Durham

England, United Kingdom

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Australian Cameron Bancroft named Durham captain

Durham have appointed Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft as their captain for this season's Specsavers County Championship and Royal London One-Day Cup.

It's a controversial move - the 26-year-old was involved in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year.

He has just returned form a nine-month ban.

The Western Australian replaces former skipper Paul Collingwood,who retired at the end of the 2018 campaign.

Cameron Bancroft
Getty Images

Weather remains dry tonight, but rain expected tomorrow

The weather tonight
BBC

It will remain largely dry tonight, with clear spells and mild breeze from the south.

Western areas will have more cloud and the chance of patchy drizzle.

Tomorrow morning will be dry again, but rain will spread from the North West later on.

County Durham petrol station granted 24-hour licence to sell alcohol

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Chris Binding

A County Durham petrol station has been granted a 24-hour licence to sell alcohol.

The Stonebridge Service Station, in the Neville’s Cross Bank area, currently has a licence for late night refreshment / overnight sales.

In January, the owners launched a bid with Durham County Council to sell booze around the clock.

During the consultation, Durham Constabulary requested a raft of conditions around alcohol sales on the site.

This included staff training, a refusals register and sales through a night pay window between 23:00 and 06:00.

Despite this, an objection from Brandon and Byshottles Parish Council sparked a licensing hearing at Durham County Hall.

Stonebridge Service Station, Durham
BBC

Chairman of the parish council, David Clegg, raised safety fears about pedestrians crossing the busy A690, alcohol-related disorder and nuisance for neighbours.

In response to questions from councillors, the meeting heard CCTV would cover key areas in the petrol station, including the forecourt.

Councillors were told the applicant Malthurst Ltd had merged with Motor fuel Group with the companies running more than 500 24-hour sites across England and Wales.

Staying mild with some sunny spells

Abbie Dewhurst

Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

Today will be largely cloudy, especially in more western areas, with the odd patch of drizzle possible.

It will be dryer the further east you are, with some sunshine at times.

It will stay very mild with light westerly breezes.

Maximum temperatures should reach about 16C (61F).

Weather map
BBC

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Foal rescued from a disused mineshaft in County Durham

Firefighters have rescued a baby horse after it fell down a disused mineshaft near Meadomsley, County Durham.

The crew from Consett and Bishop Auckland helped to rescue the animal with assistance from the Coal Authority.

The foal was pulled from the hole after being placed in a sling and winched to safety and has now been reunited with her mother.

Crews rescuing the foal
County Durham & Darlington Fire & Rescue Service

Spennymoor councillor announces he's quitting the town and county council

James Harrison

Local Democracy Reporter

A Spennymoor councillor has announced he is quitting the town and county council.

Geoff Darkes has stepped down from both Durham County Council and Spennymoor Town Council and has also resigned from the Spennymoor Independent Group.

He claimed differences with colleagues had led him to decide to focus on community work outside the two councils.

He added: “My problem is certain members of the group who forgot why they were elected.

Geoff Darkes
BBC

“They were elected for the benefit of the town and as a non-political group standing for openness, transparency, honesty and trust.

“I tried for about a year with other colleagues to find a way through, but it wouldn’t work, so I decided I had to withdraw.”

Mr Darkes was elected to the county council in 2017, helping the Spennymoor Independent Group to a clean sweep of the three seats available in the Spennymoor electoral division.

Mr Darkes has ruled himself out of any future by-election race and added he decided early on that he would not continue to represent his county council and town council seats as an independent unaligned to any political party or group.

East coast rail services disrupted

Stephanie Finnon

BBC Newcastle

Rail services on the East Coast Main Line were brought to a halt earlier after a report of trespassers on the line.

No services were able to run between Newcastle and Durham and the road beneath the viaduct in Chester-le-Street was also closed.

LNER said passengers could face some delays for the rest of the morning.

Investigations into the incident are ongoing.

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Welcome to our live coverage

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We've got all the news, sport, travel and weather through the day.

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Severe disruption: A690 County Durham both ways

BBC News Travel

A690 County Durham both ways severe disruption, from A691 Framwelgate to New Elvet.

A690 County Durham - A690 Leazes Road in Durham closed in both directions from the A691 Framwelgate junction to Leazes Bowl Roundabout, because of a police incident.

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

Offenders 'buying drugs within minutes of prison release'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

James Harrison

Prisoners in Durham are buying drugs within minutes of being released, according to the county's Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner.

Ron Hogg has called for more help to be given to people to help them break the cycles which lead them to reoffend.

At a meeting of the Durham and Darlington Police and Crime Panel, he said: "If they are released from HMP Durham, they're probably buying drugs from North Road within 40-50 minutes of being released and they're back in the same system they went in from.

"They're coming out and some of the issues they've got are having nowhere to go or they're dependent on drugs."

Mr Hogg (pictured) said he was also keen to reassure the public that police take note of "community feedback" to target drug hotspots and "move dealers out".

Ron Hogg
PA

Small firms urged to help trap modern-day slavers

BBC Tees

A conference to help small business owners spot the signs of modern-day slavery is being held at Durham County Cricket Club.

It is being sponsored by Durham Constabulary and the force's crime and victims' commissioner Ron Hogg.

Organisers say people who work in roles such as window cleaners, taxi drivers and hotel receptionists can often be well placed to spot the signs of exploitation.

It is estimated that incidents of modern day slavery have increased by nearly 20% in four years.

Strong winds cause rail delays between Durham and Newcastle

Trains between Durham and Newcastle are delayed by about 15 minutes, LNER says, due to damage to caused overnight by strong winds.

The firm expects services to be running normally in about an hour or so.

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Medomsley detention centre abuse 'ruined my life'
Victims of sex abuse at a County Durham detention centre describe the long-term effects.

Approval for 24-hour gym plans at former Bargain Booze store

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Chris Binding

A 24-hour gym in County Durham has been given the green light.

Plans to transform an off-licence store into the gym were approved by Durham County Council earlier this month.

The former Bargain Booze in Front Street, Sacriston will create five-full time and eight part-time jobs with the ground floor remaining as a shop space.

A design and access statement, submitted to Durham County Council, previously argued the gym would help to boost the local economy.

Bargain Booze 8 Front Street Sacriston Durham
Google

A decision notice says planners have "sought to work with the applicant in a positive and proactive manner" to meet planning objectives.

This includes "delivering high-quality sustainable development to improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of the area".

Approved plans will be kept in check by several conditions around noise reduction - including banning amplified music.

The gym will open on a 24-hour basis for one year and could revert back to 06.00-23.00 if applicants fail to renew.

Medomsley Detention Centre: Convicted former officers named

Peter Harris

BBC Look North

The names of the five former officers at Medomsley Detention Centre who have been convicted of a series of offences against inmates can now be reported.

They are:

  • Christopher Onslow, 72, convicted of misconduct in a public office, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, inflicting grievous bodily harm and wounding with intent
  • John McGee, 74, convicted of misconduct in a public office, assault occasioning actual bodily harm
  • Brian Greenwell, 71, convicted of misconduct in a public office.
  • Kevin Blakely, 67 convicted of two counts of misconduct in a public office
  • Alan Bramley, 70, convicted of misconduct in a public office

The men will be sentenced at a later date. Two former officers were cleared of the charges.

BreakingMedomsley Detention Centre: Five former officers convicted of a series of offences against inmates

Peter Harris

BBC Look North

Five former officers at a detention centre described as a "brutal regime" have been convicted of a series of offences against inmates.

Hundreds of young offenders held at Medomsley Detention Centre in the 1970s and 80s came forward to report physical abuse from their time in custody.

A series of trials of former guards have been held at Teesside Crown Court but couldn't be reported until now for legal reasons.

The convicted officers - who are all in their 60s and 70s - were found guilty of a range of charges including assaults, wounding and misconduct in a public office.

The trials heard the institution, in County Durham, had been based on the "short, sharp, shock" policy of imposing a strict regime on teenage offenders in the 1970s.

Judge Howard Crowson will sentence the men at a later date.

Two former officers were cleared of all charges.

Warning over burning wheelie bins 'to get high'

Colin Briggs

Look North

Young people in County Durham are lighting wheelie bins to inhale the smoke because they think the fumes will get them high, fire chiefs have said.

County Durham Fire and Rescue has warned the craze could kill.

They say that just three breaths of the poison-filled fumes could render people unconscious.

Durham County Council has urged householders to keep wheelie bins secure.

Sexual health services for 'older people'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

James Harrison

Medical test
PIXABAY

Sexual health services should do more to focus on the needs of older people, council bosses have said.

A report for members of Durham County Council detailed efforts to combat high rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among 15-24-year-olds.

But no information had been provided on the sexual health of 'older people'.

Councillor Shirley Quinn claimed there was no service on offer specifically catering to the needs of older generations.

She said: "There's no mention of older people, but there's a lot of older people who are still sexually active.

"There's no provision I can see for people who might want to come along and ask if things are right.

Durham County Hall
BBC

According to a report for councillors, the county's Integrated Sexual Health Service is trying to get more 'vulnerable groups' to use it, but this is mainly focusing on groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, prisoners and others.

Paul Frank, County Durham and Darlington NHS FOundation Trust's (CDDFT) associate director of operations, said: "About 10 years ago I worked in Teesside and when we did chlamydia testing there was a high prevalence in the over 40s.

"We recognise this is happening, but what we need to work on is identifying these groups in the right areas."

According to the report, 16-24-year-olds make up about a tenth of the population, but account for 65% of all chlamydia infections diagnosed in Genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics.

They are also responsible for half of all genital warts and gonorrhoea cases.

Bishop of Durham pays tribute to predecessor John Habgood

John Habgood
PA

Tributes have poured in for the former Bishop of Durham John Habgood who passed away yesterday at the age of 91.

The Rt Revd Paul Butler, the current Bishop of Durham, said: "The sad news of John Habgood's death yesterday calls us to give thanks for his ministry as Bishop of Durham from 1973-83.

"He was translated to York from here.

"Alongside his leadership of the diocese through these years his contribution to science and religion was immense.

"His legacy in this regard continues to be significant in Durham today. His family are in our prayers."

John Habgood was Archbishop of York from 1983 until 1995.

He was made life peer after his retirement in 1995.

Welcome to our live coverage

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We've got all the news, sport, travel and weather through the day.

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Sunny spells with a chance of some heavy showers

Alina Jenkins

BBC Weather

Any early rain should clear during the morning.

It will then be a breezy day with some sunny spells.but also further showers or longer spells of rain, which could be heavy with the risk of hail and thunder.

Maximum temperatures should reach about 12C (54F).

Weather map
BBC

Plans for Durham HQ move approved

Local Democracy Reporting Service

James Harrison

Plans for a £50m new council headquarters in the the centre of Durham City have been approved.

Members of the Durham County Council's Planning Committee narrowly voted in favour of the plans by an 8-6 margin.

Objections to the scheme, which is set to see a new office built on the site of the Sands car park, had focused on the impact on traffic, as well as on tourism and traders in the city centre.

Artist impression of planned HQ
Durham County Council

There were also calls for the county council to seek a new site for the project from those who said they accepted the need for a new HQ to replace the ageing County Hall.

Coun John Clare, who backed the plans told the meeting: "I've heard people say this is the right move but the wrong place.

"We're not here to say this would be better in a different place, we're here to say here is an application, does it fly or does it not?"

He added: "If Durham County Council is to continue to deliver services which are up to the moment we have to get into a new building."

Shadow Foreign Secretary heading to Durham

Lucy Moody

Journalist

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry is heading to Durham this week as part of International Women's Day.

On Friday the Labour MP will be guest speaker at an event at hosted by Women's Banner Group at Redhill: Durham Miners Hall.

Laura Daly, WBG Chair, said: "Emily has been a great supporter of the group and as an exceptional advocate for women's rights we are proud to have her as a special guest at this celebration."

The event will include the premiere of the new film Of Whole Heart Cometh Hope, which follows the WBG from the start of the project to last year’s Durham Miners' Gala.

Emily Thornberry
AFP/Getty Images

Decision day for Durham County Council

Julie Smith

BBC Look North

Campaigners are gathering outside County Hall in Durham.

It’s decision day for councillors here, who’ll vote on plans to move the headquarters.

Durham County Council wants to leave its current home in Aykley Heads and build a new £50m HQ at The Sands car park.

The authority says it will "reduce costs" and "boost the economy", but campaigners believe the site could harm business and cause traffic problems.

Hundreds of letters have been sent to the council opposing the plans.

Campaigners
BBC

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Brexit 'could delay new ambulance delivery'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Daniel Holland

Dozens of new ambulances heading to the North East could get stuck in Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit, health bosses have warned.

The North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) is due to take delivery of 44 new vehicles this summer, but they may not arrive in time of the UK leaves the EU without an agreement.

The vehicles are manufactured by German car giant Mercedes and French firm Renault.

A NEAS spokesman said: "If there was a delay in bringing them across, then the impact would simply be that we would have to keep our current fleet running for longer than we would normally do.

"We have the spare parts to do that, we have the workshops and the garages to do that.

"It would not be ideal to run older ambulances on the road, but we could do it."

They also said it would be "helpful" if the ambulances were delivered sooner mainly because of the service's own financial plans rather than Brexit fears.

Ambulance
NEAS

Staying mild with sunny spells

Lisa Gallagher

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

A chilly start with fog patches, these dense in places.

These will be slow to disperse in places, but lengthy sunny spells will develop once they do so.

The sunshine may be hazy at times and it will feel very mild.

Maximum temperatures should reach about 16C (61F).

Weather map
BBC

Welcome to our live coverage

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage.

We've got all the news, sport, travel and weather through the day.

If you want to get in touch with any news or send us photos you can tweet us, contact us via our Facebook page or email us.

County Durham becomes carbon neutral to cope with 'climate emergency'

Durham County Council has come up with measures to tackle environmental problems.

Amid soaring global temperatures, councillors have declared a "climate emergency" and pledged to make the county carbon neutral.

A new target of turning County Durham 60% carbon neutral by 2030 has now been agreed.

The requirements to hit 100% by 2050 will also be explored.

Working with partner agencies, the council will determine the best methods to limit global warming to less than 1.5C.

This includes identifying opportunities for innovation, as well as developing clean industries and a green economy.

Coun Carl Marshall, cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: "It is important that we take responsibility for our environment, protect our planet and ensure that we leave the county a better place for our children."

The council has already reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 42% - surpassing the 2020 target.

A report outlining the actions the council will need to achieve to new targets will be presented to full council in six months.

South Bailey Bridge in Durham
Getty Images