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  1. Updates on Thursday 13 October 2016

Live Reporting

By Ana Guerra-Moore

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Our updates here have now finished for the day - thank you for joining us. There will be more updates overnight online, on BBC Tees and BBC Newcastle and on Look North.

We'll be back with more news, sport, weather and travel from 08:00 on Friday.

In the meantime you can contact us on TwitterFacebook, or via email at   

Weather: Showers overnight and risk of thunder

BBC Weather

Showers will continue overnight, occasionally heavy and with the risk of thunder.

Between these showers, it will remain rather cloudy.

Whilst winds inland will ease, the strong east to southeasterly winds will persist along the coast.  

Weather graph

Check the weather where you are.

Discrepancy in vehicle licensing laws causes concern in the North East

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

A man who drove his car through a barrier to confront council staff after they twice refused to give him a taxi licence now has permission to drive minibuses.

Another driver who had his licence taxi revoked after he used his company’s booking records to inappropriately contact two young women is now allowed to drive larger vehicles for the same firm.

Both cases are evidence of a discrepancy in licensing laws which is causing concern to North East councils, a report has claimed.

In a report to South Tyneside Council’s licensing committee, the authority’s economic regeneration director David Cramond said the system for issuing licences to taxi drivers (hackney carriages of up to eight-seats) is different to that for drivers of nine-to-16-seat vehicles known as Public Carriage Vehicles.

He said to get a hackney carriage licence, drivers must produce an up to date criminal records check and they can be refused a licence if they have convictions or cautions which “the authority believe renders the driver a risk to the public”.

The council’s licensing committee will discuss the report at their meeting on 21 October. 

Tributes to woman found dead in Gateshead

A woman who died after being found with serious injuries in a house in Gateshead has been named as Alice Ruggles.

The 24 year old lived on Rawling Road but was originally from Leicestershire.

In a statement her family said: "Alice saw the fun side of everything, she had an infectious personality and an incredible sense of humour. 

"She was kind, clever and beautiful. We are struggling to come to terms with the fact that she is not with us anymore. 

"She loved life, loved her friends and loved her job. She had so much to live for. Nothing, nothing can ever replace her." 

Alice Ruggles
Northumbria Police

A 25-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of murder remains in police custody.

North East MP speaks about her daughter's stillbirth

MPs have given emotional accounts of their experiences of baby loss during a Commons debate on the issue.

Among them was Washington and Sunderland West Labour MP Sharon Hodgson, who spoke about the "trauma" she endured when her daughter's stillbirth was classified as a miscarriage.

She was noticeably emotional as she recalled her daughter's stillbirth at 23-and-a-half weeks.

She said: "Because she was born dead, although I always class her as a stillbirth, officially it was put down as a miscarriage and I wasn't given a death certificate. 

"She was blessed by the chaplain while I was still in hospital, we went on to have a funeral, which I felt was right... I held her in my arms. She was a fully formed baby, so there is that anomaly that I think does have to be addressed."

Former home affairs select committee chairman Keith Vaz also said better advice and counselling was needed in the aftermath of any loss. 

Sharon Hodgson

Construction of Sunderland's newest bridge starts today

BBC Newcastle

Production of Sunderland's newest bridge, named  the Wear Crossing, takes a major step forward today.

When it opens in 2018, it will connect Pallion and Castletown.

The first section of the bridge is being pulled out over the river by hydraulic jacks, a process that is  expected to take about 12 hours. 

In total, the project is costing more than £100m, and is being funded by the government and city council.

Wear crossing

Men's relatives cry as they are cleared of sexual assault

Alison Freeman

BBC Look North

It took the jury just over a day to reach its verdicts to find three Syrian men not guilty of sexually assaulting two schoolgirls in Leazes Park, Newcastle.

As the verdicts were given one by one each of the three defendants broke down in the dock. They were unanimously not guilty. 

Some of the young men's relatives, who had watched the trial every day for the past two-and-a half weeks from the public gallery, were also wiping the tears from their eyes. 

Police warn against anti-social behaviour ahead of football match

There will be a crackdown on anti-social behaviour ahead of this weekend's Newcastle United match, police say.

After the Newcastle United v Norwich match on 28 September, Northumbria Police received reports of groups of youths throwing eggs and other objects at the away supporters as they left the ground.

Officers are now working to identify those involved, and are warning football fans against similar behaviour at the Brentford game this Saturday.

Newcastle Neighbourhood Sgt Kelly Hetherington believes the people causing trouble are a "small minority" who don't actually have tickets for the matches.

She added: "They are local to the area and have come to the stadium with the sole purpose of getting involved in anti social behaviour... This is not welcome at our football matches and for this weekend's game we have a dispersal notice in place around the ground."

Eight arrested following large-scale drugs operation

Eight people have been arrested today following an operation to target the supply of Class A controlled drugs on Teesside.

The arrests come as a result of a large-scale drugs conspiracy investigation by Cleveland Police which started in February under the banner of Operation Shell.

The arrests took place in Guisborough, Eston, Grangetown and Marton.

Police also recovered a substantial quantity of drugs and cash, along with vehicles believed to have been stolen.

Your photos: It's still summer in Saltburn

Our reporter David MacMillan is spending the day in Saltburn, and he has taken this beautiful picture of the pier:

Saltburn pier

It's hard to believe we're almost in November, wouldn't you agree?

If the sky looks as blue where you are, send us a picture - we're on TwitterFacebook, and our email is

Teenager missing from Redcar and Cleveland area

A 13-year-old boy has been reported missing from the Redcar area.

Bradley Bavin was last seen at about 08:20 yesterday.

He didn't turn up to school and has not been in contact with his family.

The teenager is described as 5ft 4ins, with grey eyes and short, brown hair.

Bradley Bavin

Three men weep after being found not guilty of sexual assaults

The three Syrian men wept in the dock after they were found not guilty of sexually assaulting two schoolgirls in Newcastle's Leazes Park.

Omar Badreddin, 18, Mohammed Alfrou, 20, and Mohammed Allakkud, 18, were all cleared after a two-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Outside court a spokesman for the defendants said: "They came from Syria to live in peace - no trouble. They believe the judge is fair."

Three cleared of sexual assualt after two-week trial

Three Syrian men have been cleared of assaulting two 14-year-old girls in Newcastle's Leazes Park in May.

It followed a two week trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

Mohammed Alfrouh, 20, Omar Badreddin, 18, and Mohammed Allakkoud, 18, of Newcastle, who spoke through an Arabic interpreter,  had all denied sexual assault.  

BreakingThree men cleared of Leazes Park sexual assault charges

Alison Freeman

BBC Look North

Three men accused of sexually assaulting two teenage girls in Leazes Park in Newcastle have been cleared of all charges. 

More to follow.

Lorry driver arrested for dangerous driving

A lorry driver was arrested after reports of a vehicle being driven dangerously on the A69 near Newcastle, police said.

The lorry nearly collided with a number of vehicles as it travelled east on the carriageway towards Newcastle on Monday morning.

Northumbria Police are appealing for any witnesses.

Clown company forced to cancel event at children's hospital

A clown production company has cancelled an event at a children's hospital due to fears they would be confused for the Killer Clown craze sweeping across Britain.

The Clown Doctors were due to celebrate 10 years of visiting sick children by putting on a special event at the Great North Children's Hospital in Newcastle.

However security at the Royal Victoria Infirmary advised them to postpone the event.

Martin Wilson, director at TIN Arts in Durham, who run the clown programme, said they were disappointed, but hoped the hype would stop soon.

Clown doctor
Tin Arts

Travel: Metro delays caused by track circuit fault

Weather: Cloudy with frequent showers this afternoon

A mostly cloudy afternoon with frequent showers, these occasionally heavy and gusty as they blow through, though some brightness may be seen between showers. 

Easterly winds will be strong near the coast and over high ground, making it feel cold hills and other exposed locations. 

weather graphic

  Maximum Temperature: 12C (54F).  

Severe disruption: A1(M) County Durham northbound

BBC Travel

A1(M) County Durham northbound severe disruption, between J60 for A689 and J61 for A177.

A1(M) County Durham - One lane closed on A1(M) northbound between J60, A689 (Bradbury) and J61, A177 (Bowburn), because of a broken down vehicle.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Headteacher to retire after three decades of dedication to children’s learning

Hartlepool Mail


A primary school headteacher is to retire later this year after a career in education spanning 30 years.

The headteacher

Woman punched by unknown man in Cramlington

A 22-year-old woman was left shocked and with swelling to her face when she was assaulted by a man in Cramlington.

The attack took place on a footpath known locally as the Black Path on Crow Hall Lane at 22:15 on 6 October.

The victim was walking on the path when she was approached by a man who spoke to her and then punched her in the face before making off towards the nearby wooded area.

The offender is described as wearing dark coloured clothing, with a hooded jacket, and police are appealing for witnesses. 

Personal memories of the Odeon as it is set to be demolished

Catherine Lee

BBC News online

The former Odeon cinema in Newcastle's Pilgrim Street is due to be demolished.

As well as being a cinema it used to host massive gigs.

These – in the early 70s – included Pink Floyd, Emmerson Lake and Palmer and The New Seekers.

My mother was the manager in the early 70s  - a highly prestigious job at the time. The fact she had six kids led to articles in the Evening Chronicle (“Child’s play for mum to run cinema")

During the school holidays I worked there as an usherette (and brochure seller during the above-mentioned gigs) during the summer holidays. Will never forget the weight of those ice cream trays.

RIP Odeon. Here it is in 1987.

Odeon cinema in 1987

Newcastle University scientists hope to find life on Mars

Scientists believe they could be a step closer to finding out whether there was life on Mars.

A high resolution microscope at a £7m new laboratory at Newcastle University has found evidence of microbes in 400-million-year-old basalt rock recovered from the Pacific Ocean floor.

The rock is similar to those found on Mars and scientists will now study an actual piece of Martian rock.

It is hoped that the detailed analysis will detect similar traces.

Basalt rock

Serious NSPCC cases jump in wake of Savile scandal

"She looked unhappy and was very dishevelled. She had dirt on her bare legs - it was a build-up of dirt and she looked like she hadn't been washed in a while."

Brad, a telephone engineer from Gateshead, was shocked when he realised a toddler was living in filthy conditions in a house where he was installing satellite television.

The NSPCC says he is one of a growing number of people calling its helpline to raise concerns.

According to the charity, since the Savile scandal unravelled, it has seen a significant rise in the number of contacts serious enough to refer on to the police or to local children's services.

Read the full feature here.

Boy sleeping under his bed

Northumberland school's multimillion-pound building opened

Prudhoe High School's new £12m building has been opened after a long campaign.

View more on twitter

Sadness over plans to demolish former Odeon cinema

BBC Newcastle

An organisation set up to protect Tyneside's heritage - the Northumberland and Newcastle Society - says it is saddened that a Newcastle landmark is to be demolished 

The former Odeon cinema on Pilgrim Street was once the place to see a film but it's been emptyfor the last 14 years 

 And now its owner has informed Newcastle City Council that they plan to knock it down.

Teesside boy awarded every Cub Scout badge

A boy from Teesside has achieved every badge available with the Cub Scouts.

Ten-year-old Liam Ford, from Ingleby Barwick, has thrown himself into the scouting life and has been awarded more than 60 badges.

He earned the badges by showing his skills in everything from horse riding to knot-tying.

Liam's favourite badge is the one he got for his science skills

"I'm very proud of my Science badge, I had to do an experiment", he said.

View more on twitter

Travel: Accident closes road in Dinnington, Newcastle

BBC Travel

Prestwick Road in Dinnington is closed in both directions at the Main Road junction because of an accident. 

More travel updates here.

Durham's Lego cathedral shortlisted for fundraising award

A replica of Durham Cathedral made entirely out of Lego pieces has been shortlisted for a fundraising award.

The Lego model raised £300,000 towards the cathedral's Open Treasure exhibition, and it has now been nominated for a National Fundraising award.

Durham's Lego build is shortlisted for the most-innovative fundraising campaign. The winner will be announced on 29 November.

Here's a look back at the cathedral's making-process:

View more on facebook

Weather: Occasional heavy showers

BBC Weather

A mostly cloudy day with frequent showers, these occasionally heavy and gusty as they blow through, though some brightness may be seen between showers.

Easterly winds will be strong near coasts, making it feel cold in exposed locations.  

Weather graph

Check your local weather here.

Beamish given £10.9m of lottery cash for 1950s exhibition

Beamish Museum in County Durham is among heritage sites around the UK which will share £48m of lottery cash.

The open air museum has been awarded £10.9m to create a new 1950s exhibition.

The Beamish Open Air Museum
Getty Images

The site will see Spain's Field Farm in Weardale moved brick by brick to the open air museum, as well as the recreation of a chip shop, police houses, allotments and a bowling green.  

Murder arrest after woman's body found in Gateshead

A man has been arrested after a woman's body was found in Gateshead.

The 24-year-old was found with serious injuries in Rawling Road at about 18:30 on Wednesday and pronounced dead at the scene.

Northumbria Police said the case had been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission because of previous contact with the victim.

A spokesman said: "This is believed to be an isolated incident and those involved are known to each other. There is not believed to be any danger to the wider public.

Travel: A19 blocked in County Durham

BBC Travel

The A19 in Dalton-le-Dale is partially blocked and there's queuing traffic in both directions at the B1285 junction, because of an accident.

Follow our live travel updates.

Welcome to BBC Local Live in the North East

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Good morning. Welcome to our live coverage.

I'll be with you until 18:00 bringing you news, sport, weather and travel from across the North East.

We'd love to hear from you if you have a story or a picture you'd like to share with us.

You can contact us on TwitterFacebook, or via email at