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Massive police crackdown on travelling criminals

Police handler with dog in Operation Checkpoint

139 vehicles were stopped and cash and drugs seized in a joint police operation across the north of England.

Five police forces took part in Operation Checkpoint which ran from 3pm to 1am on Tuesday November 25 with the aim of providing reassurance patrols across rural communities, gathering intelligence and intercepting travelling criminals.

The operation saw more than 80 officers from North Yorkshire, Durham, Cleveland, Cumbria and Northumbria Police, take to the roads in what is the fourth operation of its kind, designed to create a hostile environment for travelling criminals to operate.

Intelligence shows that organised crime groups are targeting rural areas, moving across county borders in the north of England to steal goods, predominantly from rural communities.

Car stopped in Operation Checkpoint

DURHAM RESULTS 17 Vehicles stopped One fixed penalty issued for speeding Two vehicle defect rectification notices issued

NORTHUMBRIA RESULTS 10 vehicles stopped Assisted with arrest of Sunderland man in North Yorkshire and carried out related search of premises in Sunderland

CLEVELAND RESULTS Two vehicles stopped Crime prevention patrols in the Eston Hills area targeting illegal off-road bikes

Dog thefts rise dramatically in our region

Dog thefts in our region have risen by almost a third in just three years.

There have been 60 incidents in the last year - 28 percent more than two years earlier.

North Yorkshire has seen the biggest increase. There were two thefts in 2011, but already there have been 17 so far this year.

Footage of dogs being stolen.

This footage of two dogs being stolen last week went viral on social networks, making Nelson and Brock too hot to handle.

They were reunited with their owners hours later.

But dog thefts in our region are on the rise. In the 12 months to September this year dogs were stolen in 60 separate incidents across the North East's four police forces.

Joanne Smith had her two Labradors Jack and Hamish stolen in June 2013 in the yard of her farmhouse on the County Durham/ North Yorkshire border:

The reasons behind an increase in dog thefts are varied.

Some are being sold on the internet while others are being taken for breeding or even illegal dog fighting.

The Blue Cross organisation has the following tips for keeping your dogs safe:

  • Don't leave your dog tied up outside a shop where they are vulnerable and a potential target
  • Don't leave your dog alone in the car
  • Make sure your dog is microchipped
  • Your dog should always wear a collar and ID tag with your name and address on it
  • Take clear photos of your dog to help prove ownership if necessary
  • Have lots of photos of you with your dog
  • Take care when choosing a dog minder
  • Beware of strangers asking questions about your dog
  • Vary walk times and routes
  • Keep your garden secure
  • Keep your dog in view in the garden
  • If you breed puppies for sale, watch who you invite in to view
  • Decide who owns the dog in your household. Pets can become the centre of ownership disputes in the event of bereavement or break-up

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Mark Dixon death: Manslaughter charge

A 28-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter following an alleged incident in which 32-year-old Mark Dixon suffered serious head injuries.

Mr Dixon later died in hospital.

The alleged incident took place at around 4am on Sunday October 5 on Victoria Road in Hartlepool.

The man will appear at Hartlepool Magistrates Court on Wednesday 31st December.

Boosbeck: man charged with attempted murder

A 40-year-old man has been charged in connection with an incident in Boosbeck on Saturday, October 25.

The man was charged in the early hours of this morning with attempted murder, theft of a motor vehicle and drugs offences.

He appeared at Teesside Magistrates Court this morning.

A 66-year-old man who was found in an address on Brookside with serious head injuries remains in hospital in a poorly but stable condition.

A 37-year-old man who was also arrested on suspicion of attempted murder remains on bail pending further enquiries.

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Gazza surprises players at Wallsend Boys Club

Gazza at Wallsend Boys Club Credit: Wallsend Boys Club

Former Newcastle United star Paul Gascoigne surprised budding footballers at the famous Wallsend Boys Club.

Gazza, whose nephew plays for the under 13s, turned up to a game on Sunday November 23 to the delight of the club.

The Dunston-born midfielder started his career with Newcastle United before playing for Tottenham Hotspur, Lazio, Rangers, Everton and Middlesbrough.

Wallsend Boys Club has a host of successful alumni including Alan Shearer and Peter Beardsley.

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Lorry driver shortage could affect Christmas deliveries

Credit: PA

A shortage of lorry drivers could affect deliveries this Christmas, the Freight Transport Association has warned.

Areas up and down the country are said to be badly affected with 94% of operators saying it was a real cause for concern.

Shoppers are expected to spend £1.7 billion on online shopping in the run up to Christmas and all items have to be delivered before Christmas 25.

But the FTA said the shortage was a long-term issue that would spread beyond the festive period.

FTA skills policy manager Sally Gilson said: "With just a month to go until Christmas Day it is clear that the festive season is at the forefront of our minds. But driver shortage is not just a seasonal issue but a long-term problem.

"We have long voiced our worries regarding driver shortage and are calling on the Government to support the freight industry with funding in order to encourage new drivers to enrol in the logistics industry."

Manslaughter charge after Harrogate pub incident

Paul Morrison

A 44-year-old man from Harrogate has been charged with manslaughter after a man died in hospital almost three weeks after an incident in a pub beer garden.

Paul Colin Morrison, 51, from Burton Leonard, Harrogate, passed away at Harrogate District Hospital last week. He had been in a critical condition since the incident at Wetherspoons Royal Baths pub on Parliament Street on November 1.

The man charged has been bailed with conditions to appear at Harrogate Magistrates' Court in December.

"In particular, we have established that Mr Morrison and the other alleged victim were with a group of men who may have been talking to some women inside the pub. Mr Morrison is then believed to have chatted to a woman in the beer garden just before he was injured.

"There is no suggestion that these general conversations were in anyway linked to the alleged assaults that followed, but it is vitally important that these women contact the police as soon as possible to assist the investigation."

– Detective Sergeant Steve Menzies, of Harrogate CID
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