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County Durham aid worker sets up Ebola hospital in Sierra Leone

Aid worker Paula Sansom has travelled to Sierra Leone. Credit: Family photo

The parents of an aid worker from County Durham, who has joined the effort to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa, say it's probably the most dangerous mission their daughter has ever undertaken.

Paula Sansom, from Middleton St George, has worked on disaster relief operations across the world.

She had just two days' notice to get to Sierra Leone, to help set up a hospital.

It's different because when she's been out to earthquakes, or tsunamis, floods, that sort of thing, you've know what you're up against.

I should imagine this one's a bit more scary because it's in the air, you don't know who your enemy is.

It's a virus, it's horrific.

– Roger Sansom, Paula's father

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

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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

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