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  1. Updates on Thursday 29 December 2016

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Our live coverage across the day

Thanks for joining us for live coverage of today's news.

We're finished for the day. In the meantime you can find the latest news online, on BBC Tees, on BBC Newcastle and on Look North.

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

If you would like to get in touch then use TwitterFacebook, or email

Weather: Cloudy overnight with the odd spot of rain by morning

Rather cloudy overnight, perhaps with the odd spot of drizzle by morning. The east of the region should see the best of any cloud breaks, perhaps with a touch of grass frost by morning.

Minimum Temperature: 1C (34F).

weather graphic

Brian Clough statue at Albert Park repaired

A statue of football legend Brian Clough has been repaired after a crack was found.

The 7ft bronze statue of the legendary Middlesbrough FC goal scorer who went on to become a successful manager has been standing at the town's Albert Park since 2007.

However, in July a crack was found above Clough's bronze ankle, and the statue was fenced off.

Experts have now carried out repairs and the fencing has been removed.

Brian Clough statue repair
Middlesbrough Council

Newcastle United to remember keeper Srnicek

Newcastle United will pay tribute to the club's former goalkeeper Pavel Srnicek before Friday’s match against Nottingham Forest at St James’ Park.

The 47-year-old died on 29 December last year, nine days after suffering a cardiac arrest in his native Czech Republic

The club said it would mark the first anniversary of his death before the 19:45 kick-off.

Pavel Srnicek
Getty Images

Srnicek, who made 190 appearances for the Magpies across two spells at the club, was brought in by then manager Kevin Keegan in January 1991 and quickly became a fans' favourite.

He left the club in 1998 and went on to play for Sheffield Wednesday, Brescia and Portsmouth among others, before returning to St James’ Park for the 2006/07 season.

A Newcastle United spokesman said the thoughts of everyone at the club were with his family and friends.

Missile-throwing youths 'could have caused accident'

Three youths who threw missiles at moving vehicles in North Tyneside are being sought by police.

The boys, aged between 13 and 18, were spotted on West Bailey, outside Redwood Close in Killingworth, on 22 December between 22:15 and 22:30.

They ran off after one of the missiles damaged a vehicle's wheel arch.

Insp Gary Jones, from Northumbria Police, said:"This behaviour is extremely mindless and dangerous. 

"They could have potentially caused a collision to happen and people could have been seriously injured."

Man dies nine months after assault

A man has died nine months after he was assaulted in Sunderland.

Michael Stead (pictured) suffered serious head injuries during the attack in Brady Street in the Pallion area of the city on 21 March.

The 34-year-old was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital in a critical condition, and died on Wednesday.

Northumbria Police said four people had previously been charged in connection with the assault, and were going through the court system.

Michael Stead
Northumbria Police

East Coast Main Line passenger numbers 'top one million'

Helen Richardson

BBC Newcastle

The number of Virgin Trains passengers travelling between Edinburgh and London on the East Coast mainline has surpassed one million a year for the first time. 

The operator said it has seen 8% growth on the route over the past 12 months. 

Virgin train
Virgin Trains

It said a key driver in the growth has been an increase in the number of passengers choosing train over plane. 

In 2015 Virgin Trains carried 976,000 passengers between Edinburgh and London on the East Coast mainline. This year it broke through the one million mark in mid December. 

Final figures for the full year will not be available until January.   

Newcastle and Sunderland fans join forces for charity match

Mark Denten

BBC Look North

Sunderland and Newcastle fans are  this afternoon taking part in a charity football match for Bradley Lowery.

Earlier this month, the family of the five-year-old, of Blackhall Colliery, near Hartlepool, was told by doctors that his neuroblastoma could not be beaten.

He received more than 250,000 Christmas cards from across the world.

It is hoped this afternoon's match at the Silksworth Centre in Sunderland will raise £2,000.

Newcastle and Sunderland fans play in charity match

Man and woman in court over Christmas Eve death

A man and a woman have appeared in court charged with the murder of a 19-year-old.

Owen Kerry was stabbed in Cramlington Working Men's Club on Christmas Eve.

Lyndsey Harper, 36, of Queens Gardens, Annitsford, and Brian Cahill, 35, of Northern Terrace, Dudley, entered no plea.

The judge at Newcastle Crown Court remanded them in custody and they will return to the court on 24 January.

Owen Kerry
Owen Kerry/Facebook

Football: Pickford out for at least six weeks

Sunderland will be without in-form goalkeeper Jordan PIckford for six to eight weeks after he injured his knee on Boxing Day.

Black Cats manager David Moyes said fortunately he had not ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament but he had strained it.

He said it was a "major disappointment".

Jordan Pickford
Getty Images

Travel: A1 reopened after lorry fire but still long delays

Highways England says the A1 has now been reopened fully after a lorry caught fire earlier (pictured below).

The road was originally closed both ways between Catterick North and Scotch Corner with a diversion set up.

A lane southbound was reopened initially and now the road had been completely reopened after the vehicle was recovered and the scene cleaned up.

However Highways England said there would still be delays.

lorry on fire
North Yorkshire Fire Service

Former Hartlepool player, Norman Rimmington, dies aged 93

A Barnsley footballer, who also made more than 120 appearances for Hartlepool United, has died aged 93.

Norman Rimmington, known as "Rimmo", signed with Barnsley FC in 1945.

The fearless" goalkeeper moved to Hartlepool United in 1947, where he stayed for five years.

On his return to Barnsley he held numerous posts, including assistant manager, groundsman and physio. 

Norman Rimmington
BBC Sport

Football: Karanka looking forward to meeting Mourinho

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

Aitor Karanka has been holding his press conference ahead of Middlesbrough's trip to Manchester United on Saturday.

He says he's looking forward to pitting wits against former mentor Jose Mourinho.

Karanka worked alongside the Manchester United manager when Mourinho was manager at Read Madrid - Karanka was his assistant.

Aitor Karanka press conference

Thousands dive in with Tynemouth Outdoor Pool fund pledges

A bid to restore an abandoned lido to its former glory has raised more than a quarter of a million pounds.

Tynemouth Outdoor Pool, in North Tyneside, was once a popular visitor attraction but has been derelict since the 1990s.

Campaigners have set up a Community Share Offer scheme, inviting people to invest in a project for a heated pool on the site.

In two weeks more than £300,000 has been pledged.

Tynemouth Pool

Travel: A1 soutbound partially reopened but A1 northbound remains closed after lorry fire

BBC Tees

The A1 southbound between Scotch Corner and Catterick has been partially reopened after the lorry fire. Northbound remains closed.  

More information on the BBC Travel website for Teesside.

Woman sought over stab attack

A man was left with stab wounds after being attacked at a house in Northumberland, police said.

The 43-year-old victim, who has not been named, was at an address in Springhill Walk in Morpeth on Wednesday night when the incident happened.

He suffered two stab wounds to his leg, but managed to flee the property and was later found outside Morpeth Town Hall.

He was taken to hospital, where he is still receiving treatment.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said the alleged attacker was in her mid-20s and of slim build.

It is believed the pair were known to each other. 

Talented Hartlepool singer hits high note with scholarship

Hartlepool Mail


A young musician’s singing career has reached a crescendo after being awarded a scholarship.

Dan Cooper with Mick Donnelly and coach Elena Larkin
Hartlepool Mail

Food thrown at elderly man in 'hate crime'

Helen Richardson

BBC Newcastle

An elderly man had food thrown at him in the street in what police have branded a hate crime.

The incident happened at about 12:30 on 22 December on Scrogg Road in Walker, Newcastle, according to Northumbria Police.

A spokesman said two men aged between 20 and 30 verbally abused the victim and threw food at him. They were with a woman who had a pushchair.

Detectives have appealed for witnesses.

Charity football match for Bradley Lowery

Richard Thomas

Look North

A fundraising football match for County Durham five-year-old, Bradley Lowery, is being held later. 

Just before Christmas, doctors said Bradley's neuroblastoma was incurable.

Bradley Lowery

The youngster, from Blackhall, near Peterlee, is now receiving treatment to give him more time with his family.

More than 250,000 Christmas cards and gifts were sent to Bradley's home from around the world

That charity match between Newcastle and Sunderland fans was organised by two Newcastle United supporters who were touched by Bradley's story.

It takes place at the Silksworth Centre in Sunderland at 14:30.

Travel: Metro services affected by 'driver resource issues'

Some Metros will be cancelled today because of 'driver resource issues', it has been announced.

View more on twitter

Photos: Sunrise at South Shields

How about this for a stunning sunrise - Press Association photographer Owen Humphreys took these shots of the sun coming up over the Groyne Pier and Lighthouse in South Shields this morning.

Sun rise over the Groyne at South Shields
Sun rise over the groyne at South Shields

Have you got any photos you'd like to share with us? In that case you can tweet them to @BBCNewsNEemail them, or contact us via our Facebook page.   

Travel: Diversions on A1 in North Yorkshire after lorry fire

The A1 in Catterick is closed and there is queuing traffic in both directions between Catterick North and Scotch Corner, because of a vehicle fire. A diversion is in operation.  

View more on twitter

Change of Sunderland venue for BBC tour

People with tickets to the BBC's Red Carpet Cinema Tour in Sunderland today are being warned the venue's changed.

The event features premieres of programmes including the first episode in the new series of The Worst Witch. 

Due to the weather, the location's moved from Cliff Park to the field next to the Morrisons supermarket on Whitburn Road.

Red carpet cinema tour

Weather: Cold and foggy start but milder later

Owain Wyn Evans

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

After a very cold and foggy start to the day we should see cloud linger across more northerly areas.

The best of any brighter weather will be confined to the south of the region and the coast.

Weather map

Maximum temperatures should reach about 7C.

Tonight increased cloud cover will lead to a milder feel than of late, with temperatures dipping to about 2C.

Travel: Trains running again after track fault

A track fault meant no trains were running between Monument and Heworth earlier.

They are now running again but there are still delays.

View more on twitter

Teenagers sexually assaulted in phone box

Police are hunting a man who sexually assaulted two teenagers in a Newcastle phone box on Boxing Day.

The girls were approached by a man on Pottery Lane who then carried out what was described as a serious sexual assault. 

He then left the area in a white VW Golf in the direction of Scotswood Road.

Northumbria Police has appealed for information about the incident at about 22:30.

Pottery Lane

Police issue rhyming alert to winter car drivers and warn about ice

Drivers are being warned to take care when they head out on the roads this morning.

Cleveland Police say ice patches across the area are causing some issue on roads and are advising people to leave extra space between the car in front.

And they have also created a de-icing advice rhyme...

View more on twitter

Travel: Metro passengers facing disruption

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