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Man completes Newcastle to Kielder River Tyne swim challenge
Fenwick Mark Ridley was granted special permission to complete his challenge at Kielder Water.

Police 'did not have a vendetta' against Sunderland man William Charlton

Mark Denten

BBC Look North

A jury has been told police did not have a “vendetta” against a man charged with stirring up racial hatred.

William Charlton, known as Billy, faces five charges of stirring up racial hatred in a series of speeches in Sunderland in 2016 and 2017.

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court has heard Mr Charlton was highly critical of Northumbria Police’s response to alleged crimes committed by immigrants and asylum seekers, saying in a speech in April 2017 “our children deserve better protection".

The court heard Mr Charlton specifically criticised Supt Paul Milner, who was in charge of policing part of Sunderland at the time, saying “that man is in denial.”

William Charlton

Giving evidence, Supt Milner said a police investigation into Mr Charlton’s speeches was launched in May 2017.

Asked by prosecution barrister Sharon Beattie whether Mr Charlton’s criticisms of the police would “cause you to have some sort of vendetta against Mr Charlton” Supt Milner replied “absolutely not”.

Billy Charlton, 55, of Byland Court Washington, denies all five charges and his trial at Newcastle Crown Court continues.

Council 'struggling' to get government promise over clean air cash

Daniel Holland

Local Democracy Reporter

Controversial plans for a clean air toll in the city centre would fall apart if the government refuses to stump up the cash to fund them, Newcastle’s Labour leader has warned.

The local authority plans to impose daily charges on some high-polluting vehicles, but Nick Forbes said he was “struggling” to get concrete promises from ministers over the massive project.

Mr Forbes told a cabinet meeting yesterday evening it would be “incomprehensible” for ministers to demand anti-pollution action from the council by 2021 but not fund measures such as grants to upgrade older taxis and lorries, as well as the technology needed to enforce the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) tolls.

Under the CAZ proposal, coaches, buses and lorries will be charged £50 daily to drive into the city centre from 2021 if they do not meet emissions standards. High-polluting taxis and vans will also pay £12.50, but private cars have been made exempt for now.

The final proposals are due to be submitted to the government in November after a six-week public consultation.

Vehicles crossing the Tyne Bridge