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Whorlton Hall abuse scandal: CQC giving evidence to Parliamentary committee

Cocaine gang jailed after £20m seizure on M6 in Cheshire

Two drugs gang bosses have been jailed after cocaine with a street value of £20m was seized from a van on the M6 in Cheshire.

The drugs haul on 2 August was the biggest seizure of cocaine on land in the UK, Cheshire Constabulary has said.

The gang was involved in supplying cocaine across the country including in Darlington, Carlisle, Warrington, Scunthorpe, Manchester and London.

Cocaine worth £20m seized during the policing operation
Cheshire Constabulary

Whorlton Hall abuse: House of Commons to hear evidence

The Care Quality Commission's chief officers are to give evidence in the House of Commons today over allegations of mistreatment of patients at the Whorlton Hall Care Home in County Durham.

It follows a recent Panorama programme on BBC One which showed patients with learning difficulties being abused and mistreated at the home.

Today's hearing, at the Human Rights Committee, follows revelations that an unpublished inspection by the Commission in 2015 found that the facility "required improvement", but just a year later another report gave it an overall rating of "good".

Whorlton Hall Care Home in County Durham

Cricket: Durham v Nottinghamshire

Martin Emmerson

BBC Newcastle

Durham are hoping to capitalise on their first win in the cricket county championship today as they take on Northamptonshire.

Northants are yet to win a game in the competition this season after three draws and two defeats.

Their skipper Alex Wakely resigned last week after an innings defeat by Glamorgan so they will be led today by Adam Rossington the keeper.

Durham have a win to their name after Thursday's dramatic finale against Derbyshire.

Follow live coverage here.

Emirates Riverside, Chester-le-Street

Newspapers demand government 'close North-South divide'

Newspapers across the north of England have jointly demanded the government stops treating the region as an "afterthought", asking for devolution to help "turbo-charge the North's economy".

Some 33 newspapers, including the the Newcastle Chronicle, Northern Echo and Teesside Gazette are urging Britain's main political parties to "close the north-south divide", saying social, health and economic inequalities have widened under successive Labour and Conservative governments.


In the campaign labelled Power Up the North, a joint editorial states: "The case for fundamental change is now unanswerable and our political leaders must commit to real change.

"Every day of dither and delay risks leaving the north at an even greater disadvantage."

It called for a "sea-change in the way our country is run, after decades of being treated as an afterthought, if at all".

Demands of the campaign include the following:

  • Delivering a fundamental shift in decision-making out of London, giving devolved powers and self-determination to people in the north
  • Funding to be committed immediately to make the Northern Powerhouse Rail a national priority
  • Making additional investment available for the north's schools, colleges and universities to boost skills training
  • Setting out a programme to build a new generation of social housing and affordable homes

Crooks in chase with stolen ATM are jailed

Three thieves whose attempt to steal a cash machine in Whitehaven was foiled by vigilant neighbours and a police chase have been jailed.

Carlisle Crown Court heard how the three fled in a flatbed truck, with two of them throwing objects at a pursuing unmarked police car, which they also tried to ram, before the lorry and the cash machine were both abandoned.

Cliff, Mackenzie and Cooke
Cumbria Police

Stephen Cliff, 34, of River Walk, West Auckland, Jonathon Mackenzie, 32, of Otterburn Close, Darlington, and 37-year-old Mark Cooke, of Pearson Street, Spennymoor, all admitted conspiracy to burgle, while Cooke also admitted cannabis production and Mackenzie pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis, and another burglary.

Judge James Adkin jailed Mackenzie for 49 months, Cliff for 51 months and Cooke for 39 months.

Health watchdog to give evidence over Whorlton Hall abuse claims

Allegations of abuse at Whorlton Hall hospital in County Durham will be in the spotlight next week when representatives of the health watchdog give evidence to the UK Parliament Human Rights Committee.

The Care Quality Commission’s chief executive, Ian Trenholm, and Dr Paul Lelliott, deputy chief inspector (mental health) will appear on Wednesday.

It follows revelations broadcast last month by BBC Panorama, which alleged vulnerable patients were mistreated. Ten people have been arrested.

The session forms part of the committee's inquiry into conditions in learning disability inpatient units.

In a tweet, committee chair Harriet Harman MP said the commission had provided "false reassurance" which had served to "shield abusers".

View more on twitter

BreakingProbes launched into 'abuse' at specialist hospital

Two investigations have been launched into allegations of abuse of patients at a specialist hospital in County Durham, a watchdog has announced.

The Care Quality Commission has commissioned David Noble to review into how it dealt with concerns raised over Whorlton Hall.

Undercover filming by BBC Panorama appeared to show patients being mocked, intimidated and restrained.

The site had at least 100 visits by official agencies in the year before the abuse was discovered.

The review will focus on concerns raised about a draft report prepared in 2015, and how they were addressed through CQC’s internal processes.

The CQC is also commissioning a wider review of its regulation of the site between 2015 and this year.

Ten people have been arrested over offences relating to abuse and neglect at the privately-run NHS-funded unit, Durham Police said.

Whorlton Hall,

First region declares: Labour and Brexit Party win in North East

Arrests centre on alleged abuse and neglect

The 10 people arrested as part of the Whorlton Hall investigation are being questioned about offences relating to abuse and neglect, Durham Police say.

Undercover filming for the BBC's Panorama showed staff at the privately-run NHS-funded unit intimidating, mocking and restraining vulnerable patients.

The 17-bed hospital is one of scores of such units in England that provide care for just below 2,300 adults with learning disabilities and autism.

Earlier this week, Cygnet, the firm which runs the unit, said it was "shocked and deeply saddened".

Arrests made across County Durham and Teesside

More now on the news we brought you a few minutes ago that 10 workers have been arrested over the alleged abuse of patients at Whorlton Hall hospital following a BBC Panorama investigation.

Seven men and three women were arrested in Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Darlington and Stockton.

Undercover filming showed adults with learning disabilities and autism being mocked, intimidated and restrained.

The site had at least 100 visits by official agencies in the year before the abuse was discovered.

Further details will follow shortly.

Whorlton Hall

Care home fined over resident's chlorine tablet death

A Darlington care home operator has been fined £270,000 after a man with Alzheimer's died at one of its sites having eaten chlorine tablets.

James McConnell (pictured) was a resident at Lomond Court in Glenrothes, Scotland, when he died in August 2015, a week after eating the disinfectant tablets.

The 72-year-old had found and opened a package which he thought contained strong mints.

James McConnell
Wilma McConnell

The Health and Safety Executive said the company failed to assess the risk posed by several chemical products.

An investigation found the care home's operators, HC-ONE Limited, failed to manage and review procedures for the delivery of the products for two years.

The firm pleaded guilty at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Hospital staff 'abused' vulnerable patients

Nick Triggle

Health Correspondent

In case you missed it last night, the abuse and mistreatment of vulnerable adults at a specialist hospital has been uncovered by the BBC's Panorama programme.

Undercover BBC filming shows staff intimidating, mocking and restraining patients with learning disabilities and autism at Whorlton Hall, County Durham.

A police investigation has been launched and 16 staff suspended.

Cygnet, the firm which runs the unit, said it was "shocked and deeply saddened".

Hospital staff 'abused' vulnerable patients in Durham, BBC's Panorama reveals
Hospital staff 'abused' vulnerable patients in Durham, BBC's Panorama reveals
Undercover BBC filming shows staff swearing, mocking and taunting patients with learning disabilities.