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BreakingProduction paused at British Steel in Skinningrove

Richard Moss

Political Editor, BBC Look North

British Steel is pausing production at its plant in Skinningrove in Teesside for at least three weeks.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen says the company has told him there will be no job losses, with staff expected to be furloughed.

The sites at Lackenby and Darlington are not affected by the announcement.

A fall in demand at Skinningrove is said to be the crucial factor behind the move.

Coronavirus: Queen to address country over outbreak

The Queen will speak to the nation on Sunday about the coronavirus outbreak - only her fourth special address at a time of crisis during her 68-year reign.

HM The Queen
PA Media

Buckingham Palace said the message, recorded at Windsor Castle, will be broadcast on TV and radio at 20:00 BST.

The Queen records annual Christmas messages but other addresses are rare.

It comes as the number of people who died with coronavirus in the UK rose by 684 in 24 hours, latest figures show.

The Department of Health said that as of 17:00 BST on 2 April, the total number of deaths is now 3,605, up from 2,921. There are 38,168 confirmed cases.

Man charged with Tesco burglary and coronavirus breach

BBC Radio Tees

A man has been charged with burgling a Tesco Express and breaching movement rules amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The 43-year-old man from Hartlepool is accused of burgling the store on Wiltshire Way in Hartlepool in the early hours of Tuesday, Cleveland Police said.

The man is charged with burglary, contravening a requirement as to restriction of movement during emergency period and possession of a class B drug.

He is due to appear at Teesside Magistrates Court today.

MPs back newspaper editor's call for help

More than 20 of Yorkshire's MPs have signed a letter to the chancellor supporting calls for a business rate holiday for news publishers.

The Yorkshire Post file image
BBC

Earlier this week, Yorkshire Post editor James Mitchinson wrote to MPs across Yorkshire asking for their help in securing tax relief to help cover a drop in revenue linked to the coronavirus outbreak.

He says that advertising income has dropped by 80% with staff being asked to take a pay cut to keep the newspaper running because of the virus.

JPI Media, that runs newspapers such as the Yorkshire Post and the Sheffield Star, has furloughed a "significant number " of staff, he wrote in the letter.

Now, 23 MPs have responded by co-signing a letter to Rishi Sunak MP asking for business rate holidays for news publishers as well using the newspapers to run a public information campaign.

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Thursday's forecast for Yorkshire

We're in for a mix of cloud and sunny spells this morning but that cloud will tend to develop through the course of the day leading to a mainly cloudy afternoon with the chance of the odd shower in places.

Tonight it'll stay cloudy with a possibility of showers but things should clear as the night progresses.

We should see top temperatures of about 9C today:

weather graphic
BBC

This little piggy 'stayed at home' message to drivers

A giant pig is turning the heads of drivers in North Yorkshire and encouraging people to stay at home.

Straw pig sculpture
Emma Sanderson

The straw sculpture is being used to urge people to heed the government's message to stay inside during the coronavirus pandemic

The huge smiling pig at the side of the A684 outside Northallerton also bears a message of thanks to NHS staff and all key workers.

Police warning after driver clocked doing 132mph

Police are urging motorists to obey the laws of the road after a driver was seen doing more than 130mph on a North Yorkshire road.

A police officer's jacket
BBC

The driver was seen by a safety camera operator on the A168 travelling at 132mph earlier this week.

North Yorkshire Police say it comes amid a rise in dangerous, highly-excessive speeds as roads get quieter because of the coronavirus lockdown.

A driver was stopped by another force a short time later and was reported on suspicion of exceeding the speed limit.

Andy Tooke, of North Yorkshire Police, said: "Some of the speeds we have recorded as the roads have got quieter are frankly ridiculous, especially at a time when people have been asked to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.

"It’s unbelievable that some motorists are behaving in a way that puts more lives in danger at a time when NHS and emergency service resources are so vital.

"We will not tolerate North Yorkshire being used as a racetrack, and we are continuing to target those who put lives at risk by driving illegally."

Motorist drove 60 miles to 'get some fresh air'

A motorist who drove 60 miles to a North Yorkshire beauty spot to "get some fresh air" is among a number of drivers stopped at vehicle checkpoints in the county.

Vehicle checks in North Yorkshire
Getty Images

North Yorkshire Police introduced the checkpoints a week ago to determine if drivers' journeys are essential after government guidelines were introduced to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The previous weekend the county saw huge numbers of visitors flock to local beauty spots and beaches.

The force no fines have been issued to motorists and that the roads around the county have become much quieter.

However, it said as well as the driver in search of fresh air another motorist had been stopped after travelling from Merseyside. Both drivers were stopped towards the start of the operation.

A force spokeswoman said: "The majority of people appreciate why we are doing this – to protect the NHS and save lives in what is an unprecedented public health emergency."

Help for domestic abuse sufferers

BBC Radio Tees

Cleveland Police is reminding domestic abuse victims frightened of being overheard that they can call 999 and then cough or dial 55.

It follows concerns that from a domestic abuse charity in Hartlepool that some may be living in a "pressure cooker" during the lockdown thinking services are closed.

The Harbour service is stressing that support is available.

My Sister's Place in Middlesbrough also says there's been a "worrying" drop in calls for help, with only half the normal number of requests last week.

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Newspaper editor asks MPs to help titles survive

The editor of the Yorkshire Post has written to MPs to ask the government to help them "survive" as the coronavirus outbreak has seen income drop.

The Yorkshire Post and the Star file picture
BBC

James Mitchinson wrote the letter to MPs across Yorkshire asking for a business rate holiday for news publishers.

He says that advertising income has dropped by 80% with staff being asked to take a pay cut to keep the newspaper running because of the virus.

JPI Media, that runs newspapers such as the Yorkshire Post and the Sheffield Star, has furloughed a "significant number " of staff, he wrote in the letter.

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Mr Mitchinson asked MPs to urge the government to commit to investing in a significant local media public information campaign, as well as a business rates break.

He said: "I believe local newspapers are so much more to communities than just a newspaper.

"I hope you can help us survive".

Police issue vehicle security warning after thefts

BBC Radio Tees

Police in Middlesbrough are urging people to remember to keep their vehicles secure and valuables out of sight after five reports of theft or suspicious activity since Sunday.

In the early hours of yesterday, a BMW was reported stolen from Nunthorpe and found set alight in Middlesbrough.

On Monday, police received a report of a Range Rover stolen from Acklam. They were also called to a report of a man suspected to be trying car doors in Emerson Avenue in the Linthorpe area. No thefts were reported but officers attended and searched the area.

Officers also received reports of an attempted theft overnight in Linthorpe on Sunday where a parked Range Rover Evoque was damaged. The vehicle’s window was smashed and the car ransacked but nothing was taken. A car rental business in North Ormesby reported damage to three parked vehicles, suspected to be an attempted theft. Windows were smashed on two vehicles and parts were taken from a third.

Insp Darren Birkett said: “In line with advice for us all to stay home and stay safe most people are not using their cars. When it is safe to do so, in line with the guidance, please ensure your car is locked and valuables are not on display. Taking simple steps to deter opportunistic thieves is one less thing to worry about at this time."

Watch: Police patrol car 'stay at home' message

Police in North Yorkshire say they're patrolling the county's roads and spreading the message to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

Digital message displays have been installed in the rear of some cars urging people to "Stay at home and save lives".

More about coronavirus:

Protective equipment stolen from ambulance

BBC Radio Tees

Person protective equipment (PPE) was stolen from an ambulance on a call out in Middlesbrough on Monday, police have said.

The theft occurred as the ambulance crew attended emergency calls in Middlesbrough’s Newport area.

The items reported stolen were provided to the ambulance crew to keep them safe as they provide life-saving treatment to patients, a Cleveland Police spokeswoman said.

Ambulance
Google

Ch Supt Thom McLoughlin said: “The theft of equipment from frontline ambulance staff is despicable. Our emergency service colleagues continue to assist those in most need and it is disgraceful they were targeted in this way."

The North East Ambulance Service said it was one of four thefts of such equipment across the region in the past week.

Handgun and drugs recovered from stopped car

A handgun and drugs were recovered from a car which was stopped by police in Middlesbrough.

Three men were arrested when the VW Golf was pulled over on Marton Road on Tuesday afternoon.

Officers searched the vehicle and the men, recovering a handgun and suspected class A and B drugs, believed to be cocaine and cannabis.

A 17-year-old male was arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm without a certificate.

An 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm without a certificate and possession with intent to supply class A drugs.

A 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of driving a motor vehicle with a proportion of specified controlled drug above limit, possession of a firearm without a certificate and possession of class B drugs.

All three remain in custody

Wednesday's weather forecast for Yorkshire

It'll be mostly cloudy today with a scattering of showers, though we may see a few bright spells

Tonight will remain cloudy tonight with further showers pushing in at times on a moderate westerly breeze.

weather
BBC

'Don't let the criminals succeed'

Police are urging the public not to let their guard down as "despicable criminals" try to "exploit people" during the coronavirus outbreak.

Durham, Cleveland and Northumbria police forces have teamed up to investigate serious and organised crime and have seen a "broad spectrum of reports" of scams going round.

One in Northumbria and Durham involves an NHS text scam in which people are asked to share personal details while in Cleveland rogue traders have been selling an anti-bacterial spray for private and commercial driveways.

Det Ch Supt Alastair Simpson said: “It’s absolutely abhorrent that there are people out there who are using Covid-19 as an opportunity to make money.

“These fraudsters know people are frightened and are hoping to catch them when their guard is down so don’t let them succeed.

"Don’t click on links or attachments contained in emails or text messages. Don’t give out personal or financial information. Only buy from reputable websites and use a credit card where possible to afford extra insurance. Challenge any cold-callers and never give out your personal information.”

Data from the City of London Police, the national leads for Fraud, revealed that across the country there have been a total of 105 Coronavirus related reports since February 9 – with losses totalling nearly £970k. Many more reports will have gone unreported.

Council closes countryside car parks

BBC Radio Tees

Countryside and woodland car parks have been closed by Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council to deter people from breaching the government's social-distancing orders amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The council, which last week shut its coastal car parks, has now closed the car parks at Guisborough Forest and Walkway, Flatts Lane Country Park, Errington Woods, Foxrush Farm, and the council-owned car parks in Newton Under Roseberry and Cowbar.

Wayne Davies, cabinet member for economic development, said: “Similar to our coastal areas, people are gathering at our countryside locations to carry out their daily exercise, while not keeping in line with Government advice on social distancing.

“We have therefore taken the decision to close these car parks in support of Government instructions to keep people safe.

“We know that being indoors for long periods of time can be difficult, but it is absolutely vital that we do all we can to protect each other and to do our best to stop the virus spreading."

Police chief defends checkpoint numbers in North Yorkshire

The Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police has defended the number of checkpoints her force is operating to make sure people only make essential journeys during the coronavirus outbreak.

Checkpoint in York
BBC

There's been criticism some forces have been heavy handed, with the former Supreme Court judge, Lord Sumption, claiming Britain is in danger of being turned into a police state.

Lisa Winward, who leads the North Yorkshire force, says: "We have such a vast county to cover and found the weekend before last vast amounts of people heading out to beauty spots in the lovely weather.

"Therefore it was absolutely proportionate and appropriate for us to stop people, ask them where they were going and remind them of what the guidance says."

More about coronavirus

Middlesbrough surgeon joins coronavirus frontline as a nurse

Consultant thoracic surgeon Joel Dunning, who works at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, is helping out as a nurse now that elective surgery has been cancelled.

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Tuesday's forecast for Yorkshire

It'll be mostly cloudy today with perhaps the occasional spot of rain and a few brighter interludes at times.

Tonight we will see plenty more cloud with patchy light rain in places.

Weather graphic
BBC

Firefighters call for public arson help

BBC Radio Tees

Cleveland Fire Brigade is calling for public support to tackle arson attacks following a large fire at a farm in Hart Village in Hartlepool.

The blaze broke out yesterday prompting the brigade to speak out about "mindless arson" at a time when people are being told to stay at home to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Steve Johnson, Area Manager Prevention, said: “It is so disappointing to see that at a time when we all need to be coming together to support one another we still have people committing crimes and ruining our local communities.

Fire damaged barn
Cleveland Fire Brigade

We need the public’s support, now more than ever. Our resources need to be available to respond to any fires in the home and support with humanitarian aid for vulnerable people in our communities. We all need to work together to tackle arson – it is everyone’s problem.”

The public can help tackle arson by eliminating potential sources of fuel by:

  • Putting wheelie bins out only on the day if collection and bring them in as soon as possible
  • Storing bins and refuse securely and away from property
  • Report issues such as fly-tipping in your area
  • Report incidents anonymously to Crimestoppers 0800 555 111

Latest figures show there were 3,656 deliberate fires across Cleveland in 2018-19, costing the local communities £17.9m. The fires were predominately rubbish and refuse, grassland and vehicles.

North Yorkshire MP Nigel Adams 'recovering' from virus

North Yorkshire MP and foreign office minister Nigel Adams says he's on the road to recovery after experiencing coronavirus symptoms.

Nigel Adams
UK Parliament

However, the Conservative MP for Selby and Ainsty say he was kept busy during isolation.

"My Foreign Office drivers used to bring a ministerial box every night and leave it at the door," he said.

"The work didn't stop, which in a way was a bit of a blessing because it kept me active."

Air Ambulance staff to return to frontline NHS roles

Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA) is scaling back its service to allow its crew members to return to their jobs and help in the fight against coronavirus.

Air Ambulance
Yorkshire Air Ambulance

In a statement the YAA said it was re-deploying staff to ensure Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) and the NHS could provide as much frontline care as possible.

As a result it said one of its two helicopters would be temporarily grounded.

Peter Sunderland, YAA Chairman said: “In the midst of this unprecedented crisis, the YAA wants to do everything it can to support the NHS and YAS in their fight against COVID-19. It is important that everyone does their part, including us.

“As the cases of COVID-19 rise, it also increases the pressure on the NHS. We know that YAS anticipates a significant increase in 999 calls across the region and by redeploying our Doctors and a small number of our Critical Care Paramedics back to their respective hospitals or ambulance operations, we can do our bit to support the frontline effort.”

He said the outbreak had also resulted in a "huge downturn in fundraising incomes", saying that as a result of cancelled events the service would lose an estimated £400,000.

Paramedics' protective equipment stolen

Protective equipment for paramedics has been stolen from ambulances four times in the past week, the North East Ambulance Service has said.

A spokeswoman said the items were stolen while crews were treating patients in Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

The equipment is used by healthcare workers to protect themselves from infection from coronavirus and it also keeps them from infecting other vulnerable patients.

Head of risk at North East Ambulance Service, Alan Gallagher, said: “To hear about such selfish acts of theft is incredibly disappointing and we will not tolerate it. The impacts of such acts could severely impede our combined efforts to keep people safe. Those responsible should consider the wider impact that their actions could have on the community and their own emergency care, should they ever need it.

“As a result, all vehicles will now carry minimal stocks.

“All of our vehicles are fitted with CCTV and anyone attempting to board one whilst the crew are treating patients is likely to be caught on camera and the footage provided as evidence to the police.”

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Sixteen coronavirus penalties issued

BBC Radio Tees

Cleveland Police has updated the number of fixed penalty notices issued over the weekend from eight to 16.

A force spokeswoman said most of the notices were for people making unnecessary vehicle journeys with car journeys to carry out exercise or walk a dog "not classed as essential".

Ch Supt Thom McLoughlin, said: “Cleveland Police will continue to take an ‘educate and persuade’ approach when using the new policing powers, however, it is important that we enforce fixed penalty notices to the people who are not complying with the rules.

“Restrictions for travelling have been made very clear and people should only be travelling when essential. This includes going to work where it cannot be done from home, shopping for food or medical supplies or helping a relative."

The new powers mean officers can:

  • Ensure parents are doing all they can to stop their children breaking the rules
  • Issue a £60 fixed penalty
  • Issue a £120 fixed penalty for second-time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence

Anyone who does not pay can be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

Cars of hospital staff broken into

Philippa Goymer

Broadcast Journalist

A number of cars were broken into over the weekend while parked at James Cook Hospital - including the cars of members of staff.

Cleveland Police say they’ve arrested a 31-year-old man on suspicion of affray and four counts of attempted theft from a motor vehicle

Officers were called at 14:30 yesterday after security staff approached a male who then reportedly became aggressive towards them.

Eight coronavirus penalties issued

BBC Radio Tees

Cleveland Police issued eight fixed penalty notices over the weekend to people ignoring the government's social isolating orders amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A force spokesman said it was taking an "educate and persuade" approach with notices used as a "last-resort for non compliance".

Under the powers given to police, no-one will be allowed to leave their home "without reasonable excuse" and officers can order people to go home, leave an area or disperse.

Ch Insp Scott Cowie said: “Whilst we now have the powers to enforce protection in order to help save lives and protect our NHS, policing by consent is at the heart of our public service. We will continue to encourage and support our communities to comply with the restrictions, but it’s right that our officers are now able to enforce against those who disregard these measures and put others at risk.

“We are urging people to adhere to the government’s guidelines and not to make unnecessary journeys. Where people are going out to exercise, they should do this in the local vicinity of their home and not travel across the county.”

Ambulance service gives thanks for support

The North East Ambulance Service has given thanks to those supporting it during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Eight fixed penalty notices issued during lockdown

Kristie Kinghorn

BBC Newcastle

Eight fixed penalty notices have been issued by Cleveland Police in the past two days to people not following measures enforced during the coronavirus outbreak.

The force says it continues to take an "educate and persuade" approach, using the new legislation as a "last resort" for non-compliance.

Community safety chief inspector Scott Cowie said: “We will continue to encourage and support our communities to comply with the restrictions, but it’s right that our officers are now able to enforce against those who disregard these measures and put others at risk."

Driver 'collecting friend' from fictional university

David McKenna

Reporter, BBC News Online

Whitby Abbey
BBC

A driver who was stopped by police in the early hours claimed he was collecting a friend from the “university in Whitby”, officers said.

The town is famous for its links to Dracula and its abbey overlooking the bay, but as far as North Yorkshire Police is aware there is no university there.

The force, which has stepped up patrols in a bid to stop people travelling to the county during the coronavirus lockdown, said the driver failed a drugs test and was arrested.

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'Stay away' warning for Yorkshire coast

David McKenna

BBC Yorks & Lincs News

Scarborough Borough Council is urging people to stay away from the coast this weekend.

It comes after a number of local resorts saw a surge in visitors last Saturday and Sunday.

The authority said people should stay at home and do their bit to help "protect the NHS and save lives" during the coronavirus outbreak.

Liz Colling, deputy leader of Scarborough Borough Council, said: "This is a time of national emergency and I am urging everyone to do what is right for our country. Stay away from the Yorkshire coast and stay at home this weekend and for the foreseeable future."

Parking fees 'relaxed' to help key workers

Parking charges in North Yorkshire are being "relaxed" in an effort to support key workers and people who are working from home or self-isolating.

Wheel clamp
Bernd Settnik/DPA/PA Images

The new rules will apply to on-street and off-street parking, according to North Yorkshire County council.

Instead, enforcement will focus on drivers who park in an "unsafe or obstructive way."

County councillor Don Mackenzie said: “We’re taking this approach to help key workers, such as health and social care staff, to park as near as possible to their place of work and to exempt them of any parking charges or time restrictions."

"The move will also help residents to park outside their homes while working from home or self-isolating.”

Mr Mackenzie added: “Despite these relaxations, motorists must still adhere to parking restrictions such as double yellow lines and ensure they do not cause an obstruction or create a hazard."

Five more people die with coronavirus in Yorkshire

A further five people have died at hospitals in Yorkshire after testing positive for coronavirus, according to the latest NHS figures.

A NHS sign
BBC

In total 759 people diagnosed with the virus have now died across the UK, with 14,579 people testing positive for the disease.

The deaths happened in hospitals in Doncaster and Bassetlaw, Sheffield, York and at a Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust.

Kirsten Major, from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said since 17 March ten people have died at hospitals in the city.

"The families of these patients have been informed and our thoughts and condolences are with them at this very difficult time."

Yorkshire people stuck abroad call for government help

Corinne Wheatley

BBC Look North

Tourists from Yorkshire stranded abroad due to coronavirus have been telling Look North that they are desperate to get home - and are calling for extra help from the UK government.

The foreign secretary Dominic Raab said earlier this week that any Britons on holiday should consider travelling home now while they still can. But a number of travellers have told us they've unable to get any flights and some are running out of money

Warning to 'stay away from beauty spots' this weekend

People are being warned to stay away from Yorkshire beauty spots this weekend.

Yorkshire Dales sign
Peter McDermott/Geograph

Police in North Yorkshire are calling on people not to travel to popular countryside locations for exercise or any other non-essential reason.

Chf Insp Ed Haywood-Noble, said: “In particular, do not arrange to meet up with family or friends - take your exercise near your home, with members of your household instead.

“And whether you’re in a car or on a motorcycle, do not go out ‘just for a drive’ or a ride in the countryside - if you break down, or have a crash you're putting lives at risk."

This weekend, officers will be stopping vehicles and asking motorists where they're going, why they are going there, and reminding them of the message to "stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives".