterFacebook,  or via   email at .

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00, have a good evening.

We'll leave you with this stunning photo of sunrise over Seaham Harbour taken this morning by Ian Maggiore.

Sunrise at Seaham Harbour
Ian Maggiore

County Durham lollipop veterans retire after 55 years of service

Holly Taylor


After a combined total of 55 years helping children get to school safely, a lollipop man and woman have retired.

Thora Muir, 74, has hung up her fluorescent gear after 35 years while 80-year-old Jim Armstrong - Durham County Council’s oldest serving school crossing patrol, has called it a day after 20.

Special assemblies have been held at both of their schools to thank the popular pair and wish them long and happy retirements.

Lollipop man Jim Armstrong
Durham County Council
Lollipop Man Jim Armstrong with pupils from his former school.
Lollipop Woman Thora Muir
Durham County Council
Lollipop Woman Thora Muir with three school crossing patrols from Horden and the council’s road safety manager Paul Watson.
Flower tributes

A teenager and a man were arrested at the scene of the crash in Middlesbrough.

Read more

Weather: Turning cloudy and breezy overnight

There will be some clear spells through the evening, before it turns mainly cloudy overnight. Despite the cloud, most areas will stay dry. 

The winds will be light at first but it will turn breezy later in the night. 

Minimum Temperature: 7C (45F).

Friends devastated after teenager dies in police pursuit

Friends of a teenager who died when the car he was in crashed while being pursued by police said he was "always happy".

The teenager was a passenger in a Ford Focus which crashed into another car while being followed by a marked police vehicle in Middlesbrough on Tuesday.  

Ryan Robinson (pictured below) said: "He was a really top lad, he was a really good kid. 

"He's a kid on the estate that was loved, always happy. Every time I seen him he was always dead jolly.

"It's a shame that he's gone, to be honest. I'm devastated.

Ryan Robinson

John Coates (pictured below) said: "He was one of the happiest lads I've ever known. He was respectful, he was sound, he was one of my best mates. 

"I could trust him with anything and he always had my back, no matter what. And then he's gone. It's a shock. I still don't believe that he's gone. 

"I really, really do miss him already because he was one of my best mates and he was always there for me no matter what."

John Coates

Store cafes to host mental health sessions

Newcastle's main Marks & Spencer store is to host fortnightly mental health chat sessions as part of a project fronted by comedian and campaigner Ruby Wax 

The Frazzled Cafe meetings will allow people to meet to talk and share personal stories "in a safe, anonymous and non-judgmental environment", the retailer announced. 

The Northumberland Street store is one of 11 taking part in the project.

Ruby Wax
Mark Wood

England fast bowler Mark Wood takes his first wicket of the year as North beat Worcestershire, while South beat UAE in Dubai

Read more

North East mum complains of black-build up in baby feed machine

Holly Taylor


A North East manufacturer of baby products has started an investigation after parents complained of finding 'mould' in the internal pipes of its formula feed machines.

Tommee Tippee said it was concerned by reports of a "build-up" in the tubes of its Perfect Prep machines. 

Parents have taken to social media to complain of feeling "angry" and "let down".  

Leanne Soulsby from Stanley, County Durham, posted a video on Facebook after finding the tubes in the back of her Perfect Prep machine had turned black. It's now been watched more than a million times.

Tommee Tippee, which has its headquarters in Cramlington, says initial investigations suggest the build-up was carbon residue which is "harmless". 

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine
Tommee Tippee

Outline planning permission for 2,000 new homes on green belt land in Northumberland

Fergus Hewison

BBC Newcastle political reporter

A scheme to build 2,000 homes on green belt land on the edge of Ponteland in Northumberland  has been granted 'outline' planning permission.

The county council's planning committee discussed the application which involves building a garden village on green belt land.

Those in favour say it will provide much needed housing and employment but the idea has been criticised by some who say the development is too big.

Adam Clayton

Middlesbrough believe they can stay in the Premier League despite dropping into the bottom three, says Adam Clayton.

Read more

The flytipping that is destroying Sunderland’s Children’s Forest

Sunderland Echo


Rubbish has been left strewn at a Sunderland beauty spot  in the latest incident to blight the area.

Flytipping in Sunderland's Children's Forest
Sunderland Echo

Public thanked for tip-offs to catch drug dealing suspects

Holly Taylor


Police say community intelligence has been instrumental in a number of drug related arrests in East Durham this morning. 

Four houses were searched and four people arrested in connection with drugs and organised crime offences in Horden. 

Insp Lee Blakelock is from Peterelee's Neighbourhood Policing Team.

He said: "Community intelligence is massive - if you give us the information we will act on it."


Planners decide on location of Ponteland High School

Fergus Hewison

BBC Newcastle political reporter

Rise in North East jobless rate

Richard Moss

Political Editor, BBC Look North

Culture events bring £12m boost

Helen Richardson

BBC Newcastle

Cultural events in County Durham bought in almost £12m to the local economy, according to figures being presented to the council's cabinet later.

Lumiere Durham
Durham County Council

The report aims to show how events like Lumiere (pictured), the Durham Book and Brass festivals and Kynren have benefited the county and encouraged support for future events. 

The meeting's being held in Spennymoor.

Roof cannabis farm sparks massive blaze

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle

Decision due on plan to build thousands of new homes

Colin Briggs

Look North

Controversial plans to build thousands of new homes in the Northumberland countryside could be given the go ahead later.

The county council's planning committee is set to discuss the scheme, which involves building a garden village on green belt land in Ponteland. 

The idea has been criticised by some locals, who say the development is too big. 

But those in favour say it would provide much needed housing and employment.

Newcastle's Mo Diame to retire

Newcastle United

Four arrests in early morning drugs raids

Holly Taylor


Four people have been arrested after a series of early morning raids at four addresses in Horden.

The operation was aimed at cracking down on suspected drug dealers and tackling the supply of controlled drugs on the East Coast of County Durham, police said.

Thirty five police officers  from the Durham force were involved in the operation. 

Insp Blakelock, of Peterlee neighbourhood policing team, said: "We executed several warrants in December and today sees more action against those who feel it acceptable to blight our community through crime, drugs and anti-social behaviour.”

Raids in East Durham
Durham Police

Sunderland fire: Praise for man who raised alarm

Russ Ward

BBC Newcastle

Sunderland fire: Woman led from neighbouring house

Fire officers have praised two men who led a woman living next to a blazing house in Sunderland to safety.

Police are investigating the fire in the city's Cooper Street, which started about 05.30.

No-one was hurt in the blaze, which Tyne and Wear Fire Service said started in the roof void of the building.

Sunderland fire

A spokesman said: "The whole street was smoked-logged when we arrived so we knew we had a pretty serious fire.

"Their property was empty at the time and the fire looks to have started in the roof space of the property.

"We had to force our way in and two male members of the public got a woman from the house next door out as there was a risk the fire could spread.

"We understand that the property is rented, but as yet we have not traced the occupant."

It took about three hours to bring the fire under control.

Cosmetic plant closure would be 'massive' says MP

Colin Briggs

Look North

The possible loss of 400 jobs at cosmetics factory in south east Northumberland has been described as "massive" by the areas MP. 

Coty told workers at the Seaton Delaval plant that they were likely to lose their jobs by the end of next year under a plan to shut the plant. 


Ronnie Campbell who is the Labour MP for Blyth Valley says the loss of this kind of work is a blow. 

Northumberland County Council says it will do what it can to help the workers who could lose their jobs.

Firefighters battle Sunderland house blaze

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle

Blaze rips through Sunderland house

Sunderland Echo


Today's weather: Dry with sunny spells after a cloudy start.

It will be rather cloudy and chilly at first, but soon becoming brighter with some sunny spells developing, especially nearer the coast, and feeling mild by the afternoon. 

It should stay dry throughout the day, with maximum temperatures reaching 13C (55F).

Weather graph

There will be some clear spells in the evening, then turning mainly cloudy overnight, though staying dry.

It will turn breezier later in the night, especially over higher ground, with temperatures keeping things mild at 8C (46F).

Boy, 16, dies after police chase in Middlesbrough

A 16-year-old boy has died after the car he was in crashed while being pursued by police on Teesside.

The teenager was a passenger in a Ford Focus which crashed into another car while being pursued by a marked patrol vehicle in Middlesbrough at about 20:00 on Tuesday.

Cleveland Police said two other males were arrested at the scene in the town's Park Road North.

A force spokesman said the incident had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

No-one else was reported injured.

Welcome to Wednesday's live coverage

Morning. Welcome to BBC Local Live. We'll be with you throughout the day to bring you the latest news, weather, sport and travel updates.

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