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Billingham-manufactured vaccine to go on trial

A trial of a new vaccine that appears to train the immune system to fight coronavirus has begun in the UK.

Early tests showed the jab, developed by US biotechnology company Novavax, leads to high levels of virus-fighting antibodies being produced.

The vaccine will be produced by FujiFilm at its site in Billingham.

It has already been tested on animals and a small number of people, and 10,000 people will now take part in the trial, with at least a quarter of them over 65, the age-group most at risk of severe Covid-19.

The UK government has already ordered 60 million doses in case it proves effective

Vaccine development

Severe accident: A1(M) County Durham southbound

BBC News Travel

A1(M) County Durham southbound severe accident, from J62 for A690 to J61 for A688 Tursdale Road.

A1(M) County Durham - A1(M) partially blocked and queues southbound from J62, A690 (Carrville) to J61, A688 (Bowburn), because of an accident.

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

Arrests in "county lines" drug operation

Eighteen people have been arrested during a multi-force crackdown aimed at disrupting a suspected organised criminal group, believed to be running a County Line shipping Class A drugs into the north of England.

As part of Operation Girona, warrants were executed at 15 addresses in Gateshead, Newcastle, Stanley, Pelton Fell, Peterlee and Seaham and in Widnes, Crewe, the Wirral, and Liverpool.

It resulted in the seizure of £16,000 in cash, 175g of heroin, more than 12,000 suspected illegal cigarettes, and 32 mobile phones.

The 13 men, aged between 18 and 57, and five women, aged between 31 and 59, were all arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and later released under investigation.

Operation Girona raid
Northumbria Police

Det Ch InspJamie Pitt, from Northumbria Police, praised the results of the partnership activity and desribed county lines drug dealing as an "appalling practice".

He said: "Whilst this hasn’t taken hold in our area like it has in some other parts of the country, we are not going to be complacent and will continue to take robust action, and embrace the valuable lessons learned in other parts of the country.”

Little Mix insist TV show contestants are given help

Mark Savage

Music reporter, BBC News

Little Mix say they insisted on aftercare for contestants on their reality show after seeing how the music industry treats young artists.

The band, which includes Perrie Edwards and Jade Thirlwall from South Shields, have been open about the effects of fame on their mental health and say they were essentially left to cope on their own after winning the eighth series of The X Factor in 2011.

After those experiences, they explain they will be more involved on their show, The Search, which premieres on BBC One on Saturday and sees the Brit Award-winners putting together a series of groups, who will compete for a support slot on Little Mix's arena tour next year.

"There's a lot more awareness now about mental health, but people still just see the pop, the smiles and the stage, and they don't really understand what goes on. I kind of wish there was a lot more help along the way," said fellow bandmate Leigh-Anne Pinnock.

Little Mix

Missing Prudhoe man found after 11-hour search

A man in his 60s who'd been reported missing from home in Prudhoe has been found by members of the North of Tyne Mountain Rescue service.

The volunteer members and police searched footpaths and wooded areas down towards the River Tyne, and Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service and the Police Marine Unit searched the river and banks either side.

William Tailford, who is known locally as Tony, was found safe late yesterday afternoon near to the River Tyne having been out all night.

Apart from being wet and cold, he was otherwise well.

Northumberland National park MRT
Northumberland National park MRT

Tyneside Cinema bosses to step down amid abuse failure review

In news that was announced last night, two bosses of an independent cinema are stepping down amid a review into the handling of abuse allegations.

Almost 200 past and present employees of the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle complained about systemic failure to deal with claims of harassment and sexual abuse. The review's findings are due to be published in the next few weeks.

Chairwoman Lucy Armstrong and chief executive Holli Keeble said it was "right we move aside".

Click here to read the full story.

Tyneside Cinema

Severe accident: A19 Tyne And Wear northbound

BBC News Travel

A19 Tyne And Wear northbound severe accident, from A1056 Killingworth Way to A189.

A19 Tyne And Wear - A19 in Newcastle upon Tyne closed and queues for two miles northbound from Killingworth junction to Moor Farm Roundabout, because of an accident involving three vehicles. Congestion to the A191 (Holystone Roundabout).

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

Severe accident: A189 Tyne And Wear southbound

BBC News Travel

A189 Tyne And Wear southbound severe accident, between Miller and A189.

A189 Tyne And Wear - A189 in Newcastle closed southbound between the Miller junction and Findus Roundabout, because of an accident involving a car.

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

Second platform study to be carried out

A study is to be carried out into reopening Hartlepool Station's second platform.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen (pictured with Hartlepool Council leader Shane Moore) said people are "crying out" for the second platform to be reopened

The Tees Valley Combined Authority previously approved spending £1.5m on a study of the proposed reopening which is due to be complete by early 2021.

Ben Houchen and Shane Moore at the station
Tees Valley Combined Authority

The station currently has two through lines, but only one operational through platform, the northwards line. The platform on the southwards line is disused and redundant, "limiting capacity and the potential for growth", a spokesman for the mayor said.

Mr Houchen said: “This station provides a direct line to connect Sunderland to the north, and York and London to the south, as well as across our other boroughs.

"Securing more funding and improving Hartlepool station will help us secure more services, which means more and better journeys for our businesses and local people."

Plans for 17 bungalows lodged

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Plans have been lodged for a new 17-bungalow development at the site of a former garden centre.

Proposals have been submitted to Hartlepool Borough Council planning department to carry out the work at the former Inspirations Garden Centre in Tanfield Road.

The plans from North Star Housing Development state they want to demolish the building and the remaining greenhouses at the site and create 17 two bedroom bungalows, including two which will be wheelchair accessible.

Garden centre

It comes after earlier this year the Hartlepool Borough Council Finance and Policy Committee unanimously approved plans to sell the land on Tanfield Road, home to the former garden centre, to a developer to provide bungalows in the town.

Speaking at the time, Denise McGuckin, who is now council managing director, said there is a demand for bungalows in the town which could be supported by the site.

A decision is expected to be made on the proposals by the council planning department in December this year.

Suspected poachers arrested after crashing car

Suspected poachers have been arrested after crashing their own car while fleeing from police.

A report was received at 23:45 last night of alleged hare coursing near Hexham, Northumberland, after lights were seen dotted around the area.

Officers from Northumbria Police were called to investigate and said high-powered lamps were shone at their patrol car on the A69.

Moments later, the vehicle being pursued collided with a roundabout as it exited the A69 at Throckley, bringing it to a halt.

Four men from the Sunderland area, aged between 28 and 24, have been arrested on suspicion of driving offences. They were uninjured.

Three Lurcher dogs found inside the car were taken to kennels. Lamps were also seized.

police footage of the crashed car
Northumbria Police

Weekend Metro works cause stretch suspension

Overhead line renewal works mean no Metro trains will be running between Shiremoor and North Shields over the weekend.

Nexus says that a replacement bus service will be in operation and warned passengers to allow extra time for their journeys.

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Durham University pays tribute to 'journalistic pioneer'

The vice-chancellor of Durham University has paid tribute to former student and crusading editor Sir Harold Evans, who's died at the age of 92.

A Durham University graduate, he made his name at the Northern Echo in the 1960s by launching campaigns which resulted in a national screening programme for cervical cancer and a posthumous pardon for Timothy Evans, wrongly hanged for murder in 1950.

While editor for The Sunday Times his campaigns against injustice and for the highest journalistic standards forged his reputation.

Durham University vice-chancellor Prof Stuart Corbridge, said: “Our community is devastated to learn of the loss of alumnus Sir Harold Evans - a journalistic pioneer whose exceptional career spanned decades and whose legacy will influence generations to come.

Sir Harold Evans
Getty Images

Sir Harry is a deep loss to us all and will be remembered fondly here by so many of our staff, students, and alumni alike. Our thoughts and best wishes are with his family.”

Professor Stuart Corbridge

Sir Harold was a former student of University College, Durham, where he read Politics and Economics, graduating with honours in 1952.

He was later editor of Palatinate, the university’s student newspaper.

Restrictions could cause big drop in turnover, bar boss warns

BBC Radio Tees

A Teesside bar boss fears new coronavirus restrictions, including closing at 22:00, could lead to a 10 to 15% drop in turnover.

Michael Hill, who runs the Longlands Club and Faktory bar in Middlesbrough, warns some businesses in the sector may not survive the next six months.

"There's frustration but also apprehension," he said. "It's been a difficult time for the hospitality industry since the March lockdown.

"With the new restrictions, it's going to be even more difficult for pubs, clubs and restaurants."

As well as closing early, those businesses will also be restricted to table service only except for takeaways. Table bookings of more than six are not allowed and groups can't mingle.

The government says the measures are needed in light of a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases.

South Tyneside among country's virus hot-spots

South Tyneside now has the second-highest rate of new coronavirus infections in England after recording 286 cases in the week to Sunday.

Health chiefs recorded the equivalent of 189 cases per 100,000 people for the week up to 20 September.

Newcastle is just outside the country's top 10 infection hot-spots with a rate of 158 per 100,000.

Bolton, in the North West, had the highest infection rate with 212 new cases during that week - equivalent to 212 people per 100,000.

New guidelines across the country come into force today in an effort to slow the spread of the illness.

Sir Harold Evans dies at 92

Sir Harold Evans, the former Sunday Times editor who's died at the age of 92, will be fondly remembered in the North East.

A Durham University graduate, he made his name at the Northern Echo in the 1960s by launching campaigns that resulted in a national screening programme for cervical cancer and a posthumous pardon for Timothy Evans, wrongly hanged for murder in 1950.

While at The Sunday Times he led an investigation into the drug Thalidomide.

His 70-year career also saw him work as a magazine founder, book publisher, author and - at the time of his death - Reuters' editor-at-large.

Sir Harold died of heart failure in New York.

Sir Harold Evans
Getty Images

Severe disruption: A19 North Yorkshire northbound

BBC News Travel

A19 North Yorkshire northbound severe disruption, between A174 and A1046 Haverton Hill Road.

A19 North Yorkshire - A19 closed northbound between the A174 junction in Thornton and Portrack Interchange in Stockton-On-Tees, because of a spillage. Traffic is coping well.

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

Severe disruption: A19 North Yorkshire southbound

BBC News Travel

A19 North Yorkshire southbound severe disruption, around A174.

A19 North Yorkshire - A19 in Middlesbrough closed southbound around the A174 junction, because of a spillage. Traffic is coping well.

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

Arrest after firefighters 'threatened' during call-out

A man has been arrested after firefighters on Teesside said they were "threatened" on an emergency call-out.

Cleveland Police officers were called out to Garrett Walk in Middlesbrough just before 20:00 last night after being contacted by a fire crew.

A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of affray and is in custody.


Warning contains spoilers: First contestant leaves Bake Off

The Great British Bake Off returned to our screens last night after filming was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the 12 bakers aiming to win the competition is Loriea, a diagnostic radiographer from Durham.

Do not read any further unless you're happy with spoilers...

Sadly she was the first contestant to be voted off - always a very tough thing to take.

She described the experience of being in the tent as "momentous".

View more on twitter

Coronavirus restrictions 'place stranglehold on businesses'

Firms in Newcastle city centre have called on the government to offer a tailored package of measures to help them following the introduction of tighter coronavirus measures.

The area's hospitality trade saw a 60 to 90% drop in revenue last weekend, according to Business Improvement District organisation NE1.

That followed new guidelines being introduced by seven North East councils in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19.

NE1 said its 1,400 members had "expressed despair" at the restrictions, which include pub curfews and limits on the number of people who can mix.

Chief executive Adrian Waddell said: “Businesses understand the societal risks and the difficult decisions being taken locally, but these restrictions place an effective stranglehold on their operations and ability to trade.

"Because we now know they could remain in place until next year, we need the government to step in to save businesses and jobs. No business can afford to keep going with such huge restrictions imposed on their trading practices."

Shoppers at an entrance to Eldon Square in Newcastle city centre

Virus sees Newcastle school closed for two weeks

A primary school in Newcastle has shut for 14 days after seven members of staff and some pupils tested positive for Covid-19.

The city council said the decision to close North Fawdon Primary School from yesterday came after an increasing number of asymptomatic cases among pupils.

The Smart Multi-Academy Trust, which manages the school, said it was unable to maintain safe staffing levels but aimed to reopen on Monday 5 October.

Entrance to North Fawdon Primary School

Durham Police chief warns rule-breakers will be punished

Jill Archbold

BBC Look North

Durham Police's Chief Constable says her officers will clamp down on people persistently breaking the new coronavirus restrictions.

Jo Farrell said the force has initially tried to inform people about the rules, but will take action if they're repeatedly flouted.

"If we go to a location and... my officers know we're there for a second or third time... the latitude we'd allow at that point will be minimum," she said.

Her warning comes after the government announced 4,926 new coronavirus cases in the UK on Tuesday.

The North East became subject to extra measures last week and Prime Minister Boris Johnson extended them here and across England yesterday.

Durham Police chief constable Jo Farrell
Newcastle band 'honoured' by Mercury Prize nomination
Lanterns on the Lake's album came out just before lockdown and they thought it would be forgotten.

NHS Spitfire thanks NHS workers across North East

The NHS Spitfire has completed its mission to say thank you to NHS workers across hospitals in the North East.

With the message Thank U NHS written on the underside of its wings the aircraft has been seen by crowds of people this afternoon.

Hexham Hospital was the final destination for a flypast (footage below) after the plane left Teesside International Airport earlier, sweeping past Stockton, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Darlington, Durham, Sunderland, South Shields, Gateshead, Newcastle and Cramlington.

View more on twitter
View more on twitter

It's now returned to the Aircraft Restoration Company at Duxford Airfield in Cambridge, where it's based.

Covid-19 cancels fireworks and Christmas lights switch on

South Tyneside's annual fireworks display and Christmas lights switch-on events have been cancelled due to coronavirus.

The council confirmed the move, citing public safety in terms of crowds and social distancing.

The annual camel parade and fireworks finale have also been called off, although lights and decorations will be put up across the borough as normal.

Councillor Tracey Dixon, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "Due to the open access nature and size and scale of these events, we would have had great difficulty ensuring Covid-secure measures were in place to help control numbers and support social distancing.

"The guidance around 'track and trace' also presents huge challenges. Sadly, we have been left with no other option but to call these events off."

The council said it is looking at other ways of spreading Christmas cheer within the Covid-guidelines, including seeing if it is feasible to move its annual Christmas Fayre outdoors.

No decisions have been taken on other key events, such as Remembrance Services and the Civic Carol Concert.

Bake Off returns with a contestant from Durham

Your lockdown diet might just go out the window, as The Great British Bake Off is back on our screens tonight, and a radiographer from Durham is among the 12 bakers.

Filming this year was delayed because of the pandemic and instead of contestants battling it out in the tent over weekends, everything was shot in six weeks, with bakers and the crew living on site together.

Among them is 27-year-old Loriea, (front row on right, pictured below) a diagnostic radiographer from Durham.

She was taught how to bake as a five-year-old by her grandmother and says she uses baking as a means to celebrate her Caribbean roots.

GBBO contestants
Channel 4

The Great British Bake Off returns to Channel 4 at 20:00 tonight.

North East weather: Staying mostly dry, turning cloudy

BBC Weather

Largely dry for most of the afternoon with some scattered cloud which will thicken as the day goes on, bringing the chance of a shower or two later.

Feeling a touch cooler, with temperatures reaching highs of 19C (66F).

This evening turns cloudy with occasional showers.

As the night goes on, a band of rain will move in from the northwest, becoming heavy and persistent at times.

And you can see the latest forecast by searching for your location here

Weather graphic

Fire crew rescue tree-tangled hawk

A Harris Hawk had to be rescued by after it became tangled in a tree.

Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service crew used a ladder and net to rescue it.

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Spitfire flypast for hospitals across North East

A Spitfire with the words Thank U NHS written on its underside will be flying past North East hospitals this afternoon.

The cloud over the region stopped the flypast last Wednesday but today's clear blue skies mean the NHS Spitfire is heading back for a second attempt. with approximate timings below.

  • 12:08 Friarage Hospital, Northallerton
  • 12:14 Darlington Memorial Hospital
  • 12:20 Lands at Teesside Airport
  • 13:130 Takes off from Teesside Airport
  • 13:35 University Hospital of North Tees
  • 13:38 James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough
  • 13:45 University Hospital of Hartlepool
  • 13:53 University Hospital of North Durham
  • 14:00 Sunderland Royal Hospital
  • 14:03 South Tyneside District Hospital
  • 14:05 Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead
  • 14:07 RVI Newcastle
  • 14:08 Newcastle Freeman Hospital
  • 14:10 Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, Cramlington
  • 14:17 Hexham General

NHS Spitfire
The Aircraft Restoration Company

It's part of a project to say thank you to NHS workers by The Aircraft Restoration Company which is based at Duxford Airfield in Cambridge.

120 jobs created as part of wind farm construction

Some 120 new jobs are to be created in Hartlepool as part of the Dogger Bank Wind Farm project.

The roles will be based at Able Seaton Port during the construction of the turbines, which will be installed in the North Sea in 2023, creating the world's largest offshore wind farm.

The port will act as a base for service equipment, installation and commissioning activities.

It has also been announced that around 120 long-term jobs, out of 200 previously announced, will be based out of the Port of Tyne, where the wind farm's new operations and maintenance team will be located.

Able Seaton Port
Dogger Bank Wind Farm

It’s a massive vote of confidence for the company and the UK.

We are delighted that 120 skilled jobs will be based here at the port, in this exciting and growing industry."

Peter StephensonAble UK’s executive chairman

Dogger Bank Wind Farm will see 190 wind turbines installed off the north-east coast, split into two lots of 95 for each of the first two phases of the project.

Once operating it will be capable of powering up to 4.5m homes each year when complete in 2026.

Fly past to honour the NHS

The "Thank U NHS" Spitfire is taking to the skies above the region as part of a tour of hospitals around the UK.

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Metro funding negotiations 'will continue'

Operators of the Tyne and Wear Metro say extra funding negotiations will have to continue with the government, despite already receiving help worth £24m.

The publicly-funded network saw a near total slump in passenger numbers during the first lockdown, and although there has since been an increase it has still not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

Now Nexus is waiting to assess how the latest restrictions will impact them, which passengers currently being told to use the Metro for "essential journeys" only.

However, people are being left to decide for themselves what constitutes "essential".


David Punton, from Nexus, said: "It was a gradual recovery, we got back to around 50% or passenger numbers but we do suspect a significant impact coming in the next few weeks because of the essential travel only advice.

"That is going to have an impact on us."