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  1. Updates on Wednesday 4 January 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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  1. Our live coverage across the day

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

    We're finished for the day. 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

  2. CCTV images released after prams stolen in Stockton

    Police have released these CCTV images of four men they would like to speak to in connection with the theft of two prams from outside of a property in Yarm Road in Stockton.

    The incident occurred on Saturday 17 December at 23:30.

    CCTV image of two of the men police would like to speak to.
    CCTV image of two of the men police would like to speak to.
  3. Cash raised for grieving Wearside mother to fly to Asia to cremate son

    BBC Look North

    North East and Cumbria

    A grieving mother is to fly to Cambodia to cremate her son, who was found dead with his new wife. 

    Robert Wells, 36, from Sunderland, married Imogen Goldie from London on Christmas Day but they were reportedly found hanged in a guest house a few days later. 

    Mr Wells's mother Collette set up an online appeal to fund a trip to Cambodia and has now reached her target of £3,000. 

    She says she is desperate to bring his ashes home. 

    Robert Wells from Sunderland
    Image caption: Robert Wells from Sunderland
  4. Teenager accused of rape appears in court

    BBC Newcastle

    A teenager accused of raping a woman in a park has appeared in court. 

    Adam Martin is alleged to have attacked her at Roker Park, in Sunderland, in November.

    The 19-year-old, of Joan Avenue in Ryhope appeared at Newcastle Crown Court via video link from Durham Prison. 

    He was not asked to enter a plea to the charge. A trial will be held in May.

  5. Fancy a sleepover at a museum?

    One of our region's museums is to hold a sleepover - for adults. 

    The event at the Great North Museum in Newcastle will take place in March. 

    It is the first time the museum has held such an event. 

    There will be music, a bar, food and entertainment 

    Dinosaur at the museum
    Image caption: Will it be a bit more scary at night?
  6. Serial killer's documents go for £2,600 at auction

    BBC Look North

    North East and Cumbria

    Official court documents from the trial of County Durham serial killer Mary Ann Cotton went up for auction this afternoon.

    Ms Cotton who lived in West Auckland was found guilty of murdering three of her four husbands and was suspected of murdering 11 of her children. 

    She was hanged in the 1800s at Durham jail. 

    The documents raised £2,600 at auction this afternoon.

    Photo of the documents
    Image caption: Documents detailing the execution.
  7. Body of man found in east Durham, police confirm

    Hartlepool Mail


    Police have confirmed that the body of a man was found on a beach in east Durham. 

    The grim find was made on Grants Houses Beach on Tuesday afternoon.

    Grants Houses, Horden.
    Image caption: Grants Houses, Horden.
  8. Hunt makes apology after hounds stray into hospice grounds

    BBC Newcastle

    A hunt based in County Durham has apologised after its hounds strayed on to the grounds of a hospice.

    The Braes of Derwent hunt was out yesterday. 

    It had laid a false scent trail for the dogs to follow, but while they were in the Maiden Law area the hounds picked up a live scent and strayed into Willowburn Hospice. 

    They led the hunt through the hospice grounds and on to the road.

    Police had to be called to stop traffic until the dogs could be brought under control. 

    Durham Police says a representative from Braes of Derwent has been to Willowburn hospital to apologise to the manager. 

    The force says it is also planning to speak to the hunt to offer some words of advice. 

    Image caption: Hounds
  9. Plan to make Hartlepool the Hollywood of the North with biggest UK film studio outside London

    Hartlepool Mail


     An ambitious plan to turn Hartlepool into a film and television production hub has been announced.

    Photo of former depot.
    Image caption: New plans for studio in a former council depot.
  10. BreakingSAFC reject bid for Defoe

    BBC Sport

    Sunderland have rejected West Ham's £6m bid for striker Jermain Defoe.  

    More to follow.

  11. County Durham mass murderers execution documents go up for auction

    Documents detailing the execution of a mass murderer Mary Ann Cotton 141 years are to go under the hammer.

    It is believed she killed 21 people including three of her husbands and 11 of her children.

    It is hoped the papers could go for £500 at the auction in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.

    Jasper Jennings from Tennants Auctioneers
    Image caption: Jasper Jennings from Tennants Auctioneers said his eyes lit up when he first saw the documents
  12. Missed appointments 'costing NHS more than £1m'

    The Shields Gazette

    Missed GP appointments in South Tyneside could be costing the NHS £1.2m a year. 

    Shields Gazette front page

    New figures from practices across the borough suggest that almost 3,000 appointments are missed with the borough’s GPs every month – costing the NHS in South Tyneside an estimated £1.2m a year and making it harder for other patients to see a GP.  

  13. Mary Ann Cotton documents go under the hammer

    Four documents linked to the execution of County Durham serial killer Mary Ann Cotton are being auctioned.

    The lot, to be sold at an auction at Tennants Auctioneers in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, includes a telegram (pictured below) from the deputy governor of Durham Prison to County Durham coroner John Milnes Favell, dated 22 March 1873, confirming the execution.

    Cotton telegram

    Cotton, from West Auckland, is widely believed to have killed three husbands, 10 children, a lover and her mother, collecting life insurance for each.

    She was hanged on 24 March 1873 at Durham Prison for murdering her stepson with arsenic. 

    Also included in the lot, which is expected to fetch about £500, is an arrest warrant and five signed witness statements.

    Last year letters found in Cotton's cell were sold for more than £1,000.

    Mary Ann Cotton
  14. Sexual assault in Northumberland

    A woman was sexually assaulted in Haltwhistle at 23:30 on Sunday. 

    The 46-year-old was standing outside the Comrades Club when a man dragged her into a nearby alleyway and attacked her. 

    The offender is described as a white man in his 30s, 5ft 6in, stocky, with short dark hair shaved on the sides and long on top. 

    He had a Cumbrian accent and was wearing a dark coloured V-neck short sleeved T-shirt and jeans. 

  15. How North East singer Sting led the way when one of his songs was used in an advert

    Wallsend-born artist Sting not only allowed a carmaker to use one of his songs in an advert, but even appeared in it too. 

    It was a landmark for what is now known as "sync licensing".

    Read more here.

    Sting singing
    Image caption: Sting's campaign for his Desert Rose single relied heavily on "sync licensing"
  16. Alfie Smith’s delight as generous entrepreneur calls in to honour £16k pledge

    Hartlepool Mail


    A schoolboy aiming to raise £50,000 for a life-changing operation was greeted to a surprise visit from the man who has helped him smash the half-way mark.

    Matt Haycox with Alfie Smith, after match funding £16,000 towards his operation.
    Image caption: Matt Haycox with Alfie Smith, after match funding £16,000 towards his operation.