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  1. Updates on Wednesday 15 February 2017

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

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Port Talbot

Tata Steel union members back a plan from the company to move from a final salary pension to a less generous scheme.

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We'll be back tomorrow from 08:00.

Weather: Rain clearing to leave a mainly dry night

Outbreaks of rain clearing during the early part of the night to leave mainly dry later with variable cloud and some clear spells. 

Becoming rather breezy later in the night. 

Minimum Temperature: 5C (41F).

weather graphic

Borough Road changes 'could drive shoppers away'

BBC Tees

Businesses on one of Middlesbrough town centre's busiest roads say they fear changes to its layout will drive people to shop elsewhere.

Borough Road, between Albert Road and Jedburgh Street, is being reduced from four lanes to two.

A dedicated lane for right-turning traffic will be introduced at the junction with Woodlands Road and Middlesbrough Council hopes a more 'pedestrian-friendly' environment will be created by converting some of the current road into a larger footpath.

Deputy mayor and executive member for regeneration, Charlie Rooney, backs the changes and says: "We're getting increasing footfall in the town and improving the town for people."

Race to raise money to save Newcastle Green Festival

Rebecca O'Neill

BBC Newcastle

There is a race to raise £8,000 to prevent Newcastle's Green Festival from being cancelled.

It has been running for the last 20 years close to the city centre in Leazes Park. 

The deadline to raise the money is 08:00 tomorrow.

Muscians performing at the annual Newcastle Green Festival
Newcastle Green Festival

The festival brings together charities, community groups and organisations to look at social issues such a fuel poverty, homelessness and the environment and there are bands and stalls

But now because of increasing costs to put the event on and cuts to council grants, the future of the festival is in trouble. 

In a statement, Newcastle City Council said: "If we are to continue to support the most vulnerable people in the city we need to find ways to make savings and generate income. Unfortunately this means that we are no longer in a position to provide financial support for events organised by others in the city."

Tributes to Police Interceptors officer

A Durham police officer who featured in the television show Police Interceptors has died at the age of 34. 

PC Gavin Smith, from Bishop Auckland, had recently undergone treatment for cancer which had spread to his spine.

He died at home with his family and leaves his wife Kezi and daughter Tilly, four.

His wife said: "I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support which has been overwhelming.

"It has been a real comfort to both me and Tilly that he was so well regarded by so many."

PC Gavin Smith
Durham Constabulary
PC Gavin Smith

He was originally from Whitley Bay, had been with Durham Police for 12 years and worked with the Roads Policing Unit out of the Spennymoor station. 

"Gav was extremely popular with colleagues and always had a smile on his face. He really was a glass half-full kind of guy and even right towards the end he was thinking about other people and about supporting his family."

Insp Ed TurnerDurham Constabulary

Annual women's North East Glass Slipper awards shortlist announced

The Chronicle

Inspiring women from across the North East will share the spotlight at the upcoming Glass Slipper Awards.

The shortlist for the Glass Slipper Awards
The Chronicle

Hartlepool Council says rise in Council Tax won't secure all services

BBC Tees

Hartlepool Council has warned jobs and services could still be under threat despite the authority's plans to increase Council Tax bills by more than £1 per week in a bid to tackle a funding crisis in adult social care.

It'll be the first time in five years the town's Council Tax payers will have seen their bill rise.

Other local authorities across the BBC Tees region are also planning to add up to £79 a year to their average Council Tax bill.

The Government has said it's a matter for councils to decide how to use funding to deliver social care, but Hartlepool Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher rejects that claim.

He said: "For the last six years the Government has systematically withdrawn the grant funding that all councils rely on to deliver services. Even if we have an increase in Council Tax, the Government is still leaving us with a huge budget gap."

Top New York gallery takes North East staircase maker to the next level

The Journal


Artistic engineers from the North East are taking their business to new heights in New York. 

A Clifford Chapman staircase
New-York Historical Society Museum and Library

North East unemployment up 7%

There has been a rise in the number of people out of work in the North East. 

Between October and December unemployment went up by 11,000 to 90,000 - meaning 7% of people in our region are without a job - the highest rate in the country. 

Nationally, unemployment fell by 7,000 to 1.6m people.

Thousands call for Seaton Carew parking charge plans to be scrapped

Hartlepool Mail


A petition calling on council chiefs to put the brake on plans to charge visitors to park in Seaton Carew has been handed over after gaining more than 3,400 signatures.

Campaigners at Hartlepool Council
Hartlepool Mail

Durham County Cricket Club confirms County Championship venue

Durham have confirmed their County Championship game against Leicestershire starting on the 5 May will be held at South Northumberland Cricket Club. 

It'll be third time in four years Durham have held a game at the Gosforth venue.

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Attempted murder arrest over shop stabbing

BBC Tees

A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following an assault in Stockton.

Police were called to the incident at Like Eat takeaway shop on Tarring Street at about 18:20 on Tuesday.

A 31-year-old man was taken to James Cook University Hospital with knife wounds to his arm, leg and torso. He is said to be in a stable condition.

A 37-year-old man from Stockton is in police custody.

'Unique' Fester finds new home

Abandoned because of his bizarre looks, Fester the boxer dog, who is blind in one eye and has a protruding lower jaw, has finally found a new home

Fester the 'unique' abandoned dog seeks new home

The one-year-old stray was taken to the Dogs Trust in Darlington where staff became concerned that his quirky appearance was stopping a new owner from coming forward.

Fester has had a rough time and it is fantastic news he will have a new home where he can settle and hopefully his character will shine through."

The Dogs Trust, Darlington

Kidney dialysis man 'fit to work'

BBC Newcastle

If you've seen the Tyneside-set film I, Daniel Blake, you'll know it focuses on a man's battle with the benefits system.

Well, a man from Wearside who has to go to hospital three times a week for kidney dialysis has been telling BBC Newcastle he's had his benefits cut after being declared fit to work.

Alex Crawley, 29, from Washington, says he lives in "constant pain" and has been waiting for a kidney transplant for six years.

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His Personal Independence Payments were stopped in August after he passed the assessment. The Carer's Allowance paid to his partner, Cassandra, has also been stopped.

The Department for Work and Pensions says decisions over the payments take medical evidence into account and can be appealed if the claimant disagrees with result.

Ramsdens floats on London Stock Exchange

BBC Tees

It's a name seen wherever Middlesbrough play and it's on just about every high street in the North East.

Now Teesside-based pawnbrokers and financial services firm Ramsdens, which sponsors Boro, is set to raise millions of pounds by selling shares on the London Stock Exchange from today.

Headquartered at Coulby Newham, it has about 130 stores across the UK. It does far more than pawnbroking though and 75% of it business is now in foreign exchange - it changed more than £300m last year.

It shares had a launch price of 86p each.

Middlesbrough player Stewart Downing in a Ramsdens-sponsored shirt

Body confirmed as missing Andrew Roy

The body of a man which was found in Hartlepool Marina on Monday has been formally identified as missing Andrew Roy from Cornwall.

The 51-year-old was last seen on CCTV footage in the area of Hartlepool dock at about 22:55 on 9 February.

Cleveland Police said a file was being passed to the coroner.

Andrew Roy
Cleveland Police

Former SAFC striker's hair deemed 'unethical'

Former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan is among a group of more than 40 players deemed to have "unethical hair" under United Arab Emirates Football Association guidelines.

The 31-year-old Ghanaian is on loan at Dubai-based Arabian Gulf League side Al Ahli from Shanghai SIPG.

In 2012, Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Waleed Abdullah was told to cut his "un-Islamic" hair by the referee before playing for his club side Al Shabab.

Asamoah Gyan
Getty Images

The Saudi rule bans mohawk-style cuts. Some Islamic teachings ban 'Qaza' hairstyles, which include mohawks, because only part of the head is shaved, leaving other parts unshaven.   

Finley Ingles in Texas for brain tumour treatment

Stuart Whincup

BBC Look North

They've travelled about 5,000 miles to the Unites States to get the surgery that could change their son's life.

Five-year-old Finley Ingles, from Middlesbrough, has a rare brain tumour that can't be operated on in this country.

But after a fundraising campaign raised £200,000, his family have made the journey to Texas where Finley is set for groundbreaking surgery as doctors try to shrink the tumour with lasers.

His parents have described the treatment as "nerve-wracking" and say it could be "life-changing".

Finley Ingles

Iridescent clouds

Carolyn Farthing sent us this beautiful photo of colourful clouds at sunrise in Consett this morning.

Iridescent clouds
Carolyn Farthing

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

Severe disruption: A1058 Tyne And Wear eastbound

BBC News Travel

A1058 Tyne And Wear eastbound severe disruption, at A19.

A1058 Tyne And Wear - The main road is closed, with traffic being routed around the junction and back on again, and heavy traffic on A1058 Coast Road eastbound in Newcastle Upon Tyne at Silverlink Roundabout, because of roadworks. Diversion in operation - via the exit and entry slip roads.

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


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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Power restored in Seaham

The power has now been restored to thousands of properties in Seaham.

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Cyclist seriously injured in collision

A cyclist is in hospital with "life-changing" injuries after being hit by a taxi in South Shields.

The collision happened at about 21:30 on Tuesday on Beach Road outside the Marine Pub.

The cyclist, a 25-year-old man, is currently in hospital receiving treatment for serious life-changing injuries, Northumbria Police said.

Marine Pub, South Shields

Weather: Murky with mist and cloud

BBC Weather

It's a murky start in the North East with extensive mist, low cloud and hill fog gradually lifting to allow some brighter spells to develop.

It will turn cloudy again in the late afternoon with some light rain, mainly over hills. Expect light winds throughout the day and a mild feel.

Outbreaks of light rain will clear during the evening to leave a mainly dry night with variable cloud and some clear spells. It's set to be breezy and rather chilly later in the night.

Weather forecast, Wednesday 15 February 2017
Rafa Benitez

Norwich City and Newcastle United play out a thrilling draw at Carrow Road after the Magpies had led after 23 seconds.

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

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