England, United Kingdom

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  1. Drugs warning after two men die

    Police are warning a particularly dangerous batch of heroin might be in circulation after two men died in County Durham in a week.

    A 40-year-old man was found dead at a property in Ushaw Moor on 12 January, while a 31-year-old man was found dead at a house in Bearpark on 16 January.

    Durham Police say they are unable to confirm at the moment whether the incidents are linked.

  2. Video content

    Video caption: Covid-19 North East: 300 days in the coronavirus pandemic

    BBC reporter Zena Francis looks at what's happened in the north-east of England since the outbreak.

  3. Compensation scheme extended for Medomsley victims

    Stuart Whincup

    BBC Look North

    The Ministry of Justice has extended a compensation scheme for former inmates who were physically abused at Medomsley detention centre, in County Durham.

    The centre, which closed in 1988, held offenders aged between 17 and 21 who had committed relatively minor crimes.

    Durham Police has received almost 1,900 complaints from men who have said they were beaten, punched or kicked at the centre.

    In 2019 three former prison officers were found guilty of offences including assaults, wounding and misconduct at the former detention centre and two others were jailed for misconduct.

    Medomsley detention centre

    Previously compensation had only been paid when officers were convicted of committing a crime, but that's changed and now former inmates can make a claim against officers even if they haven't been convicted.

    The amount varies from £1,750 to £5,000 depending on the length of time they served and the extent of their injuries.

    No date has yet been set for when the compensation scheme will end.

    Claims for those who were sexually abused are being handled separately.

  4. Amber warning of heavy snow for North East

    There's a warning heavy snow and icy conditions could cause disruption in parts of the North East.

    The Met Office issued the amber warning for snow in Newcastle, Durham, Gateshead and Northumberland from 15:00 today until 10:00 tomorrow.

    Met Office graphic

    It predicts up to 10cm to 20cm of snowfall across parts of northern England, and Scotland.

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    Travel delays on roads and some delays and cancellations to rail and air travel are likely.

  5. Durham hospital patients pass wave one peak

    Covid patient numbers at the University Hospital of North Durham are exceeding the first peak of the pandemic, its medical director says

    Jeremy Cundall (pictured), from the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We're running at just about 200 cases in the trust compared to the peak of wave one which was 150.

    "We do have a lot of Covid wards open across the organisation but as you'd expect we've had 200 patients, so that works out at eight to nine ward occupants."

    Jeremy Cundall

    The situation means additional stress on other hospital departments, with the trust having to stand down some elective surgeries, so nursing staff can be released to other areas, although cancer treatments are continuing.

    Mr Cundall is urging people to follow the rules and save lives.

    He said: "The people who don't believe it's serious now are never going to believe it's serious and frankly anything I say to them will go in one ear and out the other.

    "From my point of view I would be appealing to the vast majority of people who do understand this is a real problem to say to them - follow the rules and that will be the way, with the vaccination, that we get out of this situation.

    "And everyone else who doesn't get it, they're never going to get it."

  6. Lengthy delays on A1 at Durham

    Problems continue on the A1M in Durham because of the weather.

    Heavy snow is causing issues with vehicles stuck.

    Some motorists have reported delays of up to two hours northbound between junctions 60 and 61 and up to an hour southbound between junction 63 and 62.

    The picture below was taken by Highways England traffic officers who warn if you have to travel please allow appropriate time for your journey and make sure you are driving to the conditions.

    Traffic on A1
  7. Hour-long delays on A1 at Durham

    Drivers are being urged to avoid the A1 around Durham as vehicles breaking down in heavy snow are causing hour-long delays.

    County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service tweeted pictures showing the road heavily coated in snow.

    Highways England said there are delays of an up to an hour southbound between junctions 63 and 62 and up to half an hour northbound between junctions 60 and 61.

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  8. North East weather: Yellow warning of snow and ice

    Snow and ice across the region is resulting in some pretty tricky driving conditions.

    With the possibility of more snow throughout this morning there have been a number of accidents on the roads, and lengthy delays for motorists.

    A yellow weather warning is in force although coastal areas don't appear to be so badly affected.

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  9. North East GP on Covid jab says 'Don't call us, we'll call you'

    BBC Radio Tees

    People in the North East are being asked not to contact their GP to ask about the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out.

    Doctors are reassuring residents in priority groups that they will be contacted as soon as their vaccination is due.

    Stockton GP David Hodges said: "I think 'don't call us, we'll call you', is a good message to get out there.

    "We are so busy with our phone lines at the moment, with different inquiries about the NHS, anything we can do to reduce that demand is a massive help to make sure the patients who most need to speak to us, can get through.

    "We are still working through the first priority group, and until we've done them we can't move on anywhere else, that's the over 80s and the care home patients who remain our priority and we haven't finished that group yet."

    Covid vaccination

    Covid vaccine: When will you be eligible?

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  10. Parents look to balance working from home and education

    BBC Newcastle

    BBC Radio Newcastle

    With schools and colleges across the north-east of England closed, many parents are facing weeks of working from home as well as organising home learning for their children.

    The prime minister said the new lockdown had to be 'tough enough' to stop the variant virus from spreading and so teaching for most pupils will go online.

    For some parents the timing of announcement was difficult with short notice of the imminent school closures.

    Paul Rickeard (pictured), director of education for Newcastle and Durham diocese, which heads more than 100 church schools, told BBC Radio Newcastle: "In all honesty I'm not completely surprised but disappointed with the timing of the announcement. You'll find out today that some schools have closed to all pupils."

    "We had partial closures yesterday and it's really hard for parents in this situation and incredibly frustrating for our teachers and our leaders in our schools."

    Paul Rickeard

    Mr Rickeard also said there had been an increase in the number of parents contacting his schools asking if they could send their children in as key workers. He's asked parents to only use school as a last resort.