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