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Byker wheelie bin fire warning

Credit: Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

Tyne and Wear residents are being encouraged to help keep themselves safe from fire following a number of deliberate wheelie bin and rubbish fires in the Byker Wall area last night.

Between 10.30pm and 11.20pm there were eight deliberately started fires in the area surrounding Byker Community Centre.

Two crews from Byker Community Fire Station, one crew from Newcastle Central and a Targeted Response Vehicle attended and dealt with the incidents.

Area Manager for Community Safety Kevin Gardner, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said:

Luckily no one was injured as a result of these incidents. However, fires involving wheelie bins can pose a serious risk.

Although people who start these fires might think it’s a bit of fun, the consequences can be very serious; the fire can easily spread to property, including people’s homes. They also tie up the fire crews who are not then available to attend other more serious or life-threatening incidents. A fire engine can't be in two places at once.

Residents can help protect themselves and their property, and reduce their chances of becoming a target, by putting their wheelie bins out shortly before they are due for collection and by bringing them back in as soon as possible after they have been emptied.

– Community Safety Manager Kevin Gardner, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service

Hartlepool rogue traders in court

Rogue traders pleaded guilty to scamming vulnerable people Credit: PA

A gang of rogue traders have pleaded guilty to two charges of consumer fraud after scamming vulnerable people in Hartlepool.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the three men drove an elderly dementia sufferer to a cash point to withdraw money - then abandoned him when they realised he had forgotten his bank card.

Prosecutor Ian West said the 81-year-old man handed over £60 for roofing work which was never done, then driven a mile to Linthorpe Village where he was just left.

A witness who was working on a nearby school saw the three men pull up in the hire van and approach the pensioner's home - and took down the number plate.

He watched as one of the scammers climbed onto the roof and simply sat on the ridge tiles for ten minutes before coming down and ask for his money.

Mr West told Recorder Eric Elliott, QC: "Again not a joy of work was done on the house . . . he was just abandoned there and left to make his own way home."

On another occasion last summer, the court heard that the bogus roofers charged an 84-year-old woman £250 for work on the guttering to her home which was never carried out.

Michael Gales, 26, Lee Davidson, 29, and Phillip Orton, 53, hired vans "week after week" to travel around looking for work.

Prosecutor Ian West said they targeted vulnerable people, and the younger two men "used Orton as a commodity" because he had a driving licence.

They pleaded guilty to two charges of consumer fraud.

Orton, of Windermere Road, Davidson, of Shelley Grove, and Gales, of Brenda Road, were all remanded in custody last night by Mr Recorder Elliott.

Mr West said: "These two offences, committed a month apart, were committed by the group. They had been hiring vans from the same company week after week.

"The Crown say there is an element of targeting here . . . Orton made admissions in his interview that he had been driving the others around knowing they were up to no good."

Church of England appoints new Bishop of Newcastle

The Venerable Christine Hardman has been appointed as the new Bishop of Newcastle.

The 64-year-old, who was ordained as a Priest in 1994, was Archdeacon of Lewisham and Greenwich in the Diocese of Southwark for eleven years.

The Venerable Christine Hardman holds a B.Sc (Econ) from the University of London and studied for an M.Th. in Applied Theology at the University of Oxford. Credit: Diocese of Newcastle

Christine Hardman becomes the seventh female bishop in the UK.

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Weather: Wednesday

Credit: Ray Smith

Rather cloudy with some sunny spells and scattered showers, these occasionally heavy.

Feeling cool with brisk northwesterly winds, especially near coasts.

Winds becoming strong near coasts later in the night. Maximum Temperature 15°C.

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