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  1. Updates on Thursday 20 October 2016

Live Reporting

By Ana Guerra-Moore

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage throughout the day

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Our live coverage is now over - 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 tomorrow

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

Weather: Clear spells and light winds

BBC Weather

Showers will largely die away through the evening becoming confined to coastal districts with clear spells and light winds developing inland.

Localised frost is possible in rural parts with mist or fog patches forming in river valleys.

Weather graph

Check the weather where you are.

Rescue opertion launched after reports of man falling while on board ship

More now on the rescue operation which was launched this afternoon around one of the ships anchored off the coast at Tynemouth.

The operation including a helicopter was launched to one of the ships - the Brasschaat.

The RNLI assisted by taking North East Ambulance Service paramedics out to the ship. 

A spokeswoman said there were reports that the man had fallen from height. 

She said: "Crew members from the ship were doing CPR and there was a doctor there as well."

A Coastguard spokesman said it sent its Humber helicopter to the scene, and that crew members were winched off afterwards. 

Missing 73-year-old man found safe

What is it like when the PM is your MP?

Unlike leaders in many countries, UK prime ministers have an obligation to stay close to their roots by continuing as MPs while living in Downing Street. But does some of the glamour of high office rub off on their constituencies?

Barack Obama cut his political teeth on the South Side of Chicago. Francois Hollande made sleepy Correze in south-western France his political fiefdom.

Theresa May, however, is still an active MP for Maidenhead while being prime minister of the United Kingdom.

Maidenhead has replaced Witney, in rural Oxfordshire, as the constituency of the prime minister, joining a club that includes Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Gordon Brown) and Sedgefield (Tony Blair).

Mr Blair initially held a constituency surgery every week as an MP, which he changed to once a month after becoming prime minister.

Many constituency responsibilities were taken on by John Burton, Blair's constituency agent, who says his old boss felt able to relax in the North East, where people were more direct and less sycophantic than in Downing Street.

Read the full feature here.

George Bush and Tony Blai

Rescue from anchored ship after medical emergency

Someone was airlifted off one of the ships which has been anchored off Tynemouth for several months after a medical emergency.

The RNLI says the helicopter was sent this afternoon to airliftit someone off one of the ships, the Brass Chaat.

Helicopter with Brass Chaat

Woman assaulted by three men

A 34-year-old woman was punched in the face by three men in Newcastle.

At about 02:00 on 14 October, the woman left a bar with a man, then walked a short distance before they met three others, who assaulted her.

The four men then fled the scene. They are described as all being white and spoke with Irish accents.

Police say the victim is not from the Newcastle area and was therefore unable to pinpoint the bar or the location of the assault.

Aitor Karanka: Battle to keep Middlesbrough is Premier League 'not his toughest'

Aitor Karanka is convinced the battle to keep Middlesbrough in the Premier League is not his toughest as a coach.

The 43-year-old Spaniard saw his side slip to the brink of the bottom three last weekend when a 1-0 home defeat by Watford left them above the red line only on goal difference and without a win in six league outings ahead of Saturday's daunting trip to Arsenal.

However, Karanka is confident he is a better coach than he was the day he arrived in November 2013, with the Teessiders then flirting with relegation from the Sky Bet Championship.

Asked if Boro's current run represented the most challenging period of his career to date, he said: "I think it was tougher at the beginning... We were not in the same situation, but we were fighting to survive in the Championship and at that time I didn't have the experience that I have now, I didn't have the players I have now, I didn't have the staff I have now."

Karanka and the team celebrating their promotion

Caitlin Ruddy death: Teenager died after falling from Cullercoats pier

A 15-year-old girl died after slipping off a Northumberland pier into a "chilly North Sea", an inquest heard.

Caitlin Ruddy was with friends on the north pier at Cullercoats Bay on 16 January when she lost her footing.

The inquest, at North Shields, heard she spent 30 minutes in the water before being found by a dog walker. She died later in hospital.

Northumberland coroner Eric Armstrong found the death was accidental as a result of immersion in water.

Caitlin Ruddy
Caitlin Ruddy Facebook

Outdoor live show Kynren set to return

BBC Tees

The outdoor theatre show Kynren is set to make a return next year.

The new Creative Director of Bishop Auckland's outdoor live action show has told BBC Tees next year's show will be even bigger.

The historical re-enactment show featured 1,000 volunteers, and next year 1,500 are wanted.

According to organisers, there will be 17 shows instead of 15.

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Severe accident: A19 County Durham northbound

BBC Travel

A19 County Durham northbound severe accident, between A19 and North Lane affecting A1027.

A19 County Durham - A19 closed and stationary traffic northbound between the A19 junction in Wolviston and the North Lane junction in Elwick, because of an accident involving an overturned vehicle. Congestion to Norton Interchange.

Check local traffic and travel reports for:

Sunderland have 'lost their identity', says chief executive Martin Bain

BBC Sport

Sunderland need to "rebuild" having "lost their identity", according to the club's chief executive Martin Bain.

The Black Cats are bottom of the Premier League, with two points after eight games, and are odds-on with bookmakers to be relegated.

"It's probably lost its identity at times trying to be a club it's not," Bain told the club website.

"The job is to build, almost rebuild. It's apparent that we've got a journey to embark upon."

David Moyes
Rex Features

Three teenagers arrested after death of Jodie Wilkinson

Three teenagers have been arrested by police investigating the death of a 27-year-old woman in Newcastle.

Jodie Wilkinson (pictured) died in hospital after being attacked by a group of up to 11 men in the city's Stanhope Street on Monday afternoon, police said.  

Two boys, aged 14 and 15, and and a 15-year-old girl have been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.

Six people had previously been arrested - five remain in custody and one man, 18, has been released on police bail.

Jodie Wilkinson

Police searching for motorcyclist who failed to stop

Police are appealing for a motorcyclist to come forward following a collision involving a motorbike and a cyclist.

A 47-year-old woman was taken to James Cook University Hospital, after the collision on Monday at 15:40 at the end of Beckenham Gardens in Middlesbrough. She was treated for a fractured arm and bruising.

The motorcylist did not stop at the scene.

Beckenham Gardens in Middlesbrough

Planning blow to Hartlepool seafront revamp

Longscar Centre, Seaton Carew
The Longscar site has lay empty for seven years

Revamp plans for part of Hartlepool have been dealt a blow after a planning inspector blocked the compulsory purchase of a seaside "eyesore".

The Longscar Centre has a prominent position in Seaton Carew, but has been empty since 2009.

Hartlepool Council wants to redevelop the seafront area, but says it has been "unable to encourage" the centre's owners to improve the site.

A council spokesman described the inspector's decision as "shocking".

Newcastle direction under Mike Ashley was 'wrong': Alan Pardew
Former-Newcastle manager Alan Pardew says the club's "process was wrong" regarding transfer policy during his four-year tenure at St James' Park.

Work to start on County Durham bridge after riverbed was partially washed away

Engineers are working to stabilise a County Durham bridge after the riverbed beneath it was partially washed away.

Earlier this year, divers inspected Harelaw Bridge, west of Wolsingham, and discovered a three-metre deep hole beginning to undermine the structure, while some of its supports rested only on loose sands and gravels.

Durham County Council's strategic highways manager Brian Buckley said that any further erosion would "likely have undermined the bridge footings" and so engineers are working with specialist underwater contractors to stabilise the area before winter.

The two months of emergency works will cost £240,000, and during the works the bridge will remain open to all traffic.

Siberian Accentor birds leave Easington

Adrian Pitches

BBC Look North

Rare birds which appeared in Easington last week seem to have now moved to a different location.

The Siberian Accentor is a small bird related to the Dunnocks you see hopping around in your back garden, but a number were spotted in Shetland, East Yorkshire, Saltburn and Sunderland.

After weeks of a high pressure system stretching into Russia and strong easterly winds, there was an influx of these birds into Scandinavia, Germany, Baltic countries. They should be migrating to South East Asia. 

A Siberian Accentor

Morpeth shared space scheme scrapped over 'lack of support'

Stobhill, Morpeth

A shared space scheme in which vehicles and pedestrians would have equal priority has been scrapped over a 'lack of support'.

The £300,000 plan would have seen pavements, crossings and traffic lights removed from parts of Stobhill, Morpeth.

Northumberland County Council said it had made the decision "due to a growing level of concern among local people".

Blind and partially sighted people had raised safety worries.

Plans to build car supermarket recommended for refusal

Duncan Leatherdale

BBC News Online

Plans for a car supermarket on wasteland near the MetroCentre are being recommended for refusal because of the effect it could have on future housing in the area.

Pendragon PLC has asked Gateshead Council for permission to build the two-storey glass-facade building with workshop and vehicle storage off Wellington Road at Cross Lane. 

Members of the council’s planning committee will consider the application when they meet next Wednesday.

Planning officer Tracy Long is recommending they refuse the plan.

She said the land is within the MetroGreen area, which is set aside for the construction of about 850 homes by 2030.

The meeting at Gateshead Civic Centre starts at 10:00.

Watch: GPs to ask private company for referrals

GPs in County Durham must now ask a private company to decide if patients will be referred to a specialist in some cases.

There are concerns that the system has been put in place without a public consultation.

North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group said the move would save money and GPs had been consulted.  

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Cheryl Fernandez-Versini's marriage due to end in London court

Newcastle-born singer Cheryl Fernandez-Versini's marriage to her second husband is set to end today.

The 33-year-old former Girls Aloud singer and restauranteur Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini, 35, are due to be granted a decree nisi at the Central Family Court in London.

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini
Getty Images

Police searching for 'extremely vulnerable' man

Police are trying to trace missing 73-year-old Robert Mallet who they describe as "extremely vulnerable".

Robert Mallet was last seen at an address on Highfield Road, Middlesbrough, at about 15:30 yesterday, before walking his Alsatian dog.

Police are currently unable to provide a photograph of Mr Mallet, but he was last seen wearing an orange fluorescent jacket, a black woolly hat, jeans and black boots.

Durham teaching assistants vote for strike

In case you missed it yesterday - Teaching assistants in County Durham have voted to strike after rejecting a pay deal some claim would see them lose up to 20% of their salary.

About 2,000 members of Unison - mostly women - are angry at Durham County Council's plan to only pay them during term time.

The union has warned that any industrial action could force some schools to close.

Durham County Council says it's "very disappointed" by the decision to strike, and stressed its changes are to protect he authority from expensive equal pay claims.  

Roker Pier closed due to weather

Roker Pier will be closed today due to "adverse" weather conditions, Sunderland City Council has announced.

Roker Pier
Sunderland City Council

North Durham GPs private contract referral "disgraceful", says MP

There is concern that patients in County Durham have not been notified that GPs must now ask a private company to decide on referrals to specialists.

North Durham Clinical Commissioning Group has awarded a contract to About Health, which will advise on the best way to manage a range of conditions.

Durham Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods said it was "disgraceful" the system had been put in place without a public consultation.

Health bosses said the move would save money, and GPs had been consulted.

Under the contract, doctors across north Durham will write to About Health for advice on whether a patient should be sent to a specialist or whether they should try other treatments.

Doctor's surgery

Hartlepool health body questions selection of hospital boss as leader for new NHS plans

Hartlepool Mail


A civic leader has questioned the choice of a local hospital boss to lead new large-scale plan for change in the NHS after the removal of services from Hartlepool hospital.

Front page
Hartlepool Mail

Weather: Sunny spells and isolated showers

Owain Wyn Evans

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

Any low cloud and mist will lift in the morning to leave sunny spells through the day.

The risk of isolated, sharp showers will continue.

It will feel cool around the coast with an onshore breeze. 

Check the weather where you are.

Dog found buried alive in Redcar with nail in head

A dog was found buried alive with a nail in its head in Teesside in what the RSPCA has described as a "horrifying, cruel act".

A couple walking in Kirkleatham Woods, Redcar, heard whimpering and found the terrier-type animal in a mound of earth at about midday.

It was rushed to a vet but its injuries were so serious it had to be put down.

The RSPCA said more than one person would have been involved.

Inspector Nick Jones said: "In all my ten years working for the RSPCA, I have never known anything so horrifying and inexplicably cruel.

X Ray of the dog

Travel: One lane closed on A1 southbound

BBC Travel

One lane is closed and there's queuing traffic on the A1(M) southbound between J64, A195 (Washington) and J63, A167 (Chester-le-Street) because of an accident involving two vehicles.

More travel updates here.

Welcome to our live coverage

Ana Guerra-Moore

BBC News Online

Morning. Welcome to our live coverage

We'll be with you throughout the day bringing you news, sport, weather and travel from across the North East.

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