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Over 200 jobs to go at Middlesbrough Council as part of £77m saving cuts

At a council meeting last night, Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon outlined plans to lose up to 230 jobs and slash just over £14 million from the council budget in the next financial year.

He says he needs to make cuts of £77 million by 2020 and to lose hundreds more jobs by then. The council has already made similar savings in the last 4 years. There is now a six week consultation period.

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Dog owner led away by police after attack

Stephen Potts, 48, from Pittington is led away by police. Credit: North News

This is the moment Stephen Potts was led away by police.

One of the dogs is muzzled after the alleged attack on another dog owner yesterday afternoon.

The 48-year-old from Pittington in County Durham had only been released from hospital in the last few days after being savaged by two of his animals last month.

His right arm had to be amputated after that attack, his left was only just saved by surgeons.

Yesterday, he was out walking with five of the dogs when he met another man walking a Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Police believe the animals started fighting and when the owner of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier tried to intervene, they turned on him.

The man, who's 63, remains in hospital with serious injuries to his head and limbs.

Mr Potts has been keeping 14 of the American Bulldogs, described as little bears, in sheds near his home in Pittington.

Stephen Potts was arrested on suspicion of allowing his dogs to be out of control. He is on bail while the investigation continues.

PICTURE: Scene of attack where dogs mauled man

Five American bulldogs were involved in an attack which left a 63-year-old man with serious injuries to his head and limbs.

Stephen Potts, 48, from Pittington was walking the animals yesterday afternoon in this area between Pittington and Belmont.

Last month, he had one arm amputated in a dog attack.

He was arrested yesterday and later bailed. The 63-year-old victim remains in hospital.

The 63-year-old man was attacked on this footpath between Pittington and Belmont. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
Stephen Potts was walking five American bulldogs. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

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Abuse charges against social worker dropped

The trial of a senior social worker accused of sex attacks on vulnerable boys has been thrown out of court.

Brian Tansey was accused of five counts of abuse at Washington Hall residential school on Wearside and targeting another count during a trip with a different school.

The case against the 69-year-old was dropped at Newcastle Crown Court on its second day due to inconsistencies in the first alleged victim's account of what happened in the witness box.

Judge Brian Forster entered a not guilty verdict against all six charges Mr Tansey had faced and denied.

Judge Forster said the "right decision" had been made in the light of the difficulties.

The judge commended those concerned in Operation Viola, which the case was part of, which saw two social workers jailed for a total of almost 40 years for attacks on boys in similar circumstances.

John Duncan, 61, was sentenced to 24 years for abuse at schools, including Feversham, and Kevin Brown, 58, was jailed for 14 years for sex attacks at

Man bailed after 'five American bulldogs' attack

A police investigation is continuing after a man was seriously injured by dogs in County Durham yesterday

Police were called to reports of five American bulldogs attacking a man in the area between Pittington and Belmont. The dogs were secured and taken to kennels where they remain. The injured 63-year-old man from Belmont was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham where he remains.

A 48-year-old man from Pittington was arrested at the scene for failing to keep his dogs under proper control. He was questioned by police and released on bail.

Police believe both men were out on dog walks at the time of the incident. Officers have confirmed that nobody else was involved, as previously believed.

"I can confirm that the 48 year old man owns 14 American bulldogs in total and although only 5 were involved in this incident all 14 have been taken to local kennels as a safety precaution. This is an ongoing investigation and my officers will be in the local area speaking with people as we work to establish exactly what happened yesterday.” “After the events of yesterday clearly questions are being asked about this man’s ability to control his animals and this will form part of our investigation. The dogs are legally held in that they are not categorised as dangerous dogs under the dangerous dogs act 1991. However under new legislation introduced only this week, new options are available including a local authority public space protection order. I would like to reassure people that all available options will be considered.”

– Neighbourhood Chief Inspector for Durham Andy Huddleston
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