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Arriva bus drivers to ballot on revised pay offer

Lucy Moody


About 650 bus workers in Teesside, County Durham and parts of North Yorkshire will be voting this week on a revised pay offer tomorrow and Thursday.

It comes after hundreds of Arriva bus drivers staged strike action in a dispute over pay.

Unite regional officer, Ray Sanderson said: “The ballot result will be announced on Friday morning.

Arriva buses

“We won’t be revealing the details of the revised offer until our members have a chance to consider and vote on the deal.”

Unite the union, said that the 10 days of strike action by the bus drivers scheduled from 00:01 on 27 January until 23:59 on 5 February have not been suspended, as that depends on the outcome of the ballot.

120mph dangerous driver has sentence cut

A banned driver who led police on a 120mph chase between Tebay and Kirkby Stephen on the A685 has had his prison sentence reduced from 28 months to 20.

Patrick Raymond Campbell
Cumbria Police

Appearing at Carlisle Crown Court last Friday, Patrick Campbell, 25, of Melrose Drive, St Helen Auckland, County Durham, had admitted dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, failing to provide a specimen, having no insurance and obstructing police after the pursuit ended.

Judge Peter Davies initially imposed a 28-month jail term for what he called "disgraceful and catastrophic" conduct behind the wheel of a Ford Mondeo.

But under legislation allowing a sentence to be altered within a certain time, Judge Davies recalled the case and reduced the sentence to 20 months.

Town centre troublemakers targeted

Colin Briggs

Look North

Darlington Council is promising a crackdown on anti-social behaviour following an increase in complaints in the town centre.

The authority says it's working with police and that several troublemakers have already been identified and banned from specific areas, while others will be interviewed with their parents.

Talks to resume in bus drivers' pay row

Further talks will begin later to try to resolve a pay dispute involving Arriva bus drivers in the North East.

Drivers in Teesside, County Durham and parts of North Yorkshire held a week-long strike earlier this month and are set for a 10-day stoppage from 27 January.

The drivers are seeking an increase of £1 per hour as the Unite union says they are among the lowest paid among Arriva's national operation.

However, the company says its pay offer is already generous.

Two Arriva buses

Local authority seeks opinions on how to improve Darlington library with two million pounds

People are being asked for their views on the future of a Darlington library.

A total of £2m is going to be invested in modernising and improving the Crown Street Library rather than moving it to new premises.

The consultation is running until 15 March.

Image of library

Two in court over Milnthorpe ATM ram raid

Two men from County Durham have appeared in court after a ram-raid on an ATM at Milnthorpe early yesterday.

ATM outside Milnthorpe shop

Michael Campbell, 37, of Wooley Meadows, Stanley Crook, Durham, and Jason Brazauskas, 30, of Church Street, Toronto, Bishop Auckland, were both remanded in custody when they appeared before Barrow Magistrates’ Court today.

Both men are charged with burglary, two counts of taking a vehicle without consent and two charges of criminal damage.

They are due to appear at Carlisle Crown Court on 11 February.

Mourners prepare for Luke Bell's funeral

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

The funeral of Luke Bell from Darlington, who had a rare form of cancer, is being held later.

Doctors in Spain had agreed to put the eight-year-old, who had neuroblastoma, on a medical trial after specialists in Newcastle said he only had weeks to live.

But he died just before Christmas.

People attending the funeral are asked to wear something blue or green, Luke's favourite colours.

Luke Bell

Protests over the Arriva bus drivers continues

Lee Johnson

BBC Tees

Protests over the Arriva bus driver dispute have been continuing this morning.

It's day three of seven of the strike action over pay and conditions.

The company’s MD, Nick Knox, was at the Darlington depot speaking to drivers.

There's no word on any agreement on a pay deal as yet.

Arriva strikes

Florence celebrates her 106th birthday

The Northern Echo


A woman who always looks on the bright side of life has celebrated her 106th birthday.

Man found in Darlington with stab wounds

A man has been taken to hospital after he was found with suspected stab wounds in the Haughton Green area of Darlington.

The victim, in his 20s, was helped by a passer-by close to the Highland Laddie in Haughton Green, at about 02:30.

Det Sgt John Tyers said: “We have cordoned off the pub as this is the place the victim was taken to following the incident. Our inquiries are continuing.”

The man is in a stable condition and his injuries are described as non-life-threatening.

Durham Constabulary has launched an investigation and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

Highland Laddie

Tributes paid to man hit by car

Tributes have been paid to a pedestrian who was killed when he was hit by a car in County Durham.

Matthew Carty – also known as Matty – was struck by a vehicle which was travelling towards Fencehouses on the A1052 in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The 36-year-old postman, of Lambton, Washington, was taken to hospital but died from his injuries.

He leaves behind his mum Mary, sister Sharon, brother Michael and partner Tracy.

His family said: “Matty was kind-hearted, always smiling, always trying to cheer people up and would always put others before himself, especially his mam Mary.

Matthew Carty
Durham Police

“He would often be singing – a lot of the time he sang silly songs and would often be singing at work.

“He was just amazing. We will miss him so much.”

A 39-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.

The woman has been released while investigations continue and the man was taken to hospital.

Businesses do their part to tackle Christmas loneliness

Lucy Moody


Are you ready for the big day?

For many people 25 December is a time where we can celebrate with our families, but for other it fills them with a sense of dread...

Christmas baubles

Well if you or anyone you know are feeling isolated here are a number of local businesses and charities doing their part to help.

Homeless people will be able to access free food on Christmas day thanks to the popular Middlesbrough restaurant, Manjaros.

It's the fourth year that the restaurant has opened its doors.

Christmas present

Also, Mangobean in Darlington, which held a successful celebration last year, hase decided to do the same tomorrow.

They'll be opening up for a couple of hours to offer free food, drinks and company to people who'll otherwise spend their day alone.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a merry Christmas.

Travel: Another Saturday strike to hit Northern trains

BBC News Travel

Train services operated by Northern across Cumbria will be badly disrupted again tomorrow by the 41st strike in the long-running dispute over the role of guards, and the 19th consecutive weekend..

Very few trains will run after 17:00, and only a limited number of services during the day.

The RMT union has already announced that the strikes will continue every Saturday into the new year.

Northern train

Cloudy with outbreaks of rain

Owain Wyn Evans

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

It will be a mainly cloudy day and often damp with outbreaks of rain or drizzle.

However, these outbreaks will will turn increasingly light and patchy into the afternoon.

There's a chance of some mist, particularly over higher ground and perhaps towards coastal areas.

Maximum temperatures are set to reach about 7C (45F).

Weather map

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.

Darlington streets reopen after suspicous item closure

Darlington town centre has now reopened, after a number of streets were cordoned off when a suspicious package was found.

Explosive experts from Catterick Garrison were called in after police attended a property in Kendrew Road.

Examination of the package determined there was no danger to the public and the cordon has now been lifted.

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: "We would like to thank everyone for their patience.

"We are aware today's police operation caused significant disruption, but public safety remains our top priority."

Darlington streets remain closed

Much of Darlington town centre is closed to drivers after a suspicious package was found.

The item was found in a property in Kendrew Street and a cordon has been put up and properties evacuated.

Explosives experts from Catterick Garrison are due to assess the situation.

View more on twitter

Severe disruption: A68 County Durham both ways

BBC News Travel

A68 County Durham both ways severe disruption, from Russell Street to Salt Yard.

A68 County Durham - A68 Bondgate in Darlington closed and queuing traffic in both directions from the Russell Street junction to the Salt Yard junction, because of a police incident.

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

Bomb squad called to major incident in Darlington

The Northern Echo


Explosives experts head to Darlington

Explosives experts are on their way to Darlington after a suspicious package was found.

A 100-metre cordon has been set up and residents are being evacuated following the discovery at a property in Kendrew Street.

Durham Police say a section of the A68 between Bondgate and Northgate has been closed along with King Street and Kendrew Street as well as a secton of Gladstone Street between North Lodge Terrace and North Road.

The road closures are expected to be closed for some time and drivers are urged to avoid the area if possible.

North Yorkshire cops catch fraudster on run from France

An international fraudster wanted for failed building projects in France has been tracked down and caught by North Yorkshire Police and now faces extradition.

Rennes court

Joseph Burnside, from Hurworth Moor near Darlington, was the subject of a European Arrest Warrant after he was convicted by a French court.

He worked on more than 200 construction projects in France, using a range of company names which police say brought in a combined income of roughly 900,000 euros in one year.

The 32-year-old was charged with fraud and criminal conspiracy by the French authorities, but failed to appear at court in Rennes, so was convicted in his absence and a warrant was issued for his arrest in June.

North Yorkshire Police say they tracked him down following "specialist intelligence and investigative work".

Police stopped his vehicle in Helmsley marketplace on Tuesday and he was arrested and taken into custody.

Durham Tees Valley Airport 'to revert to Teesside Airport' after sale

Colin Briggs

Look North

Durham Tees Valley Airport will revert to its previous name of Teesside International if the Mayor of the Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, is successful in his bid to buy the airport.

The current owner, Peel Group, has agreed to a £40m bid that could go through in January next year.

If it does, the airport will be renamed after an overwhelming response in an online poll.

More than 14,000 people voted in the poll, with 93% backing the pre-2004 name of Teesside International Airport.

Durham Tees Valley Airport

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.

Wet and windy, but feeling mild

Lisa Gallagher

Weather presenter, BBC Look North

It will be a rather windy with plenty of cloud and the growing chance of some rain and drizzle.

Later there is a chance of heavier rain edging its way slowly eastwards.

Despite the strong winds it will feel mild with maximum temperatures reaching about 10C (50F).

Weather map

Seriously ill boy accepted on cancer trial

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

An eight-year-old boy from Darlington, who is fighting for his life, has been accepted on a cancer trial in Barcelona.

Luke Bell has been undergoing treatment in Newcastle for neuroblastoma - a rare type of cancer - but the disease has progressed and he may only have weeks to live, with no more treatment options left.

The family's only hope was the trial in Spain and this morning it was confirmed Luke has been accepted by doctors there.

Luke Bell

Concern for man 'in poor health' missing for a month

Police are appealing for help in tracing a man from Darlington who has been missing for more than a month.

David Smith was reported missing by neighbours in the town's Smithfield Road on 15 November.

It is thought the 62-year-old had potentially left Darlington to look for work in the Bolton area. But he has not been heard of since.

David Smith
Durham Police

He is described as white, of heavy build, with short, grey hair and wearing glasses.

Stockton council split over Arriva Bus strike

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Alex Metcalfe

Stockton councilors have clashed over the upcoming Arriva strike.

About 650 Arriva drivers from depots on Teesside and surrounding areas are due to walk out for a week from Sunday, December 16, after pay disputes.

Cllr Phil Dennis, asked councillors to "condemn the action" of the bus drivers.

He said: "That (strike) is another cut against this high street - another stab at the traders here.

"You've got a full week of all the passengers that come on one particular carrier who won't be going to Stockton or Yarm or Thornaby town centre - they're going to be cut off at the busiest time of year, at the time of year when they want to be spending their money."

Councillor Phillip Dennis
Stockton Council

Labour councillor Norma Stephenson defended the action.

She said: "I can't sit here and ignore 'nobody is condemning the bus drivers'.

"These are hard working trade unionists who have got no option but to go on strike and I fully support them."

A disparity in pay between Arriva drivers in different parts of the country sparked the disagreement.

Talks were still ongoing as of Thursday evening (December 13) to see whether both parties could reach an agreement to avoid the strike.

Councillor Norma Stephenson
Stockton Council

Elderly man suffers serious injuries in Darlington car accident

A 92-year-old man is in hospital with serious injuries after being hit by a car.

The accident happened shortly after 22:05 last night on High Northgate in Darlington.

A Renault Clio was travelling south approaching the traffic lights at John Street when it struck the pedestrian in the carriageway.

The driver and passenger of the car – two men aged 49 and 32, respectively – were not injured.

Police are looking for witnesses.