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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Our live coverage across the day

    Our live updates here have finished for the day.

    You can also stay up to date on BBC News online, BBC Newcastle, BBC Tees and Look North.

    We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00 on Monday with more live updates.

    In the meantime you can contact us with news or photos via Facebook or Twitter.

  2. 'Sophisticated and organised' gang sought over burglaries

    Detectives investigating a spate of high-value burglaries have released CCTV images of men who might hold important information.

    Homes across Dinnington, Brunton Drive, Heaton and Gateshead have been targeted in the past week and due to the "similar nature" of all the incidents they are being treated as linked.

    During the latest, in Fenham last night, thieves made off with an estimated £30,000 in jewellery.

    Police believe the total value of items stolen during all the burglaries is nearly £100,000.

    CCTV image
    CCTV image

    Det Ch Insp Paul Knox said: "This is very serious offending by a sophisticated and organised criminal gang.

    "They have been prolific over the past week and there will be a number of people who would have crossed paths with this gang.

    "They aren't from the area, they have Irish accents and it is likely they are staying in some sort of hotel or caravan park.

    “We think they could be staying in South Tyneside, and travelling up to the Newcastle area, so we need people across the North East to think about whether they could have encountered these men."

  3. Bishop of Durham criticises Home Office over asylum bible reference

    The Bishop of Durham has criticised the Home Office after it quoted the Bible to question an asylum seeker's claim that he converted to Christianity because it is a peaceful religion.

    A letter from the department cited passages from Leviticus, Matthew and Exodus, and said the Book of Revelation is "filled with imagery of revenge, destruction, death and violence".

    The refusal notice, sent to an Iranian national, added: "These examples are inconsistent with your claim that you converted to Christianity after discovering it is a 'peaceful' religion."

    The Rt Rev Paul Butler (pictured), said the case shows the Home Office must radically change its understanding of all religious beliefs.

    Bishop of Durham

    He said: "I am extremely concerned that a government department could determine the future of another human being based on such a profound misunderstanding of the texts and practices of faith communities.

    "To use extracts from the Book of Revelation to argue that Christianity is a violent religion is like arguing that a government report on the impact of climate change is advocating drought and flooding."

    Mr Butler, who leads for the bishops in the House of Lords on matters relating to immigration, asylum and refugees, welcomed the Home Office's acknowledgement that the letter was not in accordance with its policy.

    But he added: "The fact that these comments were made at all suggests that the problem goes deeper than a lack of religious literacy among individual civil servants and indicates that the management structures and ethos of the Home Office, when dealing with cases with a religious dimension, need serious overhaul."

    A Home Office spokeswoman said: "This letter is not in accordance with our policy approach to claims based on religious persecution, including conversions to a particular faith."

  4. £10,000 reward after theft of toxic chemicals

    A reward of £10,000 is on offer after drums containing potentially lethal toxic chemicals were stolen from a site in Billingham.

    Ten sealed blue drums (similar to that pictured) with about 60kg of powder containing metal oxides were taken from an internal building on the company’s site.

    The theft took place between 10 February and 11 February.

    Chemical drum

    When correctly stored in sealed pouches or vials and within drums there is no risk of exposure.

    But it is potentially lethal exposed to the skin, inhalation or ingested in sufficient quantities.

    A police spokesman said: "Should members of the public come into contact with this powder, the advice is to flush skin immediately with plenty of water, seek medical attention and inform Cleveland Police immediately.

    "A reward of up to £10,000 is available for information leading to the return of the materials or the conviction of those responsible."

    The containers were clearly labelled as hazardous, he added.

    Police say they want to trace a white transit type van with a non-functioning brake light on its driver’s side seen on CCTV at the time of the break in.

  5. Two thirds of anti-social behaviour in Hartlepool 'committed by adults'

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Figures from the Safer Hartlepool Partnership show adults made up two-thirds of anti-social behaviour in the area.

    Youth related anti-social behaviour made up only a third of reports with the number of incidents dropping by 32% in 2018.

    Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher said: "I did an interview recently with some pupils at High Tunstall and the perception of what they get told is that children are responsible for anti-social behaviour.

    "I think what people tell our children and young people is very different to reality."

    Hartlepool Council poster
  6. Video content

    Video caption: Joan Hoggett death: Daughter tells of impact of shop stabbing

    The daughter of a woman stabbed to death in an unprovoked attack says she has many different emotions in one day.

  7. BreakingHospital order for man who stabbed shop worker

    Jonathan Swingler

    Video Journalist

    A man who stabbed a 62-year-old woman to death in Sunderland has been detained indefinitely under the mental health act.

    Joan Hoggett was attacked by Ethan Mountain, who had entered the shop where she worked wearing a mask and carrying a bag of weapons including a machete, a hammer and knives.

    The 19-year-old was initially standing trial for murder but last week the prosecution agreed with the defence that the charge against him should be dropped.

    Mountain had previously admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

    The court had heard that Mountain suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had spent three months being treated in a psychiatric hospital in 2017.

    He later admitted lying to medics in order to be released.

    Ethan Mountain
  8. Arrest after cannabis and 'crack cocaine' haul

    A man has been arrested and a haul of suspected crack cocaine and cannabis seized after a raid at a house in Chopwell.

    Officers visited the property in a bid to locate a man wanted in connection with an assault.

    However, on arrival they found what appeared to be a small cannabis farm along with suspected crack cocaine.

    They have been removed for forensic testing, and a 29-year-year-old man arrested on suspicion of drugs offences.

    Drug seizure

    Sgt Warren Sturrock, of Northumbria Police, described it as a "great bit of work by officers who had attended the address for unrelated matters and quickly found the haul of illegal substances".

    He said: This is a significant seizure and we believe the street value of the drugs are far in excess of £10,000."

    Cannabis farm
  9. Video content

    Video caption: Olivia Fairclough rides again after being crushed by horse

    Three years after a riding accident left her paralysed from the waist down, Olivia Fairclough is back on a horse.

  10. Motorbike rider 'drives deliberately' at police officer

    A police officer was assaulted by a man on a motorbike in Stockton.

    The PC spotted a rider travelling dangerously along Yarm Road on Wednesday evening, and followed him in a police car to Springholme Terrace.

    Once he exited the vehicle the motorbike was driven directly at him, causing him to fall to the floor, suffering bruising and swelling.

    Ch Supt Alison Jackson said: “Assaulting an officer is completely unacceptable and this behaviour will not be tolerated.

    "Every effort will be made to bring the person responsible to justice."

  11. Turkish baths revamp enters final stage

    Stephanie Finnon

    BBC Newcastle

    The renovation of Newcastle's Turkish baths at the City Pool has entered the final stages before the reopening later this year.

    The £7.5m scheme to modernise the baths was launched two years ago by leisure charity Fusion Lifestyle.

    The 91-year-old building was threatened with closure in 2014, but it is is due to reopen in the summer with a new gym, pool, Turkish baths, spa and cafe.

    Newcastle Turkish baths