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Fraudsters hack charity's phones and rack up £700 bill

Local children’s Charity, Children North East, is warning other charities and businesses to be on their guard after phone lines at their head office in Newcastle were hacked at the weekend.

Fraudsters clocked up a bill of £680 calling premium numbers abroad.

The Charity, currently in the middle of its Christmas Appeal, learned of the intrusion when their telecoms provider, O2, contacted them on Monday morning.

We provide support to children, young people and families who are in desperate need of our help. It’s dreadful to think someone would steal from a charity especially at this time of year. Every Christmas we collect thousands of gifts, food, practical items and money for families in need. The £680 we are having to now pay for stolen phone calls should have provided support for children and families.

As an organisation we take security very seriously and we would like to thank O2 for looking out for us and bringing this to our attention before any more damage could be done.

– Jeremy Cripps, Chief Executive, Children North East

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PICTURES: Middlesbrough players make festive visit to children in hospital

Players from Middlesbrough Football Club spread a little festive cheer today as they visited patients on the children's ward at the James Cook University Hospital.

Manager Aitor Karanka and members of the squad came bearing gifts for sick children who may have to spend Christmas on the ward.

Aitor Karanka brought came with some of his squad to the James Cook Hospital Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees News
Daniel Alaya (left) and Abella Damia (right) hand Christmas gifts to a sick baby Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees News
Abella Damia (left) was there to support children of all ages Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees News
Squad members pose for a photo with an excited mother and child Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees News
A young Boro fan is delighted with his early Christmas present Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees News

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North East in festive street names list

The North East has been praised in a poll of the best 'Christmas themed streets!' The survey, by Royal Mail, said the region scored highly in a national study, citing names like Holly street, Angel street, Bell street and Garland street as good examples.

The North East has its fair share of festive street names. Credit: ITV News

Christmas story is relevant to everyone, says Bishop

Paul Butler sat down with our Correspondent Frances Read to talk about his first year as Bishop in our region. Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

Tonight at 6pm we have an exclusive Christmas interview with the Bishop of Durham.

Paul Butler sat down with our Correspondent Frances Read to talk about his first year as Bishop in our region and how he thinks the Christmas story is relevant to everyone, even if they have a different faith or no faith at all.

You can see the full interview ITV News Tyne Tees at 6pm tonight.

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