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Hospital 'abused' vulnerable patients in Durham, BBC's Panorama reveals
Undercover BBC filming shows staff swearing, mocking and taunting patients with learning disabilities.

Twelve arrests after Stockton street disturbance

Twelve men have now been arrested following a disturbance in Stockton.

It happened outside the Queen Victoria public house on Yarm Road on Tuesday lunchtime.

Cleveland Police said they are being held on suspicion of violent disorder.

Inquiries are ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the force.

Queen Victoria public house

Five arrests in Stockton following disturbance outside of pub

Five men have been arrested in relation to an incident in Stockton which is reportedly linked to the funeral of a member of the Travelling community.

Tom Harker, 68, was killed in a five-vehicle crash on the A66 near Sadberge last month.

Tom Harker
Family Photo

Officers attended a disturbance outside the Queen Victoria Public House at around 13:15 this afternoon, with some outlets reporting that a car was attacked by men with machetes before the arrival of the cortege.

Police could not confirm what the men had been arrested on suspicion of.

Five men arrested after disturbance in Stockton

Five men have been arrested in connection with an incident on Yarm Road, Stockton.

Queen Victoria

Police say a disturbance took place outside the Queen Victoria Public House at 13:15.

Officers remain in the area.

We are asking Cleveland Police what the men have been held on suspicion of.

Bistro bar and restaurant to replace Billingham office block

Plans have been submitted to Stockton Council for a new bistro bar and restaurant in Billingham.

AES Digital Solutions Building Billingham

The eatery would take over AES Digital Solutions off Belasis Avenue in the town.

Planning documents suggest that opening hours on the site will be from 10:00 until 23:00 seven-days-a-week, and employ six staff members.

A decision is expected to be made on the proposals in July.

More than 4,000 extra pupils forecast for Teesside

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Pupils in a classroom
Getty Images

More than 4,000 extra pupils are forecast to join Teesside schools in the next five years.

New figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show the number of state school students across Middlesbrough, Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland is set to jump from 69,021 in 2017/18 to 73,313 in September 2022.

In Middlesbrough 108 pupils were left without a year seven secondary school place this September due to increased demand.

However, the Middlesbrough Council said it had found places for all the pupils last month on the back of renewed efforts.

Teesside’s secondary schools look set to bear the brunt of the rising student population, with pupil numbers forecast to increase by 4,029 over the next five years.

Meanwhile, primary schools are likely to see an increase of 263 students by 2022/23 – spread between 163 schools.

Rising demand on school places has seen Redcar and Cleveland Council agree to spend £740,000 on an extra classroom at Belmont Primary School, in Guisborough.

The Outwood Grange Academies Trust is lining up a 900 place free school in Middlehaven to address the shortage of places.

Middlesbrough Council has also agreed to sell land off Ladgate Lane last year for a special school which is forecast to be ready in September 2021.

Regional efforts to try and meet demand and drive up standards were announced in the North-East last year through a £24m “Opportunity North East” initiative.

Half of this government fund was earmarked go into recruitment and retention of staff in the region.

But there have been stark warnings sounded by Tees Valley councillors and unions alike about the number of teachers leaving the profession and shortcomings in funding.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “This government is undertaking the biggest expansion in school places in two generations – and recent statistics show we are well on track to create one million places nationwide in the decade to 2020.”

Closure of Debenhams stores confirmed

BBC Tees

It's been confirmed that Debenhams will close at least 22 stores - including its branch in Stockton.

Creditors have approved the plans to start the restructuring and impose big rent reductions.

The struggling department store chain has what's known as a company voluntary arrangement, a form of insolvency to cut its costs.


Man seriously hurt on rail tracks

A 35-year-old man is in serious condition after he was injured on rail tracks in Stockton.

It happened just before 16.00 on Wednesday.

British Transport Police have said they are not treating the incident as suspicious.

Train services between Darlington and Middlesbrough were blocked until 17.30 yesterday as emergency services attended the scene.

Cost of 'pauper' funerals revealed

Local Democracy Reporting Service

More than £120,000 has been spent on “pauper funerals” on Teesside.

Middlesbrough Council spent the most with £68,000 on 67 funerals with Stockton Council next with almost £35,000 for 42 services.

Redcar and Cleveland Council carried out the least in total – its 17 funerals coming to £21,000.

Authorities have a legal duty to arrange the funeral of any person who has died or has been found dead in the borough area where no arrangements have been made.

The services are considered as a last resort when no family can be found – or a family is unable to immediately cover the cost.

Eston Cemetery

Council buys shopping centre for £7m

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Alex Metcalfe

A high street shopping centre in Stockton has been snapped up by the council for a reported £7m.

Councillors agreed to buy up Wellington Square shopping precinct, off Stockton High Street, in December – but details have only now been released due to the “commercially sensitive” nature of the negotiations.

The deal for the “significant town centre site” includes Debenhams' ground floor and 200,000 sq ft of floor space across 50 units, but not the former Marks & Spencer store.

It will be managed on the council's behalf by Knight Frank, which runs the nearby Castlegate Shopping Centre.

Councillor Nigel Cooke, former cabinet member for regeneration and housing, said: "It’s been a tumultuous time for Stockton High Street.

"The loss of Marks and Spencer last year and the impending closure of Debenhams in 2020 typify the struggles of the centre.

"But the council is borrowing £30m in an effort to step in and buy up sites in borough town centres to turn them around. And this purchase is banking on making money for the council through retail rents.

“Our message to traders is that it’s very much business as usual."

Wellington Square

Steph Houghton named in England squad

Durham's very own Steph Houghton has been named in the England squad for the World Cup in France.

She's already played more than 100 times for the Lionesses.

View more on twitter

Police issue advice after spate of car thefts

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

Cleveland Police are issuing a warning after a spate of car thefts in the last 24 hours.

Ten vehicles in the Grangefield, Hartburn and Newtown areas of Stockton have been targeted, including some taxis.

Items including dash cams were stolen.

The force has issued the advice to prevent further thefts including not leaving things in vehicles, removing all signs of sat navs and removing the ignition key whenever you are not in the vehicle.

Labour loses control of Stockton-on-Tees Council

Labour has lost its majority on Stockton-on-Tees Council following yesterday's election, leaving the council under no overall control. The party lost eight seats.

A council with 'no overall control' means that no one party controls a majority of seats, so isn't able to put policies through without support from other parties.

The leader of the council will be decided at a later date, but typically comes from the party with the most councillors. 16 independent candidates won seats, six more than they won last time.

The Conservative Party won 14 seats, one more than it won last time. The Liberal Democrats won two seats, one more than they won last time.

A full breakdown of results for Stockton-on-Tees will be available from the council website, and for full national results use the BBC's live results service.

This story has been generated using BBC election data and some automation.

Labour lose majority on Stockton-on-Tees Council

BreakingLabour lose control of Stockton council

Local Democracy Reporting Service

There are three seats left to confirm and Labour only have 21 seats.

So there will be no overall control at Stockton Council.

Lib Dems take Labour seat in Stockton

The Liberal Democrats have gained a seat from Labour on Stockton Council.

View more on twitter

'Stolen' handbag owner sought

BBC Tees

Police are trying to trace the owner of a handbag which they believe has been stolen.

The Kurt Geiger bag was recovered by Cleveland Police officers in Stockton town centre yesterday.

Cleveland Police

A 38-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of theft and has been released while investigations continue.

How will Stockton deal with Debenhams closure?

The Stockton branch of Debenhams was last week named as one of 22 shops to close as part of a plan by new owners to revive the department store chain.

So just what will happen to such a large empty building?

As our colleagues at BBC Business have detailed, the town is hoping to revitalise its town centre and one project has involved converting a former department store into a "start-up incubator".

The Enterprise Arcade rents spaces to independent businesses and doesn't charge them business rates. Its 16 tenants range from independent jewellers to cafes.

You can read the full story if you click here.

Stockton's Enterprise Arcade, formerly home to a department store
Enterprise Arcade

'Please mend my broken heart'

BBC Newcastle

A County Durham woman is appealing to the NHS to fund a vital operation.

Jessica Sadler was born with a hole in her heart, which was only found when she collapsed with a stroke on her 24th birthday.

Jessica, of Sedgefield, says she's been told NHS England won't pay for her operation even though it's available in other parts of the UK. Without it, there's a risk she could have another stroke.

The organisation says it's consulting on whether there's enough evidence to offer this type of operation in the future.

One dead in five-vehicle crash

One person has died after five vehicles crashed on the A66 this morning.

The accident happened at 07:45 on Stockton Road towards Saberge.

The road remains closed.

Debenhams store in Stockton to close

Getty Images

Debenhams store in Stockton will close in 2020.

The measure is part of plans to revive the retailer.

Debenhams plans to close 50 shops in total, starting next year.

The first wave of closures will see 22 stores shut, affecting 1,200 staff.

Local elections: What are they all about?

The local elections are taking place on 2 May.

We'll get to choose who decides on things like where houses get built, who runs the buses and which pubs get late licences.

But last year only one in three people went to the polls. So what is the vote all about?

Reporter Jennifer Meierhans explains

Local elections: What are they all about?

Teesside jail says use of the drug Spice is decreasing

BBC Tees

The governor of a Teesside jail says there's been a significant drop in the number of prisoners testing positive for the drug Spice.

In 2017, staff at Holme House prison in Stockton were exposed to the drug 140 times - more than four times as often as any other medium security jail in the country.

Five kilos of the drug were discovered at the jail during the same year, hidden in cereal boxes.

Governor Chris Dyer says they were averaging about 30% of tests for the drug coming back positive and that is now down to about 10%.

"So a significant reduction that's played out in a reduction in violence and self harm within the prison," he says.

"We've put in a lot of security but we've also put in a lot of the demand reduction and the continuity of care element for people going out of the prison."

We need more support, former inmate warns

BBC Tees

An ex-inmate at Holme House Prison, near Stockton, has told BBC Tees about some of the problems people face when leaving the jail.

Bryn was serving a two-year sentence and beat a £300-a-day cocaine habit while living in House Block Six of the prison. He said more support needs to be given to inmates when they finish their sentences.

He told us: "One of the lads has said he's got a jobcentre appointment next Tuesday. He's got nowhere to go and £46.

"He said, basically, he'll be out robbing. He said he would be doing drugs so come tomorrow he's going to have nothing left and be robbing again and be in the same situation."

In December 2017, inspectors found the prison had a serious drug problem.

Holme House

The ultimate fan with a microphone

Composite of Ali and the five items

If you missed it yesterday, here's a piece well worth reading as the life of the man who voiced Boro matches for more than 30 years is told through five items.

Composite of Ali and the five items

The ultimate fan with a microphone

The life of the man who voiced Boro matches for more than 30 years is told through five items.

Read more