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Police warn of 'devastating' consequences of carrying weapons

Police have urged people to think about the "devastating" consequences of carrying a weapon after a 17-year-old admitted murdering a lawyer with a screwdriver.

Peter Duncan, 52, was attacked outside a branch of Greggs in Newcastle city centre's Eldon Square shopping centre on 14 August.

Det Ch Insp Jane Fairlamb, of Northumbria Police, said: "This was a shocking incident, in which a much-loved family man was murdered in an unprovoked attack after a chance encounter.

"I want to make it crystal clear it can never be acceptable for anyone to carry a weapon on our streets – as this case highlights the consequences can be truly devastating.

"I would urge anyone who thinks otherwise to think again. Not only could you destroy someone else’s life and those of their loved ones but also think of the impact on your life and that of your family and friends."

She also thanked people in Newcastle for their support saying the force was committed to making sure the streets are safe.

Universities 'in dark' over student mental health needs

Northumbria is one of the universities praised for taking their responsibilities seriously about students' mental health needs.

Information gathered by ex-health minister Sir Norman Lamb's office reveals a "complex and fragmented" picture of mental-health provision across UK universities.

Many of the 110 universities which responded said they did not record all relevant key statistics, such as their budgets or waiting times.

Universities said they could not deal with the issue of mental health alone.

Sir Norman praised some universities, including Cambridge and Northumbria, for taking their responsibilities seriously, but said many others were not doing enough to measure the scale of the problem.

Knife surrender to target blade-carrying criminals

Northumbria Police have announced a week of coordinated action against knife crime.

The public will be invited to deposit unwanted knives in surrender bins. Any suspected of being involved in crime could still be examined.

Officers say they will also target people known to carry blades.

Assistant Chief Constable Helen McMillan said officers would make more use of stop-and-search powers.

Knife bin
Score it like Beckham: Whickham FC's Dale Burrell scores from inside own half
Watch Whickham FC's Dale Burrell score a stunning goal from inside his own half against Bishop Auckland.

Police force recruits its first female horse

Northumbria police has brought ''diversity to the stables'' after recruiting its first ever female horse in 160 years.

Police horse Penelope (stable name Bella) is set to hit the streets for the first time as part of the force’s mounted section.

Sgt Stuart Coates said: “Penelope is the first recruit to the team in a while and she has already made a great impression.

“Incredibly, she is believed to be the first mare to ever be recruited by Northumbria Police so she brings a bit of diversity to the stables."

Police horse Bella
Northumbria Police
Northumbria Police

“She is full of character and is fitting in well with the boys," he added.

“We are expecting big things from her and if you see her policing the streets we would encourage you to come and say ‘hello’.”

Penelope will carry out patrols and will also police protests, football matches and large events.

Gateshead Quays arts and leisure complex - have your say

Daniel Holland

Local Democracy Reporter

You can now have your say on massive plans to transform the Gateshead Quayside – including designs for a £260m arena complex.

Proposals could see the 12,500 seat venue built in between the Sage and the Baltic Centre, which would open by 2023.

There will also be new waterfront hotels, bars, offices, and restaurants.

Council bosses now want to gather the public’s views on how the southern banks of the Tyne should be redeveloped.

Quayside Arena

Cllr Martin Gannon said: "We’re passionate about the part we are playing in Gateshead’s transformation and we want residents to play their part too."

A full planning application for the development is expected to be lodged later this year.

A consultation on a new planning framework for the Quayside is open until 8 October.

You can see the plans online or at Gateshead Civic Centre and Central Library.

The council will also be taking questions live on Twitter next Tuesday from 16:00 to 17:30 and is hosting a drop-in event on 26 September from 15:00 to 19:00 at St Mary’s Heritage Centre.

Missing Newbiggin Hall man found

A missing man from Newbiggin Hall has been found, police have confirmed.

Northumbria Police have thanked the public for their support in its appeal to find 53-year-old Ian Wearns.

Growing concern for missing Newbiggin Hall man

Lucy Moody


Concern is growing for a missing man from Newbiggin Hall, who hasn't been seen or heard from since yesterday lunchtime.

53-year-old Ian Wearns' last known location was his home on Shirlaw Close.

Northumbria Police have described him as 5ft 11in with short hair and hearing aids.

Ian Wearns
Northumbria Police

Gateshead fire: Four rescued from flat blaze

Firefighters have rescued four adults from a fire in a block of flats in Gateshead.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said a team of 12 firefighters tackled the blaze, which broke out in the Bensham area last night.

A crew from Byker in Newcastle also helped with the rescue.

Fire engine

Cadets praised after helping Great North Run spectator

Cadets gave a woman first aid after she collapsed while watching the Great North Run on Sunday.

The pensioner collapsed near the Hilton hotel on the Gateshead side of the Tyne Bridge.

The police cadets moved the crowds to give her space and gave her first aid until an ambulance crew arrived. She received treatment from medics but did not need to go to hospital.

Ch Insp David Pickett of Northumbria Police said: "The cadets that were positioned with a community support officer near the Tyne Bridge reacted quickly and stayed calm under pressure, offering the woman a much-needed helping hand and managing the crowd of spectators nearby."

He said the credits were "a credit to the force."

Northumbria Police cadets

Cancer experts focus on genes for cure

Experts trying to prevent and cure cancer in children are gathering in Newcastle.

A three-day conference will look at targeted treatments and analysis of affected DNA.

The focus of the event is genomic medicine -- using information about the genes that cause leukemia.

Prof Anthony Moorman is from Newcastle University's Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre.

He said a cure for cancer was "coming" and great advances had been made in genome medicine where treatment is tailored to individual patients based on their genetics.

Major police operation for Great North Run weekend

People are being warned the streets around Tyneside will be busy this weekend with the Great North Run.

Thousands of children will be taking part in the Mini and Junior Great North Runs on the Newcastle and Gateshead Quaysides on Saturday, along with the competitors in the Great North 5k.

And then, on Sunday, tens of thousands of competitors will be taking part in the half marathon from Newcastle, through Gateshead, to South Shields.

Northumbria Police said the force would have armed and unarmed officers on duty.

Ch Insp Dave Pickett said: "Public safety is of utmost importance and we have been working closely with the organisers and partners to ensure appropriate measures are in place."

People are being advised to use public transport to get around and more details can be found here and you can find information about the Great North Run weekend here.

Northumbria Police with Paula Radcliffe

Amphetamine worth £200,000 seized from van

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

Amphetamine worth an estimated £200,000 was seized from a van in Gateshead, police said.

The van was stopped in Birtley yesterday afternoon after Northumbria Police received intelligence about a suspicious vehicle travelling from Manchester.

Police said they believed the van, which was stopped on the A194 yesterday afternoon, was linked to organised crime.

The 36-year-old driver was arrested and remains in custody.

Amphetamine seized from van

'I feel lucky to have been given this life I love so very much'

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

A woman who had her life saved three times thanks to transplant surgery is urging others to add their names to the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Linzi Saunders
Sunderland University

Linzi Saunders, 22, has received a bone marrow, heart and kidney transplants.

When she was born, she was diagnosed with two different types of leukemia and received a bone-marrow transplant from her brother James. The new treatment caused her to develop cardiomyopathy by the age of eight which meant she would need her second transplant, a heart.

Her third transplant, kidneys, saved her life again when Linzi developed the norovirus. The organs were donated by the mum-in-law of one of Linzi’s sisters.

Photograph of Linzi following her heart transplant alongside a piece of artwork she created replicating the picture
Sunderland University

Linzi, who will study her MA in Fine Art at Sunderland University, said: "I feel so lucky to have had them as each one has helped to continue the life I love so very much.

"Because of everything I have been through I now find my ambition in life is to promote organ donation whenever I can and however I can."

John Reid Road speeding clampdown

James Harrison

Local Democracy Reporter

Mobile speed cameras could soon patrol a busy South Tyneside road where a fifth of drivers break the 40 mile an hour limit.

Some 22,000 motorists use John Reid Road in South Shields every day, according to a council report.

Northumbria Police has recommended upgrading the road to a "level 1 community enforcement site" which could see it visited by a mobile speed camera every two weeks.

South Tyneside councillor Rob Dix said: "The speeds are unacceptable and I’m surprised no one has been killed over the last five years – it’s an accident waiting to happen."

John Reid Road

Family's tribute to 'much-loved man'

The family of a man who died when he was hit by a car near Durham has paid tribute to him.

Jake Paul Miller was struck on the A690 westbound carriageway in the early hours of Saturday and pronounced dead at the scene.

The family of the 24-year-old said: "He was a much loved son, brother, boyfriend, grandson, nephew, cousin and friend to all and will be sadly missed."

They thanked everyone for their support at "this impossibly difficult time".

The driver of the white Toyota Avensis was not hurt .

Durham Police are appealing for anyone who was in the area at the time or has dashcam footage to contact them.

Jake Paul Miller

Three in court after suspected Tyne Tunnel credit card scam

Three men have appeared in court after a suspected £36,000 credit card scam at the Tyne Tunnel.

Tunnel staff became suspicious on Thursday night when the occupants of a black BMW asked to pay the toll by card

Northumbria Police believe "a refund card" had been used and the transaction was cancelled.

Two men, aged 25, were each charged with three counts of fraud by false representation while a third 25-year-old was charged with a single count of the same charge.

They were remanded in custody and will appear at Newcastle Crown Court on 27 September.

Police were called when the BMW was stopped by barrier staff
Northumbria Police

Mental health incidents being dealt with by north east forces increases

BBC Look North

North East and Cumbria

There has been a dramatic rise in the number of mental health incidents being dealt with by our region's police forces.

Figures obtained by BBC Radio 5 Live show Durham Police saw an increase of almost 250% between 2014 and 2018 - to more than 21,000.

There was a 63% increase for the Cleveland force, with the number staying roughly the same for Northumbria Police.

Police officers

Cash to help university develop 'flying taxis'

Stephanie Finnon

BBC Newcastle

Durham University has been given access to a £300m pot of cash to help develop new, cleaner technologies - including flying taxis and freight-carrying drones.

The government will provide £125m, which will be supported by industry funding of up to £175m under the scheme.

Leeds Cardiff and Brimingham universities are also among the group receiving extra funding.

Surgeons using 3D printers to aid spinal operations

Steph Cleasby

BBC Look North

Surgeons at a Newcastle hospital are using the latest 3D printing technology to create models of patients' spines before they go in for surgery.

The RVI has become the first hospital in the North East to get an in-house 3D printing lab and has already used it to help 20 patients with conditions such as spina bifida and scoliosis.


The models are printed from CT scan images and cost about £1,000 each to produce.

They help surgeons study the exact shape of abnormalities in the spine before they get the patient on the operating table.

That has helped make operations shorter and less risky, according to doctors at the RVI.

The 3D printing lab is currently on trial but if it's successful it could be rolled out to other areas like heart, ankle and hip surgery.

Who's a good boy?

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

A police dog has been praised after a busy night on duty where he found a vulnerable missing person and a driver who abandoned his car after a crash.

PD Zeeke and his handler PC Vicky Lott had their first success in the search for a missing 16-year-old who had left home and threatened to self-harm. Concerns grew when it was believed he was in possession of a knife.

Zeeke quickly located the teenager who was hiding up a tree, and who was then helped down by officers and referred to the appropriate services.

The pair were then deployed to South Shields where the driver of a car involved in a two-vehicle collision at the Tyne Dock roundabout had abandoned his vehicle and fled the scene.

Zeeke tracked through dense undergrowth before finding the suspect with a broken leg sustained as he tried to climb a metal fence. Paramedics took the man to hospital and he will be interviewed by officers as part of an investigation into the incident.

PC Lott says that her four-legged partner is “a great companion and a fantastic police dog”.

Zeeke and Vicky
Northumbria Police

Freeview change for some North East viewers

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

If you live in Tyne and Wear or County Durham, you may need to retune your TV to continue watching BBC programmes.

On 12 September, some Freeview channels are moving to new airwaves so new mobile broadband services can be developed.

Around 660,000 homes which are served by the Pontop Pike transmitter will be affected. Some TV equipment will retune automatically, older aerials may need to be replaced to continue receiving all channels including BBC One and BBC Two.

Further changes that may require another retune will take place on 13 November.

Woman killed in A69 Haydon Bridge crash named

Lucy Moody


A woman who was killed in a two-car crash in Northumberland has been named.

Denis-Alexandra Radvan, 29, from Buzau in Romania, was a passenger in a Ford Focus which crashed with a Hyundai I30 on the A69 near HaydonBridge on 21 August. She died at the scene.

Northumbria Police said it was liaising with the Romanian Embassy.

The driver of the Ford, Viorel Grancea, 31, of Darnley Street, Glasgow, has been charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

He was also faces two counts of causing serious injury by dangerous driving, causing a death by driving whilst disqualified, driving with no insurance and no licence.

He is due before Newcastle Crown Court on 19 September.

Like A Bat Out Of Cell...

Anna Snowdon

BBC Local Live

Officers at Stanley had an unusual visitor this morning!

View more on twitter

Five people, including children, injured in tractor crash

Two adults and three children were seriously injured when a car collided with a tractor and a hay bale trailer in Northumberland.

The crash happened on the A1 southbound carriageway at Shilbottle, near Alnwick, on Monday.

Five occupants of the car, aged 64, 57, eight, nine and two, were taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

A stretch of the road was closed for about six hours, causing long traffic tailbacks.

Northumbria Police has appealed for witnesses to the collision at about 14:50 BST.

Traffic tailbacks on A1

Suspicious package found at Haltwhistle

Stephanie Finnon

BBC Newcastle

Trains between Carlisle and Newcastle were cancelled for a while last night after reports of a suspicious package found at Haltwhistle.

It is under understood the item was in a business near to the town's railway station.

Police and bomb disposal officers were called to the scene, but no homes were evacuated and experts disposed of the item as a precaution.

The line has now reopened and Northumbria police says inquiries are ongoing to see if any criminal offences have been committed.

BreakingMan arrested on suspicion of murder in Blyth death inquiry

BBC Newcastle

A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder by police investigating the death of a man at a house in Blyth.

Scott Patterson, 30, suffered serious injuries in an assault at the property on Hallside Road in the early hours of Monday

Northumbria Police said seven addresses in the area were searched last night and four people were arrested.

A 34-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder. A woman, aged 48, and two men, aged 50 and 56, were arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender.

Northumbria Police Supt Helen Anderson, the senior investigating officer on the case, said: “I would like to reiterate that this incident has taken place in a private address following an altercation between people who had been socialising together throughout the evening.

“We believe those involved are all known to each other but we are still carrying out a number of inquiries to establish a clear picture of what happened."

Scott Patterson