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  1. Metro worker assaulted in mask argument

    A Metro worker was pushed to the floor after "reminding" a passenger she was required to wear a face covering, police have said.

    Northumbria Police said the man was assaulted at Chichester Metro Station at about 07:40 BST on 19 October. The victim was uninjured but police have launched an investigation.

    They have released a CCTV image of a woman who was "in the station at the time and could have information that can assist with the investigation".

    Woman police want to speak to

    Metro operator Nexus said in a statement: “Assaults on staff will not be tolerated and we urge anyone with information about this incident to get in contact with the police.

    “Face coverings are mandatory on all modes of public transport, unless someone has a legitimate exemption. This rule is there to keep us all safe from Covid-19 while making essential journeys.

    “Our frontline staff have the right to go to work and not have to put up with incidents like this when they’re just doing their job.”

  2. Police operation nets dozens of weapons

    Northumbria Police say 127 people were arrested and 59 weapons seized as part of a week-long operation to clamp down on knife crime and violence in the community.

    Operation Sceptre saw a dozen early morning raids carried out across Tyneside recovering a number of firearms, other weapons, cash and a small cannabis farm.

    Officers were also deployed across Newcastle and Gateshead to conduct searches, looking for any knives or weapons hidden in bushes, parks or derelict buildings.

    Of the 59 weapons recovered – 33 were seized by officers and 26 were voluntarily handed over during visits with collectors and weapons enthusiasts.


    Assistant Chief Constable Neil Hutchison said: “Our stance on knife crime and serious violence is simple – it has absolutely no place in our region.

    “We have seen incidents of knife crime falling across the North East, but we are far from complacent and one incident is still one too many.

    “Thanks to our officers, 59 weapons ...can now be disposed of safely and will never be used to kill or seriously injure someone.".

  3. Police probe council finances

    James Harrison

    Local Democracy Reporter

    Police are probing finances at South Tyneside Council.

    Northumbria Police confirmed it was carrying out an investigation into the local authority after potential issues were reported, but officers have not commented on how long it has been going on for or whether they are focusing on a particular individual or department.

    A spokesman for the force said: “We can confirm there is an ongoing investigation after concerns of a financial nature were raised by South Tyneside Council (STC).”

    The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) was prompted to ask Northumbria Police whether it was conducting a probe after it was passed correspondence related to inquiries carried out by the Information Commissioner’s Office.

    South Shields Town Hall

    According to this, a request for financial documents by independent councillor John Robertson was rejected under the terms of section 31 of the Freedom of Information Act.

    This allows public bodies to deny requests for information where they feel it could "prejudice the prevention or detection of crime by a Police Authority".

    Reacting to news of the police investigation, Mr Robertson, who is also the leader of the opposition at STC, said: “I hope if there is any wrong doing it is uncovered.”

    A borough council spokesman said: “We are aware that Northumbria Police are conducting an investigation. The council is supporting this and as such no further statements will be made whilst this is ongoing."

  4. Cleveland has highest proportion of unpaid Covid-19 fines

    The Cleveland Police force area has the highest proportion of unpaid coronavirus fines in England, figures show.

    According to data obtained by the PA news agency under freedom of information legislation, nine forces saw 60% or more of the penalties go unpaid within 28 days between 27 March and 21 September.

    In the Cleveland area, 72% of fines for the period, 215 out of 298, went unpaid according to data from the criminal records office ACRO which administers the fines.

    In Northumbria the proportion was 68%, with 188 out of 278 fines not paid while in the Durham force area it was 65% with 115 out of 178 unpaid.

    The figures provide a snapshot of data gathered by forces as of 21 September and, as a result of the way the figures are recorded, may contain some overlap between the number of unpaid fines, those rescinded and formally contested.

    Lawyer Raj Chada, head of the criminal defence department at Hodge Jones & Allen, described Covid regulations as a "mess" and said criminal law needed to be clear and consistent otherwise it becomes "arbitrary and unfair".

    Kirsty Brimelow QC, a human rights barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, told PA it was "predictable" people would stop paying fines, with some not being able to afford to pay them, or not feeling they did break any laws, while others "may just be resentful that those in power acted as if the laws did not apply to them".

  5. Coronavirus: Fifteen test positive at council call centre

    Local Democracy Reporting Service

    Daniel Holland

    More than a dozen people have tested positive for coronavirus at a council call centre in Newcastle.

    Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) has asked the majority of staff at its South Gosforth site, which also acts as a call centre for Newcastle City Council, to stay at home after the outbreak.

    It has been confirmed that 15 staff at the Benton Park Road site have tested positive for Covid-19, three are showing symptoms, and a further 10 have been told to self-isolate.

    Services are still running but people trying to get through to the call centre will have to put up with longer wait times due to a “significant reduction” in staffing levels.

    YHN House, South Gosforth

    Staff answering calls to the Ostara service, which responds to emergency calls from people who have fallen, are unwell or feel unsafe in their homes, will still be based at the call centre, as will those working night shifts.

    The contact centre also takes inquiries for other local authority areas including parking, registrars, and complaints.

    Quote Message: We can confirm that a number of our staff in the Contact Centre have tested positive for Covid-19.
    Quote Message: While our contact centre remains operational, customers may experience longer waiting times than normal." from Jen Vinton Your Homes Newcastle
    Jen VintonYour Homes Newcastle
  6. Batons, knives and air rifles seized by police

    A number of batons, knives and air rifles have been seized by police in Gateshead,

    The weapons were found as officers searched a property in Wardley.

    Inside the house officers found 10 air weapons, including paintball guns, a crossbow with bolts and targets, dozens of knives and axes as well as a quantity of cannabis.

    A 48-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of importing offensive weapons. He was released while investigations continue.

    The searches form part of Operation Sceptre, a week-long national clampdown on knife crime and serious violence.

    In separate searches, officers also recovered a machete hidden inside a derelict building in Gateshead town centre, and a further eight knives were also found.

    Selection of seized weapons
  7. Cannabis, caravan and shotguns found in farm raid

    A cannabis farm was discovered during a raid in Darlington, along with a stolen caravan.

    Officers also found shotguns, and cash during the operation on Wednesday.

    A man was arrested at the scene and later released while police enquiries continue.

    View more on twitter
  8. BreakingYorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe dies

    The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe has died in hospital

    The serial killer was serving a whole life term for murdering 13 women across Yorkshire and north-west England.

    He died in hospital in County Durham after being admitted from nearby Frankland top security prison where he was serving a whole life term.

    He is said to have refused treatment for Covid-19.

    Sutcliffe also had a number of other underlying health problems.

    Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe
  9. Video content

    Video caption: 'Clumsy' burglar trips over in Houghton-le-Spring

    A man is branded 'clumsy' by Northumbria Police after he was caught tripping over on CCTV.