County Durham care homes: Protest over closure threat

Protesters outside Durham County Hall Demonstrations have already taken place outside County Hall in Durham

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A demonstration is taking place in County Durham over plans which could see the closure of five local authority-run care homes.

Durham County Council is consulting over their future as part of moves to save £222m by 2017.

About 50 permanent residents live in the homes, with union bosses claiming 170 jobs will be lost if they close.

Campaigners have gathered outside one of the homes in Stanhope, near Consett.

A three month-consultation about the homes, which also include those in Belmont, Ferryhill, Peterlee and Chester-le-Street, is under way.

'Circle of love'

It includes three options - keeping and repairing the homes, closing them and moving residents to independent homes or seeing if other organisations might take over their management.

Michelle Robson, whose father-in-law Donald is a resident of Newton House in Stanhope, said: "We want to bring this issue to the attention of the wider community in Weardale. I think a lot of people are behind what we're doing already.

"My idea was to hold hands around the building and form a circle of love and protection around our beloved Newtown House, because that's what this place is."

Durham County Council stressed decisions about the future of its residential care services would not be taken until after the consultation had ended in the new year.

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    That's all from BBC Local Live in the north east for the day. The service returns from 08:00 on Friday with all your news, travel, weather and sport.

    More tests on man's body 17:56:

    A post-mortem examination into the death of a 39-year-old man in Hartlepool has proved inconclusive, Cleveland Police say.

    The man was found at a house on Alderson Street on Wednesday afternoon.

    A spokeswoman said: "Further tests will now be carried out. The death is being treated as unexplained at this time."

    Youth jobs 'success' 17:50:

    Redcar and Cleveland Council is hailing an improvement in its youth unemployment figures.

    The borough was one of the few areas with more than 12% of 16 to 19-year-olds not in work or training.

    That figure has now fallen to 7.7%, placing it more in line with the regional average.

    Woman bailed on arson 17:41:

    A 26-year-old woman has been bailed after she was arrested on suspicion of arson, Northumbria Police say.

    An accelerant was poured through the letterbox of a house on Parkfield, Ryton, Gateshead, in the early hours of Wednesday.

    Traffic moving fine 17:35:

    There are currently no major problems reported on the region's roads as people begin to make their way home from work ahead of the Easter weekend.

    Overnight chill 17:30:

    BBC Weather says temperatures will drop sharply overnight and there could be some frost in the morning. Minimum temperature: 0C (32F).

    Weather grab
    Missing man appeal 17:22:

    Northumbria Police have renewed an appeal for information on a man who has been missing since 31 March.

    Gary Smith, 52, from the Wideopen area, was last seen in the West Road area of Newcastle.

    Det Sgt Nick Walker said: "It's been more than two weeks since Mr Smith was last seen and ourselves and his family are increasingly concerned for his welfare."

    Teacher denies sex charges 17:05:

    A County Durham head teacher has pleaded not guilty to sex offences against a boy, dating back 25 years, BBC News Online reports.

    Anne Lakey

    Anne Lakey is currently suspended from her post as chief executive of the Durham Federation of Schools. The allegations do not relate to a pupil.

    Appearing at Durham Crown Court, the 54-year-old, of Stanley, denied eight offences including gross indecency and sexually assaulting a boy under 16.

    News on the hour 16:57:

    The headlines at 17:00 include:

    BBC Tees: A post-mortem examination carried out on the body of a man found at an address in Hartlepool has proved inconclusive

    BBC Newcastle: A County Durham head teacher has pleaded not guilty to sex offences against a boy dating back 25 years

    Airport plans revealed 16:52: Northern Echo Newspaper
    Cobbles 'scaremongering' 16:44:

    Claims that cobbles along the length of Stockton high street are to be replaced with Tarmac have been rubbished by the council, BBC News Online reports.

    Artist's impression of Yarm high street

    The council said "inaccurate claims" have surrounded plans to improve paving around Yarm Town Hall and war memorial.

    BBC TEES SPORT TONIGHT 16:39: Paul Addison BBC Tees Sport

    Join me from 18:00 on BBC Tees as we hear from Middlesbrough head coach Aitor Karanka and Hartlepool boss Colin Cooper.

    Boro will aim to make it five wins on the bounce when they host Millwall on Saturday while Pools travel to Burton Albion in need of points to avoid being dragged in to the League Two relegation battle.

    We'll also preview the cricket in the North Yorkshire South Durham leagues and get the latest from the Teesside Junior Football Alliance.

    Culture awards winners 16:32: The Journal Newspaper
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    Alan Pardew

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    Body found in river 16:11:

    The body of a man has been pulled from the River Wear in Washington, Northumbria Police say.

    Police were called to the scene near the Biddick Inn at 12:29.

    The man was pronounced dead at Sunderland Royal Hospital. Efforts are being made to identify him and trace his family.

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    Drivers in Middlesbrough are being warned to be on their guard after two bag snatches from cars waiting at traffic lights.

    Cars were targeted outside James Cook Hospital on Marton Road in the town yesterday, Cleveland Police said.

    News on the hour 15:57:

    The headlines at 16:00 include:

    BBC Tees: Stockton's so-called pound pub has opened its doors, attracting criticism from some who argue it will harm the town's reputation

    BBC Newcastle: Police investigating an armed robbery at an amusement arcade in Newcastle have released photos of a man they want to speak to

    WW1 match to be recreated 15:55: Evening Gazette Newspaper
    Caravan of love or hate? 15:49: Neil Green BBC Tees

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    The A19 southbound was really slow this morning. Nothing unusual, you might think?

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    More beautiful Northumberland 15:34:

    Another photograph from the competition to capture the beauty of Northumberland.

    Bamburgh Dawn

    The competition was launched to encourage people to get out and about and enjoy the natural and cultural landscapes of Northumberland.

    The idea behind the project, by Northumberland National Park, is to capture the "essence" of the area, BBC News Online reports.

    Arcade robbery appeal 15:27: BBC Newcastle

    Police investigating a robbery at an amusement arcade in Newcastle are making a fresh appeal for information.

    Northumbria Police handout

    A man went into Noble Amusements on Clayton Street on the evening of 5 April and held a sharp object to a staff member's neck before leaving with cash.

    Officers have today released a CCTV image of the person they want to trace.

    Takeaway foul play 15:22:

    Beef was substituted for lamb in almost half of takeaway meals tested around Middlesbrough, Stockton, Hartlepool and Redcar and Cleveland, trading standards officers say.

    Samples were taken as part of the Food Standards Agency's national testing programme.

    Middlesbrough Council's environmental health manager Judith Hedgley said: "This is clearly a matter for concern as consumers are being misled as to the true nature of the food they are buying."

    YOUR PICTURES 15:09: Andrew Glover BBC News

    Lee Hargreave sent us this photo taken in the secret garden in Sunderland's Doxford Park.

    Reader picture from Sunderland's Doxford Park

    He said: "I didn't realise there were so many different types of blossom."

    Send us your pictures to or tweet us @BBCNewsNE

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    The headlines at 15:00 include:

    BBC Tees: Business owners across the North East are preparing for a busy Easter weekend

    BBC Newcastle: A County Durham head teacher has pleaded not guilty to a string of sexual offences

    Beautiful Northumberland 14:49:

    A photography competition has been launched to encourage people to get out and about and enjoy the natural and cultural landscapes of Northumberland.

    Little tree on Hadrian’s Wall near Caw Gap by Anita Nicholson

    The idea behind the project, by Northumberland National Park, is to capture the "essence" of the area, BBC News Online reports.

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    Arson warning 14:45:

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    News on the hour 13:59:

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    BBC Newcastle: Police are investigating an armed robbery at an amusement arcade on Tyneside

    Museum best for disabled access 13:44:

    The Locomotion museum in Shildon, County Durham, has been given a top rating for its disabled access, BBC News Online reports.

    Locomotion museum, Shildon

    A survey by disability charity Vitalise found the branch of the National Railway Museum was the joint most accessible out of 85 attractions.

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    Appeal after theft 13:27:

    Northumbria Police are releasing images of two men they want to speak to in connection with a high value theft in Newcastle.

    Northumbria Police handout

    At 16:35 on Monday 24 March, around £30,000 worth of watches and jewellery were stolen from a Post Office van parked in Grey Street in the city centre.

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    Northumbria Police handout

    The men were in Grey Street at the time of the theft and police want to hear from anyone who recognises them.

    Pound pub opens 13:09: BBC Tees

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    The headlines at 13:00 include:

    BBC Tees: A police investigation's underway to try and work out how a man died in Hartlepool. Officers were called to a house on Alderson Street yesterday afternoon

    BBC Newcastle: A teenager has been attacked with a bat in Newcastle city centre on Tuesday

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    Party row man dragged into street 12:15: Sunderland Echo Newspaper
    Lindisfarne exhibtion award 12:02: Ian Youngs Arts reporter, BBC News

    An exhibition of the 1,300-year-old Lindisfarne Gospels in Durham has won best event at a ceremony celebrating culture in the north-east of England.

    Lindisfarne Gospels

    The historic manuscript's return to the region last summer was rewarded at the Journal Culture Awards at the Sage Gateshead on Wednesday.

    News on the hour 11:54:

    The headlines at 12:00 include:

    BBC Tees: A pensioner has been left with severe bruising to his face after been robbed and assaulted in Redcar

    BBC Newcastle: South Shields is gearing up for the live broadcast of The Great North Passion live broadcast on BBC One tomorrow

    Join me after 12 11:42: John Foster BBC Tees

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    Sunny afternoon on the coast? 11:26: Andrew Glover BBC News

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    Redcar weather

    Are you doing anything exciting over the next few days? Send us your pictures to or tweet us @BBCNewsNE

    'Yes parenting' live on air 11:17: Andy Bell BBC Tees

    The Stand family from Darlington are taking part in our 'yes parenting' trial live on air this morning.

    The Stand family from Darlington

    There's plenty of early Easter egg munching going on as almost anything goes.

    We decided to put the technique to the test when it hit the headlines after mother Bea Marshall revealed she never says no to her kids.

    Listen live to Lisa McCormick on BBC Tees.

    Poyet's Sunderland heartache 11:01:

    Sunderland boss Gus Poyet said football was "testing his heart" after his side came close to a shock win at Manchester City.

    Gus Poyet

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    Poyet said: "I haven't had the heart attack that football is trying to give me every game!"

    News on the hour 10:56:

    The headlines at 11:00 include:

    BBC Tees: An investigation has started after a man was found dead inside a house in Hartlepool yesterday

    BBC Newcastle: The National Railway Museum at Shildon has been rated as one of the best tourist attractions in the country for disability access

    New mums' feedback wanted 10:45:

    New mums in Berwick are being asked for their views on the new model of maternity care in the area.


    Opening times changed and an on-call service was introduced last year.

    Women who have given birth since 1 July and those who are expecting in 2014 are being invited to have their say.

    Tykes start with a draw 10:35:

    Yorkshire opened their County Championship season with a stalemate at Somerset yesterday.

    Kane Williamson

    The two captains shook hands on a draw when the Tykes declared their second innings on 193-4.

    New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson, pictured, had reached 57 not out.

    Probe after man's body found 10:27: Hartlepool Mail Newspaper

    Police are investigating after a man's body was found at a house in Hartlepool on Wednesday.

    Teen 'hit with wooden bat' 10:21:

    A 16-year-old boy was hit with a wooden bat as he walked through Newcastle city centre, Northumbria Police said.

    He was hit by someone who got out of a Range Rover on Percy Street on Tuesday.

    What do you think? 10:08:

    We've introduced BBC Local Live to bring you the latest news, sport, travel and weather all in one place. Tell us what you think.


    The man cleared of killing PC Keith Blakelock has said he would feel "angry and disappointed at the system" if he was a member of the Sunderland police officer's family.

    Nicky Jacobs

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    News on the hour 09:56:

    The headlines at 10:00 include:

    BBC Tees: A man was found dead inside a house in Hartlepool yesterday

    BBC Newcastle: The National Railway Museum at Shildon has been rated as one of the best tourist attractions in the country for disability access

    AS it happened
    • News, weather, travel and sport on Thu 17 April
    • More updates from 08:00 on Friday
    • Listen to BBC Tees-BBC Newcastle
    Right-hand man 'is innocent' 09:27: Newcastle Chronicle
    Have you smelt a rat? 09:06: Lisa McCormick BBC Tees

    We're seeing more and more pictures of what have been dubbed 'mutant rats' in the newspapers. Some experts say they're getting bigger and that we're to blame.


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    Listen live from 09:00.

    News on the hour 08:58:

    The headlines at 09:00 include:

    BBC Tees: A Hartlepool man is due in court later charged with murder

    BBC Newcastle: Figures obtained by the BBC suggest that more than 200 new drivers a week are having their licences revoked

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    We'll be asking whether new drivers are fully equipped to be on the roads?

    Listen live from 09:00 on BBC Newcastle.

    Fancy working at BBC Tees? 08:36:

    BBC Tees Sport tweets: @BBCTees is looking for an apprentice. Would you like to work for the BBC? Details here: #BBCLAS

    Benefits cheat could lose home 08:28: Northern Echo Newspaper
    Late agony for Sunderland 08:22:

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    Connor Wickham scores for Sunderland

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    Gus Poyet's side are six points from safety with five games to play.

    Accident closes A691 08:13:

    BBC Travel News reports the A691 in Iveston, County Durham, is closed in both directions between the Stockerley Lane junction and the Hare Buck junction, because of a serious accident. A diversion in operation.

    CLOUDY START 08:09:

    After some light rain in places the cloud should clear by this afternoon allowing for brighter skies. Gentle winds will keep things fresh. Maximum temperature: 17C (63F).

    Good morning 08:00: Andrew Glover BBC News

    I'm here with today's news, sport, travel and weather updates for the North East.

    If you'd like me to feature your comments or pictures send them to or tweet us at @BBCNewsNE



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