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  1. Updates on Wednesday 23 March 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. Our live coverage across the day

    Rebecca Turner

    BBC North East

    Live updates for the North East have now finished for the day. 

    We'll be back from 08:00 on Thursday with more news, sport, weather and travel - we hope you can join us then.

    If you'd like to get in touch you can tweet usemail us, or contact us via Facebook.  

  2. Tonight's weather: Cloudy and breezy

    BBC Weather

    Mainly dry but rather cloudy overnight, with cloud-cover generally holding to limit frost.

    Becoming breezier towards dawn, with the chance of a little light rain in places.

    Video content

    Video caption: Weather: weather_northeast.avi

    Check the weather where you are.

  3. Appeal to identify the 'little helper' who gave police a hand after derby day

    Police in Newcastle want to identify a little boy who helped them after the Tyne-Wear derby match.

    He stayed after full time on Sunday, when the majority of the 52,000 supporters had left St James' Park, to help officers clear up police tape outside the stadium.

    Police want to contact the little boy’s parents or guardians so they can thank him for his efforts.

    View more on twitter
  4. CCTV released after 17-year-old was 'touched inappropriately' on bus

    A picture of a man has been released after an indecent assault on a bus last month.

    It happened on the X11 bus travelling from Haymarket, Newcastle, to Blyth.

    A 17-year-old woman who was travelling on the bus was "touched inappropriately" by another passenger.

    Police are keen to speak to the man in this picture.

    CCTV Image
  5. Devolution deal for North East in doubt after vote

    Fergus Hewison

    BBC Newcastle political reporter

    The devolution deal for the region, meant to see elections for a mayor in 2017, won't be in place by the end of this month as originally planned after another council said it wanted to delay signing up in full. 

    Durham County Council says it wants further commitments on funding and other issues from government before it can agree to devolution.

    The leader of the Labour-run council, Simon Henig, says he supports devolution in principle but the current agreement potentially sets up the region to fail. 

    Yesterday Gateshead council rejected the devolution deal outright. On Monday Northumberland said it, like Durham, also wanted further commitments from government before it would go ahead. 

    The four other councils in the devolution area - South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Sunderland and Newcastle meet later today to decide whether they'll participate 

  6. Man 'warned' for harassing Adam Johnson child sex victim

    A man has been warned by police over harassing Adam Johnson's schoolgirl grooming victim.

    It's understood a notice under the Prevention of Harassment Act was issued to Steven Knox, the ex-partner of Johnson's sister.

    Former Sunderland winger Johnson was found guilty of sexual activity with an under-age girl.

    Adam Johnson mugshot

    His sister has since launched a social media appeal to clear the convicted child sex abuser.

    Durham Police confirmed that they have "issued one notice to someone in relation to the Adam Johnson support pages".

  7. Jonas Gutierrez team choice claim 'offensive and untrue'

    Jonas Gutierrez's claim that Newcastle United's board influenced team selection to prevent his contract being extended is "offensive and untrue", the club's MD says. 

    Lee Charnley told an employment tribunal that better players had "overtaken" the Argentine international and he was allowed to leave for footballing reasons. 

    Mr Charnley said he told Mr Gutierrez's lawyer he had the club's blessing to "investigate whether there was any interest in Jonas in the market" before he was even diagnosed with cancer. 

    Addressing the issue of alleged interference in team selection to stop Gutierrez triggering a one-year contract extension, Mr Charnley said Alan Pardew had a clause in his contract "granting him the right to absolute independence" regarding team selection.

    Mr Gutierrez is claiming disability discrimination in a case said to be worth about £2m. The hearing continues.

    Lee Charnley pictured with Mike Ashley
  8. Andy Capp cartoon auction of memorabilia

    A collection of Andy Capp cartoon strip memorabilia is being auctioned, with the most valuable items expected to fetch £200.

    Andy Capp Memorabilia

    The Andy Capp cartoon strip was created by Hartlepool-born Reg Smythe, who died in 1998.

    He personally drew and inked every picture for the 18,000 Andy Capp cartoons he produced over four decades.

  9. NUFC 'never contacted Gutierrez during cancer treatment'

    Newcastle United never kept in contact with Jonas Gutierrez during his cancer treatment, his mother claims.

    Monica Montore, who is also the former Magpies winger's manager, disputed documents submitted by Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley which said the club kept in touch with family "to ensure that they knew that Jonas remained in our thoughts". 

    Ms Montore said: "This is categorically not the case as I remember feeling upset that the club seemed to show a lack of interest in Jonas's welfare once the cancer was diagnosed. 

    "Apart from one email from the club doctor to Jonas on 17 October asking for my contact details for the doctor in Argentina, I did not receive any telephone calls or emails from the club and neither did Jonas." 

    Mr Gutierrez is claiming disability discrimination after his release from the club last year. The hearing continues.

    Former NUFC boss John Carver and Jonas Gutierrez
  10. Middlesbrough goalkeeper shares photo of newborn son

    Looks like Boro keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos has already got high hopes for his new arrival's football career:

    View more on twitter
  11. Travelling drug salesmen using fake ambulances jailed

    Two men who used fake ambulances to sell drugs have been jailed.

    Both men, in their 50s, collected customers’ orders from "bogus paramedics" who used a fleet of fake ambulances.

    The National Crime Agency says the drugs had a street value of £1.6bn.

    Fake ambulance

    Norman McNestrie, from Consett in County Durham, and his "right hand man" Paul Robson, from Newcastle received 19 years and 3 months and 15 years respectively at Kingston Crown Court.

  12. Home Secretary on Britons caught in Brussels blasts

    Here's Theresa May at Prime Minister's Questions talking about Britons caught up in the attacks:  

    Video content

    Video caption: Theresa May says there is concern about a Briton missing in Brussels
  13. Police reminder that 'worrying livestock' is a criminal offence

    Durham Police have issued a reminder that "worrying livestock" is a criminal offence. 

    They say that as we enter lambing season, it's important that people keep their dogs on leads when walking through countryside, as "the stress of being chased by a dog can cause a sheep to miscarry or even die".

    Little baby lamb
  14. Last original Metro escalator replaced

    All the escalators installed when the Tyne and Wear Metro was built in the 1970s and early 1980s have now been replaced by engineers.

    The last of the 28 old escalators to go were at St James station, where new ones came into use last week in time for the Tyne-Wear derby.

    Raymond Johnstone, director of rail and infrastructure for Nexus, said: "After about 35 years the original escalators were at the end of their lives - they were prone to failure and it was almost impossible to source parts when repairs needed to be made."

  15. Fletcher out of Scotland squad

    BBC Sport

    Striker Steven Fletcher has pulled out of the Scotland squad for Thursday's friendly against the Czech Republic because of illness.

    The Sunderland forward, on loan with Marseille, has been with the squad at their Renfrewshire base this week.

    But he did not join his team-mates on the flight to Prague.

    Steven Fletcher
  16. New speed limits on approach to schools in South Shields

    There's a new 20mph speed limit and traffic calming measures on the approach to schools in the West Park area of South Shields.

    Gladys Hobson, Anne Hetherington and Norman Dick, West Park ward members

    It's in an attempt to make children's walk to school safer, and signs have been put up to warn drivers.  

  17. Missing Brussels man 'texted he was safe - then got on bomb metro'

    The Daily Telegraph is reporting that missing David Dixon texted his aunt telling her he was "fine and safe" shortly after the airport bombings yesterday.

    The family fear he then boarded the Metro train that was blown up, the paper said.

    David Dixon