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Summary

  1. Updates on Tuesday 14 February 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Football

Luton are too strong for struggling Hartlepool as they ease to a 3-0 victory at Kenilworth Road in League Two.

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Our live coverage across the day

That's all from us for another day - thank you for joining us.

You can catch up with the latest news tonight on BBC TeesBBC NewcastleLook North and online.

Get in touch on TwitterFacebook, or via email at northeast.locallive@bbc.co.uk.

We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00.

Weather: Cloudy night ahead

BBC Weather

It will become cloudier during the evening and overnight with extensive mist, low cloud and hill fog developing, and likely remaining frost-free. The odd spot of spot of drizzle is possible, especially across the hills.  

Weather
BBC

Thousands sign petition against parking charges

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition against new parking proposals in Seaton Carew.

Hartlepool Town Council will meet on Monday to discuss implementing parking charges and what impact it will have on the local area.

The petition was delivered to the Town Hall earlier today by some of the locals responsible.

The council said the proposal was for a £1 seasonal charge for two hours parking at car parks in the town.

It said: "Ongoing cuts in public funding have forced the council to look at a range of options to reduce the costs across the council and generate income so we can maintain a good level of services across the town."

It said there would be further meetings with residents and businesses.

Seaton Carew car parking charge peition
BBC

More than 130 motorists found on phones

More than 130 drivers were caught using their phones in a week, Durham Police have said.

On 23 January, the force started a week-long crackdown with 61 drivers stopped in Cleveland and 72 in County Durham and Darlington.

At present, the offence carries a £100 fine and three penalty points. In March the penalties will increase to six points and a £200 fine.

Insp Harry Simpson said: “While I believe the vast majority of drivers on our roads are behaving sensibly, we still caught 133 drivers who were putting themselves and others at serious risk. These people will now have to deal with the consequences of their actions.”

Meeting to discuss ward closure

Health chiefs will hold a public meeting on Thursday to discuss plans to permanently close the 12 bed inpatient ward at Rothbury Community Hospital.

It is part of a three-month consultation by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which will run until 25 April.

Dr Alistair Blair, Clinical Chair at the CCG, said: “We know how much interest there is in Rothbury about the consultation and we recognise how much the hospital is valued. We want to make the best possible use of this building and are very keen to work with the local community to help do that.”

The meeting will start at 14:00 at Jubilee Hall on Bridge Street, Rothbury.

The meeting will also discuss a Health and Wellbeing Centre on the hospital site which could include the relocation of the GP practice, more physiotherapy services and more inpatient clinics including possibly using video links so that patients can have a consultation with a specialist who is based at another hospital.

Woman robbed in Middlesbrough park

A woman was thrown to the ground by her hair and had her bags stolen, police have said.

The 44-year-old was attacked in Ayresome Gardens Park at about 18:30 on Saturday.

Cleveland Police said two men grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the ground before making off with her bags which contained a purse, money, keys and a mobile phone.

One of the men is described as being of Asian appearance, in his 20s, clean shaven and of medium build with black short hair and he was wearing a black Adidas tracksuit with white stripes. The second man is described as white with mousey brown hair which is shaved at the side, has stubble and is of large build and was wearing a dark jumper, dark jeans and a dark cap.

'Firearm' was folded walking stick

A suspected firearm which sparked a police search in Newcastle was in fact a folded walking stick.

Northumbria Police were called to Fenham Hall Drive at about midday to reports of a woman carrying a firearm but, as previously reported, they could find "nothing untoward". 

Officers are "now satisfied" that the object was the walking stick.

Central Area Command Ch Insp John Heckels said: "The caller did absolutely the right thing, they were concerned about what they had seen and believed it to be a firearm and reported it to police. Thankfully this has turned out not the be the case and it was in fact a walking stick. 

"We know this incident has caused some concern to the local community and I'd like to thank them for their co-operation while we carried out our inquiries into this incident and hope they feel reassured this was a call made in good faith."     

Severe accident: A1042 North Yorkshire both ways

BBC News Travel

A1042 North Yorkshire both ways severe accident, between Waveney Road and Roseberry Road.

A1042 North Yorkshire - A1042 Kirkleatham Lane in Redcar closed and slow traffic in both directions between the Waveney Road junction and the Roseberry Road junction, because of an accident.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

Air ambulance 'feels the love'

The Great North Air Ambulance is thanking those who sent the charity Valentine's messages.

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'Nothing untoward' found in firearm report

Reports that a woman carrying a firearm had been spotted near a school in Newcastle were a false alarm, police have said.

Northumbria Police said they carried out an extensive search of the Fenham Hall Drive area earlier but found "nothing untoward".

During the incident, teachers at the Sacred Heart Catholic High School were advised to keep pupils inside while police carried out a search of the area. 

A force spokesman said: "This was as a precaution and not as a result of any specific threat. Other schools in the area took the decision themselves to keep pupils inside. Neighbourhood officers are in the area to offer reassurance to local schools."  

Heart clouds photographed on Valentine's Day

Photographer Alison Leddy said she came across a "lucky sky" when she managed to get a picture of a heart-shaped gap in the clouds at Bamburgh on Valentine's Day morning.

Ms Leddy, who wanted to capture the sunrise, said: "I was set up beside the famous heart-shaped pool, then this happened. It's a genuine shot, no tricks, just a lucky sky I suppose. 

"I'm really thrilled with this shot."

Bamburgh
Alison Leddy

If you have a photo you'd like to share with us you can tweet us, email us, or contact us via our Facebook page.

Two lanes blocked on A1

Two of the three lanes of the A1 southbound near Birtley are blocked.

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Shop staff threatened with axe during robbery

Staff at a shop in Cullercoats were threatened with an axe by a robber who made off with some cash.

The man targeted the One Stop Shop on Saint George's Road at about 22:00 on Monday, Northumbria Police said. The force said staff were shocked but otherwise uninjured.

One Stop Shop
Google

The suspect was carrying a large axe with a yellow handle and is described as being white, more than 6ft tall, possibly early 20s, with a thin build and a local accent.

He was wearing a scarf over his face, a hooded jacket, dark tracksuit bottoms and trainers and carrying a large black bag.   

Caravan crash causes heavy traffic on A19

BBC Travel

There is heavy traffic and one lane blocked on the A19 southbound between the A181 junction in Wingate and the A179 junction in Sheraton because of an accident involving caravan. 

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New 'pupera' star sought

Theatre producers are searching for a small and well-behaved dog to appear in an opera in Sunderland.

La Boheme will be performed at the Sunderland Empire on 11 March and a dog is needed to take part.

Scene from La Boheme featuring a dog
Sunderland Empire

Director and producer Ellen Kent said: “Many years ago when we last did La Boheme and asked local people to volunteer their pets it was a huge success. We even used a rescue dog once and found him dozens of new owners."

To audition your dog, send a photograph to jules@ellenkent.co.uk by 20 February.

Newcastle scientist: 'Sea pollution levels same as industrial zone'

Dr Alan Jamieson from Newcastle University said the amount of pollution found deep in the Pacific was similar to an industrial zone.

The chemicals he and his team found within sea creatures were banned in the 1970s.

He said: "The amphipods we sampled contained levels of contamination similar to that found in Suruga Bay [in Japan], one of the most polluted industrial zones of the northwest Pacific."  

Map of trenches
NPG

Almost 600 homes without power

A power cut has struck in Stockton.

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Police seek missing teenager

Have you seen Brandon Rainbow? He was last seen on Premier Road, Middlesbrough, at about 19:00 on Friday.

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Chemicals banned in 1970s found within crustaceans

A team led by Dr Alan Jamieson at Newcastle University sampled levels of pollutants in the fatty tissue of amphipods (a type of crustacean) from deep below the Pacific Ocean surface.

The animals were retrieved using specially designed "lander" vehicles deployed from a boat over the Mariana and Kermadec trenches, which are over 10km deep and separated from each other by 7,000km.

The pollutants found in the amphipods included polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were commonly used as electrical insulators and flame retardants.

PCB production was banned by the US in 1979 and by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, a UN treaty signed in 2001.

From the 1930s to when PCBs were banned in the 1970s, the total global production of these chemicals is estimated to be in the region of 1.3 million tonnes.

Football gossip: Middlesbrough track Kachunga

BBC Sport

Middlesbrough, Everton and Watford are tracking forward Elias Kachunga, who is on loan at Huddersfield from Ingolstadt. The 24-year-old German is the top scorer for the promotion-chasing Championship side this season, with 10 goals.(Daily Mirror)

Elias Kachunga
Getty Images

Have you seen a roadblock like this?

Ever felt sheepish about getting in someone's way?

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Darlington-built Tornado steams across country

A Darlington-built engine will be pulling the first timetabled steam services in decades on the Settle-Carlisle line.

Tornado, the newest steam locomotive in Britain, will pull 12 Northern services on the Settle-Carlisle line over three consecutive days.

Tornado steam train to run timetabled passenger service

It is part of celebrations to mark the upcoming re-opening of the line after landslides closed a long stretch.

The £3m Tornado 60163, which is able to achieve speeds of 75mph (120km/h), was built in Darlington and Doncaster by a group of enthusiasts over 18 years and completed in 2008.

Steam engine on viaduct
PA

A Peppercorn A1 Class locomotive, it was the first main line steam engine to be built in the UK since the 1960s.

Dwight Gayle set to be in squad for Norwich v Newcastle match

BBC Sport

Rafael Benitez says striker Dwight Gayle will be in the squad for the first time since January's 2-1 win against Brentford for tonight's match against Norwich at Carrow Road.

Gayle, who has 20 goals in 24 games, has been out with a hamstring injury.

Dwight Gayle shoots during Hull V Newcastle match in November 2016
Reuters

Newcastle academics find banned chemicals deep in ocean

Chemicals banned in the 1970s have been found in the deepest reaches of the Pacific Ocean, a new study shows.

A team of scientists led by academics from Newcastle University were surprised by the relatively high concentrations of pollutants like PCBs and PBDEs in deep sea ecosystems.

A sea creature
Dr Alan Jamieson, Newcastle Uni

Used widely during much of the 20th Century, these chemicals were later found to be toxic and to build up in the environment.

The results were published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Weather: Feeling slightly warmer with some sunny spells

BBC Weather

Feeling less cold than on Monday, with lighter south-easterly winds.

Cloud is likely to break through the day, leading to some sunny spells developing. 

Maximum temperature: 7C (45F).

Lisa Gallagher and weather graphic
BBC

Welcome to our live coverage

Thank you for joining us here on North East Local Live on Valentine's Day!

Swans
Jim Jones

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

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.