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Masked men in Sunderland aggravated burglary

Police are appealing for information after an aggravated burglary in Sunderland.

Three masked men entered an address at The Retreat just before midnight on October 19. One was armed with a knife.

They threatened the occupants before making off with money, a lap top, mobile phones and an iPad. Nobody was injured.

"Our enquiries into this incident are continuing today. Detectives are following all lines of enquiry to trace those responsible.

"Thankfully no-one was hurt but this was a frightening experience for those involved.

"I'd urge anyone who saw any suspicious activity around the address before or after the burglary to come forward.

"Anyone who may have been offered the stolen items for sale should also contact us.

"We know this will have caused concern among residents in the area. We have officers on patrol to provide reassurance and I'd urge people to speak to them with any worries they may have."

– Detective Sergeant Simon Auty, from Northumbria Police's Major Crime Team

Arrest over plane tragedy tweets after SAFC defeat

A Sunderland fan faced a backlash on Twitter after mocking the Newcastle United supporters who died on Malaysian flight MH17. After Sunderland lost 8-0 at Southampton on Saturday, a Twitter user posted disrespectful tweets, one of which said, ''We might be getting beat 8-0, but at least our fans never got butchered in Ukraine.''

A tweet showing cartoon images of planes and explosions was also posted via the social media website.

Newcastle fans Liam Sweeney and John Alder were travelling to see their team play in New Zealand, when their flight was shot down over Ukraine in July. Newcastle and Sunderland fans put aside their rivalry to unite in a time of grief.

Twitter-users condemned the comments. Anonymous True Fan wrote: ''You do not represent SAFC at all. Shame on you on such comments. Despite the rivalry, mutual respect is given.''

A Northumbria police spokesman said that a 19 year old man was arrested on suspicion of making a malicious communication, and has been bailed pending further inquiries.'

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Houghton war memorial damaged

Police are appealing for witnesses after a war memorial was damaged in Houghton.

Police believe the damaged was caused by an air weapon. It happened at the memorial on Easington Lane Access Point on Brick Garth, Easington, between Monday, September 29 - October 12.

The memorial has been damaged where the lettering is

"This is an upsetting crime. For someone to take what appears to be 'pot shots' at a war memorial is a particularly callous act. The damage to the memorial is not just costly to repair, but more than that is the emotional upset of this act.

"We are appealing for witnesses to this incident. We'd like to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area to contact police. These sorts of crime also affect the wider community, especially as we're now coming up to Remembrance Day, and the focus is once again on those who died serving their country."

– Houghton Neighbourhood Inspector Lisa Musgrove
Houghton war memorial

Mannone urges team-mates to reimburse fans

It was a frustrating afternoon for Sunderland fans Credit: PA

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone has urged his team-mates to reimburse travelling supporters who paid to watch the Black Cats' 8-0 defeat at Southampton.

Manager Gus Poyet described Saturday's shock result as his "most embarrassing" moment in football after overseeing the heaviest Premier League in Sunderland's history.

Former Arsenal stopper, Mannone, doesn't believe supporters who made the 650-mile round trip from Sunderland to Southampton should have to pay for their match tickets or travel costs after witnessing such a humiliating defeat.

"I will talk to the team to see if it is possible to pay for their tickets and their trip,"

"We should do it because we didn’t put our foot in, we didn’t work hard.

"We started the game well but after we conceded we threw in the towel and I include myself."

– Vito Mannone

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Aid worker returns home after Ebola fight

Cokie van der Velde and grandchildren Credit: ITV News

An aid worker from North Yorkshire has returned from West Africa after her latest spell helping to fight the deadly Ebola virus.

Cokie van der Velde, from York, is now enjoying time at home with her family.

She works for the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, and has been helping doctors to combat the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and Guinea.

Cokie van der Velde at work in East Africa Credit: ITV News

Prison officers cut by a third in the region

Prison officer numbers have been cut by more than a third in the North East in less than four years, according to the Howard League for Penal Reform.

That amounts to more than 600 prison officer posts in the region.

The worst hit prison is HMP Durham, where prison officer numbers have almost halved.

Here is a breakdown:

Deerbolt -33% Durham -49% Frankland -30% Holme House -40% Kirklevington -22% Low Newton -29%

"The prison system is in crisis, and these figures reveal why. While the prison population has grown, officer numbers have been cut without any thought for the consequences. A shortage of governors makes matters even worse, because officers are being taken off the wings and asked to 'act up' to fill vacancies. Having made prison officers redundant, the Ministry of Justice is now apparently struggling to recruit. These are desperate times, and ministers are resorting to desperate measures."

– Frances Crook, Howard League for Penal Reform

Tyne Tees Weather - Monday

Photo of Morpeth thanks to GRAEME WILSON

Bright or sunny spells will develop today with scattered showers, perhaps heavy at times initially during the morning before easing later.

Temperatures nearer normal so feeling fresher, and breezy - but less windy than on Sunday. Highs 14°C

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