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  1. National

Councils must encourage more 'free' ATMs says minister

File photo dated 18/03/13 of money being taken out of a cash machine. Credit: Lynne Cameron/PA Wire

Councils should encourage shops to install free cash machines by offering business rate discounts, a Government Minister has said.

Local Government Minister Penny Mordaunt said that small shops often struggle with local rates payable on cash machines, so giving them an incentive to install free machines would help their businesses and consumers facing fees at the same time.

Ms Mordaunt said: "People should not have to pay through the nose to access their cash. Free-to-use cash machines are a vital service that we are asking councils to take seriously."

The suggestion was welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores, which said half of local stores now contained an ATM.

Despite the growth of cashless payment systems many small stores still rely on cash. But machines in shops can often charge fees of several pounds to users no matter how big the withdrawal.


  1. National

Archbishop of Canterbury diagnosed with pneumonia

Credit: PA Wire

The Archbishop of Canterbury has been diagnosed with pneumonia after being forced to pull out of his Christmas Day sermon through illness, Lambeth Palace said.

The Most Rev Justin Welby missed the annual Canterbury Cathedral service after being unwell for a several days with what was thought at the time to be a "severe cold".

Lambeth Palace tweeted today:

Today, he was taking bed rest at home but a Boxing Day tweet was posted on his personal account, saying:

Man dies in three-car crash

A man died following a collision on the Southbound A1 near Scotch Corner.

The man, 72, from Darlington, was travelling with two other people in a red Ford Focus when the accident happened.

The two other occupants of the car were uninjured.

Two other cars - a Silver Peugeot 206 and a Black Nissan Qashqai - were involved in the collision. None of the occupants of either cars were injured.

The incident happened at around 7.40am on Boxing Day at junction 56 between Barton and Scotch Corner. Police are asking anyone who saw the red Ford Focus prior to the incident to contact them on 101.


Hundreds brave the cold in Boxing Day dips

Crowds in the sea at Redcar Credit: Dave Cocks/RNLI
Boxing Day Dip at Redcar Credit: Dave Cocks/RNLI
Sunderland RFC players get ready for the Dip at Sunderland Credit: Sunderland RFC
Hundreds head for the cold in Redcar Credit: Dave Cocks/RNLI
Boxing Day Dip at Redcar Credit: Dave Cocks/RNLI

Hundreds of fundraisers braved the icy waters of Boxing Day to take part in Dips across the regions.

People of all ages donned fancy dress and crazy swimming costumes to participate in the 31st annual dip at Seaburn in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, Redcar and South Shields among others.

Boxing Day Dip South Shields Credit: Keith Miller
Boxing Day Dip South Shields Credit: Keith Miller

Police continue appeal for missing football fan

Police searching for a missing football fan say his family are desperate to hear from him.

Colin Pine, 55, of Ennerdale in Albany, Washington, didn't return home after going out to watch the Tyne-Wear derby on Sunday afternoon, December 21.

He was reported missing in the early hours of Monday morning, December 22.

It's thought d he watched the match at The Swan Public House in Heworth.

Police are carrying out enquiries to trace him including carrying out searches and viewing CCTV.

Superintendent Scott Hall said: "Mr Pine's family are desperate to hear from him, this is distressing at any time of year but over the Christmas period it is particularly difficult.

"If anyone has any information about where Mr Pine is, if they saw him after the match on Sunday or think they may have seen him since, we want to hear from them.

"No matter how small or insignificant the information may appear it could be vital in piecing together Mr Pine's movement and helping us to find him.

"It's now been almost a week since Mr Pine was last seen and we're extremely concerned for his welfare.

"If anyone was in The Swan on Sunday and has not yet spoken to us we would also ask them to get in contact."

Mr Pine is described as 5ft 6ins tall of stocky build, and when last seen he was wearing a black fleece, navy blue t-shirt, blue jeans and black walking boots.

Anyone who sees him or who knows of his whereabouts is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191, quoting reference 189 22/12/14.

  1. National

'Protect most vulnerable' during cold snap

Temperatures could drop to -10C in the coming days. Credit: PA

Public Health England urged people to keep an eye out for vulnerable friends and neighbours during the cold weather.

Dr Angie Bone, its head of extreme events, said:

We advise people to keep active in the home, have plenty of warm food and drinks and maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C - particularly the older or very young, people with pre-existing health conditions, or who are not very mobile, as these groups can be particularly vulnerable to the ill-effects of cold.

Also take some time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends, family and neighbours - it's important we all do what we can to protect those around us.

If you do need to go out, remember to wear lots of thin layers and shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip to prevent any accidental falls.

– Dr Angie Bone
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