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  1. Updates on Tuesday 19 December 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

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

You can stay in touch with the latest news overnight on BBC Tees,BBC Newcastle,Look North, and online.

If you've got a story or a picture you'd like to share with us you can tweet us @BBCNewsNE, email, contact us via Look North's Facebook page.

We're back at 08:00 tomorrow.

Weather: Clear to start, cloudy later and mild

There will be some clear spells to start the night, especially in the east. As the night does on it will tend to cloud over with some patchy rain at times, particularly over the hills. Milder than of late with generally light winds.

Minimum Temperature: 4C (39F).

Tomorrow it will be a cloudy start for most with a little light rain at times, especially over the hills. It will become drier and brighter as the day goes on, with some sunny spells at times through the afternoon. Staying mild with only light winds.

Maximum Temperature: 11C (52 F).

Students come to the aid of vulnerable adults

BBC Newcastle

Thirty Sunderland University students have trained as volunteers to help vulnerable adults in custody at North East police stations.

Mature student Tracey Stephenson is on-call around the clock.

She said: "Sometimes I'll get called out three times a day to help with the process when they've been arrested, interviewed, fingerprinted and photographed, and then they might be charged or given a caution."

The scheme is being delivered in partnership with Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC.

Labrador saved from freezing river

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

A black Labrador called Hardy was rescued by the RSPCA after becoming trapped in a freezing river.


Inspector Jaqui Miller was called to the River Wansbeck in Ashington last Wednesday to reports that a dog was trapped in the ice. Hardy had been out with his dog walker but ran off and jumped into the river.

Firefighters from Northumberland Fire and Rescue attached Inspector Miller to a rope, and she worked her way across the icy river using a pick.


Harvey was found was half submerged in the frozen water with his paws clinging to the edge of the ice.

Inspector Miller was able to push Harvey onto the solid ice who then was returned to his dog walker. He had a small cut on his paw but is fine and safe at home with his owner.

Medomsley detention centre abuse-accused in court

Seven former officers at a youth detention centre have appeared before magistrates charged with abusing inmates during the 1970s and 1980s.

Nearly 1,400 men have claimed they were abused at Medomsley, in County Durham.

No pleas were entered at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court, and the seven were bailed to appear before Teesside Crown Court on 16 January.

The defendants and their charges are:

• Kevin Blakey, 65, two counts of misconduct, two counts of wounding, and two of assault

• Alan Bramley, 69, misconduct, wounding, and two counts of assault

• Johnson Brian Greenwell, 70, misconduct, serious sexual assault, false imprisonment, and two counts of assault

• David McClure, 62, misconduct, wounding, and four counts of assault

• John McGee, 73, misconduct, four counts of assault, two counts of indecent assault, serious sexual assault, and wounding

• Christopher Onslow, 71, two counts of misconduct, two of serious sexual assault, two counts of wounding, two counts of wounding with intent, three counts of assault, and one of indecent assault

• Neil Sowerby, 60, misconduct, three counts of serious sexual assault, two counts of assault and four counts of indecent assault

Medomsley Detention Centre

The centre, near Consett, closed in 1988.

Opeti Fonua

Newcastle Falcons allow back-row Opeti Fonua to rejoin French Top 14 side Agen with immediate effect.

Read more

Further arrests made in investigation into suspected drug dealing in Newcastle

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

Further arrests have been made as investigations into suspected drug dealing in bars in Newcastle continue.

Newcastle bars

Eleven people were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. They have all been released under investigation.

Seven further arrests were made today and those arrested remain in custody.

Madame Koo, House of Smith and Florita's, on Collingwood Street, and The Empress, at nearby The Side, have been closed amid drug dealing concerns.

All four premises remain closed.

Severe disruption: A1(M) County Durham southbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham southbound severe disruption, between J61 for A177 and J60 for A689 affecting B1198.

A1(M) County Durham - Queuing traffic on A1(M) southbound between J61, A177 (Bowburn) and J60, A689 (Bradbury), because of an earlier broken down vehicle. All lanes have been re-opened. Congestion to B1198.

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

Colin Gregg sentence reduced to eight-and-a-half years

Colin Gregg, the heir to the Greggs bakery chain, has had his 13-and-a-half jail term cut by five years.

He denied nine counts of indecently assaulting four boys aged between 10 and 14 but was found guilty in March.

Sasha Wass QC, representing him at the Appeal Court, argued his sentence was excessive in light of the fact his offending was not in the most serious category.

Lord Justice Davis, sitting with Mrs Justice Nicola Davies and Judge Nicholas Dean QC, said the appeal against sentence must be allowed.

He added: "Having reflected upon the matter, the view of this court is that a total sentence of eight-and-a-half years is appropriate for this offending and for this offender."

Colin Gregg has jail sentence cut

The heir to the Greggs bakery chain has had his jail term for sexually abusing young boys cut by five years.

Colin Gregg was jailed for 13-and-a-half years in March for indecently assaulting four boys aged between 10 and 14 over three decades.

The 76-year-old, from Newcastle, lost a bid to have his convictions overturned at London's Court of Appeal.

But senior judges said his prison term, imposed at Newcastle Crown Court, was "too long" and should be reduced.

Colin Gregg

The trial heard Gregg, who helped build up the family business and also worked as a social worker, teacher and headmaster, was a "sophisticated, predatory paedophile" who abused his position of trust.

Trial judge Robin Mairs described him as "charismatic, inspiring teacher and mentor" who used those attributes to groom young boys.

Gregg claimed to be the victim of a "police witch hunt" and said the complainants were looking for compensation.

Charity hails festive spirit as shoppers help vulnerable children

BBC Tees

Generous shoppers in Hartlepool have been making a difference to children caught up in domestic abuse.

The charity Harbour said it has received more than 700 presents towards its Christmas Wishing Tree appeal.

Members of the public have been taking gift tags from a Christmas tree at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and buying the present suggested on the tag.

Harbour's Sam Watson said: "We obviously want to get as many as we can. That's 700 children who will be touched.

"At least that day will be special, with all the hard times the families are going through."

Restoration work continues on Spanish City

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

Work is continuing to restore the Spanish City building in Whitley Bay.

Spanish City
Spanish City

Once a funfair, the historic building is now being renovated into a leisure hub with restaurants, cafes and shops as part of a £14m redevelopment project.

It's due to reopen to the public in the summer.

Ali's sister makes plea for festive blood donations

BBC Tees

The sister of former BBC Tees presenter Ali Brownlee is urging people to donate blood after it gave their family extra time with the former broadcaster.

Ali became known as the "Voice of the Boro", commentating on his beloved team for more than 30 years before passing away in 2016 with bowel cancer.

Jenny Brownlee, the North East and Cumbria area matron for blood donations, says she'd like to see more people register to donate over the Christmas period.

Ali Brownlee

Gateshead FC game cancelled

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

Tonight's Gateshead match against Guiseley has been cancelled due to a frozen pitch.

View more on twitter

Your photos: Sun in Sunderland

Russ Ward

BBC Newcastle

There has been some beautiful sunshine this morning - a welcome sight after the chilly spell.

The River Wear in Sunderland is like a millpond today.

Sun shining on the River Wear in Sunderland

Airport announces new holiday destinations

BBC Tees

New destinations have been announced for Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Holiday company Super Break will be flying to seven places including Spain, Iceland and two locations in Italy.

Airport chiefs say the news shows that it is delivering on its plans to safeguard the airport's future.

Durham Tees Valley Airport

Man attacked with chain and machetes

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

A man was injured when he was attacked by three men with a chain and machetes.

The attack happened on Raeburn Road, South Shields on Monday at 22:00.

The men then ran off and a silver grey coloured car left the scene soon after.

The 29-year-old man suffered a number of slash wounds to his limbs. He was taken to the RVI in Newcastle. His condition is serious but not life-threatening.

Raeburn Road

A19 northbound reopened, southbound remains closed

The A19 northbound has been reopened following this morning's 12-vehicle collision, police say.

The southbound carriageway remains closed for the vehicles to be recovered and while the investigation is carried out.

A19 crash: Low sun and icy roads possible factors

A number of factors are being looked at by police investigating this morning's multi-vehicle crash on the A19, police say.

Insp Ed Turner from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit told BBC Newcastle that the vehicles involved were a mixture of small cars up to HGVs.

Some are in a state and they'll never go on the road again, they've had their roofs taken off by the fire service to get people out. They are other vehicles that have been able to drive away but will need repairs aswell"

He also said sunlight and wet roads could have been a contributing factor to the crash

The sun is very low in the sky, the roads were damp and icy earlier today. If people are driving too fast or too close to the vehicle in front of them, it's difficult to react. And when one person reacts, everyone else does which causes a concertina effect and unfortunately I think that's what's happened this morning"

It will take several hours for the police to identify exactly what happened and to reopen the road.

A19 collision: Road to be closed for several hours

Three taken to hospital after A19 crash

Three people have been taken to hospital after this morning's crash on the A19 near Dalton Park.

The collision which happened shortly after 09:00 involved 12 vehicles.

The North East Ambulance Service said three people were taken to Sunderland's Royal Hospital for treatment and one person was treated at the scene.

Five fire engines, the Great North Air Ambulance and six ambulances attended.

A19 crash

Air ambulance on scene after 12-car crash near Dalton Park closes A19

Hartlepool Mail


The A19 has been closed in both directions following a smash involving 12 cars this morning.

A19 crash

MP calls for A19 investigation following latest crash

Richard Moss

Political Editor, BBC Look North

The Easington Labour MP Grahame Morris has renewed his call for an investigation into the A19 following this morning's collision.

Twelve vehicles are involved in the crash near Dalton Park which has led to both carriageways being closed. The air ambulance is at the scene.

Mr Morris has been campaigning for safety improvements on the road and called on transport ministers and Highways England to investigate.

View more on twitter

A19 collision involves 12 vehicles

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

Both carriageways on the A19 are currently closed as Durham Police and the Great North Air Ambulance attend a multi-vehicle accident on the southbound side.

Twelve vehicles were involved in the collision which happened at about 09:15 at the B1230 junction near Peterlee.

There is currently no estimated time for the road to be reopened.

Travel: A19 closed both ways after multi-vehicle collision

The A19 is closed in both directions at Dalton Park, Durham Police say.

There has been a multiple-vehicle collision and drivers are being urged to seek alternative routes.

Travel: Multi-vehicle collision on A19 near Peterlee junction

Your photos: Red sky over Wallsend

Thanks to Rob McAvoy for sending us this stunning photo of the beautiful sunset over Wallsend yesterday.

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us? You can tweet them to @BBCNewsNE, email or contact us via Look North's Facebook page.

Red sky over Wallsend

Police close city bars in drugs crackdown

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

Four bars in Newcastle city centre have been closed over concerns about drug dealing on the premises.

Madame Koo, House of Smith and Florita's, on Collingwood Street, and The Empress, at nearby The Side, have seen drugs supplied on and near the premises, according to Northumbria Police.

Eleven people have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

A 48-hour closure notice came into force yesterday at 15:00 and an application for a three-month closure order will be heard at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court tomorrow afternoon.

Montage of Madame Koo, House of Smith, Florita's and The Empress

Severe accident: A1(M) County Durham southbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham southbound severe accident, between J63 for A167 and J62 for A690.

A1(M) County Durham - One lane blocked and heavy traffic on A1(M) southbound between J63, A167 (Chester-le-Street) and J62, A690 (Carrville), because of an accident.

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

Fog causes cancellations at Newcastle Airport

Stephanie Finnon

BBC Newcastle

Heavy fog is affecting flights in and out of Newcastle Airport today.

The service due to arrive from Heathrow at 08:45 had to be cancelled, as has the 16:20 arrival and the 09:35 and 17:10 departures.

Passengers are being advised to check the status of their flights before travelling to the airport.

Heathrow says so far about 20 flights have been cancelled, most of them domestic. The carrier British Airways said it was reducing its short-haul schedules for safety reasons.

Weather: Dry with bright spells expected

BBC Weather

It will be dry this morning with some bright spells, after a chilly start in places.

Cloudy but milder conditions will spread east across the region, bringing hill fog and occasional drizzle to the Cheviots and Pennines this afternoon as well as freshening winds.

This evening will see some clear spells across eastern areas, but generally it will be cloudy and also milder than last night. Light rain or drizzle and hill fog will develop across the Pennines.

Weather forecast, Tuesday 19 December 2017

Welcome to our live coverage

Good morning and welcome to BBC Local Live.

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

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us? You can tweet them to @BBCNewsNE, email or contact us via Look North's Facebook page.