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  1. Updates on Thursday 22 September 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Well, that's it from us today - thank you for joining us. 

There will be further updates this evening online, on BBC Tees and on BBC Newcastle and on Look North on BBC One.

We'll be back here with more news, sport, weather and travel from across the North East from 08:00 tomorrow.

If you'd like to get in touch with us, you can tweet us @BBCNewsNEemail us, or contact us through our Facebook page.

Theatre Royal boosted by ticket sales despite council funding cut

Ticket sales and revenue have gone up at Newcastle's Theatre Royal since the city council's arts cuts came into force.

During 2015-16, the theatre sold what's believed to be a record number of tickets, 375,000, bringing in a revenue of £10.2m. 

That compares with the previous year, when it made £7.5m at the box office.

It's almost 18 months since the theatre stopped getting its annual subsidy of £650,000 from Newcastle City Council and chief executive Philip Bernays says it forced bosses to change the programme:

The funding had allowed us to take a little bit of risk with the programme. Without the funding we've had to put on a programme that's, broadly speaking, more populist and has a very broad appeal. In practical terms, we do more musicals and less drama than we used to."

Newcastle's Theatre Royal
Sally Ann Norman

Meet the students choosing the American dream over university debt

More and more budding footballers are turning their backs on university tuition fees to study and play the game in the United States.

And they're being helped by a Tyneside-based company, PASS4Soccer.

View more on twitter

Plans for 26-storey Newcastle 'skyscraper' could get green light by end of month

The Chronicle

Plans to build Newcastle’s second tallest tower could be approved next week.

The tower is planned for a plot in Rutherford Street, near St James' Boulevard, and would contain 162 private apartments.

How the Stonegate Developments 26-storey building in Newcastle would look
Newcastle City Council

Person hit by train on Teesside

A person has been hit by a train between Yarm and Northallerton on Teesside, National Rail Enquiries says.

The incident is causing disruption to journeys between Sunderland, Middlesbrough and York. 

A statement says services will be delayed by up to 60 minutes or diverted via Darlington.

Footage shows youngsters jumping from roof to roof

Darlington Police have released footage of young people jumping between houses on a new estate.

This footage was captured at West Park in the town. 

A spokesman said: "We're sure you can see how easily this might have ended in tragedy. Young people so often think they're invincible and don't think through the potential consequences of their actions.

"Please talk about this video to your friends and family."

You can watch the footage here.

Shildon arches: Should they stay or should they go?

Shildon residents are being asked if the town's three "deteriorating" arches should be retained or demolished.

The structures were put up in Main Street, Church Street and Town Square in 2000, but their flaking paint and rusting metalwork now requires ongoing maintenance estimated at £221,449 over the next 20 years.

Durham County Council has begun a consultation on their future.

Shildon arch on Main Street

Councillor Neil Foster, cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: "At a time of considerable financial cutbacks, we believe it is appropriate to ask the people whether they would like to see the arches retained, or if they believe the money required to do so would be better spent elsewhere."   

The draw for the fourth round of the EFL Cup

So now the third round of the EFL Cup is done and dusted where does that leave our remaining two teams?

As the draw continued, both Newcastle and Sunderland were two of the last four balls in the pot.

Could we have some sort of Tyne-Wear derby? Manchester got theirs...

Well, not this time round...


  • Newcastle v Preston
  • Southampton v Sunderland

So maybe in the next round?

Hit-and-run van driver sought by police

The driver of a white van who failed to stop after knocking a cyclist of his bike is being sought by police in Hartlepool.

It follows an incident at the junction of Sandringham Road and Murray Street at about 19:30 on Monday.

The 41-year-old cyclist suffered a cut to the head and grazes when he was struck by the vehicle, possibly a new Ford Transit Connect.

Moyes hails Sunderland as 'some of our play was quite good'

Sunderland manager David Moyes was just pleased to get through to the next round of the EFL Cup last night.

Paddy McNair scored twice as the Black Cats beat Championship side QPR in the third round at Loftus Road.

Moyes said: "We played some good stuff and I'm just glad we got through as it's always a tough game coming here.

"I thought we did some good things, especially in the second half, and I didn't think we deserved to go a goal down when we did.

"We just lacked the experienced forward players who maybe could have finished the game off earlier, but some of our play was quite good."

QPR v SAFC match stats
BBC Sport

Your view: Great British Bake Off 'won't survive' without Mary Berry

So Paul Hollywood says he's gong to stay on as a judge of The Great British Bake Off when it moves to Channel 4.

Earlier this morning, Mary Berry said she would be staying with the BBC out of "loyalty". 

But viewer Anne Hawick, from Sunderland, doesn't hold out much hope for the programme without Mary.

She told the BBC: "I think she's so much part of that programme, she's such a part of baking in general, everybody's got her books, she's made a huge name for herself and everybody loves the programme because of Mary and also Paul of course, but I don't think the programme will survive without Mary."

Paul and Mary

BreakingCCTV shows masked armed bank robbers

CCTV footage has been released of armed robbers wielding crowbars as they targeted a bank in County Durham.

The three men, also armed with a wooden stick, struck at the TSB on Blackhills Road in Horden, at about 10:45 yesterday.

Insp Steve Thubron said he hoped the images would "generate new information" from the public.  

CCTV footage of masked 'crowbar-wielding' bank robbers

Police still hunting for armed bank robbers

Police are still hunting three men wielding crowbars who raided a County Durham bank.

The men, who were also armed with a wooden stick, struck at the TSB on Blackhills Road in Horden at about 10:45 yesterday.

Two female members of staff suffered minor injuries, as did two female members of the public.

A car which is linked to the robbery was found burnt out in the Cotsford Park Estate area about 1km (0.6 miles) away.

Horden TSB

Metro machines happy with new fivers

The new £5 note are now being accepted by all ticket machines on the Tyne and Wear Metro network.

There had been criticism that the plastic currency, which was launched 10 days ago, could not be used at some of them.

Nexus, which owns and manages the network, said it has now carried out a software update to its 225 machines.

Machine accepting new note

New home for old tank

Weather: Longer spells of sunshine this afternoon

The cloud will gradually break up during the afternoon, with some longer spells of sunshine later. 

weather graphic

  Maximum Temperature: 17C (63F).

BreakingMan arrested after 15-year-old girl raped

A man has been arrested on suspicion of raping a 15-year-old girl in Stockton.

Cleveland Police said the girl was attacked on a cycle path that runs from Hardwick to Elmtree at the back of Tithe Barn Road at about 07:30 yesterday 

A 28-year-old man from the Stockton area was arrested on suspicion of rape and another sexual assault in a separate incident.

He is currently in police custody.

Your photos: Amble before dawn

Here's a stunning photo by Len Smith taken in Amble, Northumberland before dawn.

Send us your photos on Twitter @BBCNewsNE or email us.

Amble, Northumberland
Len Smith

Prison officer 'could not help herself' over inmate relationship

An prison officer who had an intimate relationship with a female inmate "put her heart before her judgement", a court has been told.

Melissa Priestly has been jailed for six months after admitting misconduct in a public office.

She was spotted "kissing and cuddling" Leonie Kinnish at HMP Low Newton.

Durham Crown Court was told that the 33-year-old knew that what she was doing was prohibited, but "could not help herself".

Shooting probe leads to 20 arrests

A total of 20 people have now been arrested in connection with a shooting incident in the Hylton Castle area of Sunderland.

Police were called to Craigshaw Square on 12 September, when a window was shot at with a gun.

Two vehicles have been recovered as part of the investigation, and the 19 men and one woman arrested have now been bailed.

The big debate: Is Yorkshire Pudding a pastry?

To you it may seem obvious; is Yorkshire pudding a pastry or a batter?

But this morning on BBC Radio Leeds a man called Peter in Silsden started a huge debate on the subject, with a very innocent looking (if not badly written) text....

Frm Peter in Silsden - Fvrt Pastry - it hs t be Crspy Yrkshr Pddng flled wth Onion Grvy!!

So is this...

Yorkshire pud

The same kind of thing as this...?


The debate raged on throughout the programme...

Yorkshire puddings are not pastry, pastry has fat in it at least half fat to flour with very little liquid sometimes just an egg to bind it. Y.P. Is batter more like thick liquid. The man is no baker.


What a load of rubbish. Eggs are not obligatory in pastry but are in batter.


Yorkshire pudding is no more a pastry than fish and chips!


How can a Yorkshire be a pastry when it has no fat in it?


The debate also included this heated on-air exchange with Barney in Halifax...

BreakingPrison officer jailed over inmate affair

A prison officer who had a sexual relationship with an inmate has been jailed for six months.

Melissa Priestley, who worked at HMP Low Newton near Durham, also gave robber Leonie Kinnish special privileges, Durham Crown Court was told.

Priestly, 33, had admitted misconduct in public office, and the judge gave credit for her guilty plea, her previous hard work and otherwise "impeccable character".

However, he said he was unable to consider a suspended sentence as the offence was "just too serious".

Four players nominated for PCA award

BBC Sport

Durham's Keaton Jennings, Ben Duckett, Graham Napier and Jeetan Patel are in the running for the PCA Player of the Year award.

South African opening batsman Jennings, 24, who has been included in the England Lions' winter programme, is the County Championship's leading run-scorer with 1,522 runs in Division One, having hit seven centuries.  

PCA players of the year award nominees (clockwise, from top left) Keaton Jennings, Ben Duckett, Jeetan Patel, Graham Napier
Getty Images

Police issue missing man plea

Cleveland Police is appealing for help to trace a missing Middlesbrough man.

Richard Carling was last seen in Strauss Road, South Bank, about 17:00 on Monday.

It is thought the 38-year-old may have travelled out of the area, possibly to the Avon and Somerset area. 

Richard Carling
Cleveland Police

Highlights: Roland-Jones checks Yorkshire title bid

Toby Roland-Jones takes four wickets to leave champions Yorkshire still 35 runs behind Middlesex after two days of their final County Championship match at Lord's.

Inmate relationship prison officer due to be sentenced

A prison officer who had a sexual relationship with an inmate is due to be sentenced later.

Melissa Priestley worked at HMP Low Newton in Durham, and letters suggesting an inappropriate relationship were found in a prisoner's cell following a tip off.

The 33-year-old admitted misconduct in a public office and will be sentenced at Durham Crown Court.

Low Newton is a closed prison for female adults and young offenders - serial killer Rose West is one of the inmates. 

Views sought on Sunderland beggar crackdown

Aggressive beggars in Sunderland city centre could face fines under new anti-social behaviour plans. 

The city council's cabinet has agreed to begin consultation on new Public Space Protection Orders.

If given the green light by the public, offenders would be given a £75 fixed penalty notice or fined up to £1,000. 

A beggar

Two North East universities among world's top 200

Two North East universities are in the top 200 in the world, according to the Times Higher Education world university rankings.

Institutions  are rated on measures including teaching, research and international outlook - for example, the numbers of overseas students and staff.

Oxford University comes top overall above the California Institute of Technology.

Durham (pictured below) is ranked 96 and Newcastle 190.


Council to discuss potential closure of GP surgery

BBC Tees

Hartlepool Borough Council will meet later to discuss plans to close one of the town's GP surgeries.

Under proposals by the Hartlepool and Stockton Clinical Commissioning Group, three surgeries have been short-listed for closure.

The CCG says it can't find a provider to run them.

Closure would mean thousands of patients having to find an alternative surgery.

At the scene where a teenage girl was raped

Chris Conway

BBC Tees

I'm at the scene in Stockton where Cleveland Police is advising young girls to walk in pairs following the rape of a 15-year-old girl yesterday morning.

The path is surrounded by greenery and shrubs, and there are a few dog walkers and people walking into town.

Cycle path

Teaching assistants hold rally in Durham

Teaching assistants in County Durham gathered for a protest meeting last night against a proposed pay cut which will affect more than 2,000 workers.

Durham County Council wants to pay them during term time only, instead of throughout the year, bringing them in line with other staff - and to avoid the risk of equal pay claims.

But campaigners say that could leave staff facing financial ruin.

Teaching assistants

The council says it's revised its offer to the teaching assistants so they would receive compensation for the changes for two years.

However, it's warned its offer is final and will be imposed if it's not accepted.

Weather: Showers will fade and cloud will break

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

A cloudy start with a few showers over the North Pennines, these fading through the morning.

The cloud will gradually break during the afternoon, with some longer spells of sunshine later.

Weather forecast

Maximum temperature: 17C (63F). Check the forecast near you.

Sunderland beat QPR in EFL Cup

Paddy McNair scored twice as Sunderland beat Championship side QPR in the third round of the EFL Cup at Loftus Road last night.

The visitors fell behind on the hour mark when Brazil midfielder Sandro hooked in a half-volley.

Sunderland celebrate
Getty Images

Ex-Manchester United midfielder McNair levelled 10 minutes later, finishing off a one-two with Duncan Watmore.

McNair then tapped in the rebound after Matt Ingram parried Didier Ndong's strike to earn the Black Cats a trip to Southampton in the fourth round.

Welcome to BBC Local Live

Good Morning. Welcome to our live coverage of today's news, sport, weather and travel from across the North East.

We'll be here until 18:00.

If you'd like to get in touch with us, you can tweet us @BBCNewsNEemail us, or contact us through our Facebook page