Raids have taken place across the region today in what police say is one of their biggest crackdowns in 20 years on organised crime gangs.
A former North Yorkshire Police officer has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for possessing indecent images of children.
A man charged with the murders of a Teesside pensioner and a woman from North Yorkshire has appeared in court.
Gregg Easteal reports on a pioneering new turn in policing on Teesside that will bring criminals face to face with their victims.
Six men have been arrested as part of a police operation into football-related violence in Newcastle.
Officers arrested three men from Rowlands Gill, Lanchester and Tow Law on suspicion of affray yesterday, and have arrested a further two men from Newcastle and Washington today.
A 25-year-old man from Jarrow had previously been arrested on suspicion of affray on 3 March.
All six men are currently on bail.
The six arrests are linked to disorder following the Chelsea football match on 2 February at Raffertys bar in Newcastle. The disorder is believed to have involved both Newcastle united supporters and football fans from Scotland.
Police have also released CCTV images of four men that they would like to trace in relation to the same incident.
Anyone who recognises the people in the images is being asked to contact police at the earliest opportunity on 101, or through Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
A 24-year-old man has been jailed following a crackdown on drugs in North Shields.
Ian Maholem, of Tonbridge Avenue, was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison for possession of a Class C drug with intent to supply with an additional three-week sentence to run concurrently for possession of cannabis.
Maholem was targeted by the police when more than 160 tamazepam tablets were recovered along with two bags of cannabis from an address on Albion Road.
Officers also recovered two mobile phones, £200 cash and drug paraphernalia.
– Neighbourhood Inspector Geoff Cross
"This serves as a warning to criminals that we are watching and will catch those involved in drug-related crimes.
"Maholem is just one example of an offender who we've put behind bars. Our team uses intelligence to monitor drug activity in the area and we're aware of key players and hotspot areas.
"It is part of our crackdown on crime and disorder in the area. We're listening to the concerns of residents and ensuring that we keep their neighbourhood a safe place to live."
"Anyone with any concerns can contact the team at any time."
The North Shields Neighbourhood Team can be contacted on 101 ext 69191 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Police are appealing for information after a number of cars were vandalised in East Boldon over the weekend.
Four cars parked on North Road had their wing mirrors punched and kicked off overnight between Saturday 16 March and Sunday 17 March.
The vandalism is thought to have been done by a group of young people wearing hoodies between midnight and 12.30 am.
Anyone with any information is being asked to contact police on the 101 non-emergency number or by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
Police are appealing for information after a newborn micro pig and a guinea pig were stolen from Newham Grange Country Farm in Middlesbrough.
The black micro piglet, which is just four days old, was snatched when a woman poured water on the mother of the piglets to get her to move away from them.
– Mark Saunders from Newham Grange Country Farm
“We are concerned that the piglet won’t survive as it has been taken away from its mother and needs to be with her.
"The piglet is one of four born last week and the mother has been looking around for it amongst the other three since the incident happened. “
She also stole a guinea pig before running from the farm into an awaiting silver Ford Focus Zetec.
Police believe that the woman had entered the pens on a number of occasions and had been asked to leave.
The woman was accompanied by another woman, a man wearing a blue tracksuit, a small blonde child and a baby.
One of the women is described as having red hair, is white and of heavy build.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact PC Lyndsay Dale on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
– PC Lyndsay Dale
“This has been extremely distressing not only for the mother of the piglet but also for the staff who work at the farm.
"I would like to hear from anyone who has information; even if they don’t think it is significant as it could help us to locate the people responsible.”
Police are appealing for witnesses after a car was set on fire in Alnwick in the early hours of Saturday (16 March) morning.
Officers and the fire and rescue services were called to Lisburn Court in Alnwick where a Vauxhall Corsa was on fire just after three o'clock in the morning.
The car had been burgled before it was set on fire.
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to contact police in Alnwick on the 101 non-emergency number.
Police are investigating a robbery in Wallsend where a man walked into a building society and handed a note to staff saying that he had a gun.
The robbery happened at the Nationwide on High Street East in Wallsend at 1.20 pm today (Friday 15 March).
Staff passed over money to the man who then left. No gun was seen and no one was injured during the robbery.
The man is:
- Wearing dark track suit bottoms and trainers
- With dark stubble
- Carrying a black shoulder bag
Anyone with information about the robbery is being asked to call police on 101, or to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
A police investigation has been launched after a woman was raped in Wallsend.
A 27-year-old woman had been walking home alone between 2.30am and 3am this morning (Friday 15 March) when she was approached by a man who dragged her into nearby bushes and raped her.
The attack happened on a grassed area to the south of Archer Street and next to St Peter's Road, although police are working to locate the exact crime scene.
The man is:
- aged in his late 20s
- of thin build
- with a shaved head
– Chief Inspector Mandy Shea
"We recognise this incident will cause concerns for the community and the public can be assured we are doing everything possible to establish what has happened and find the man responsible.
"Incidents of this nature are very unusual and extremely traumatic for the victim. We are working with the victim and her family and supporting them as much as we can at this time."
Anyone with any information about the incident is being asked to contact police on 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
– Chief Inspector Mandy Shea
"We need to speak to anyone who was in the area around the time the offence happened and who may have seen or heard anything. I'd urge anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously or any suspicious behaviour to contact us as soon as possible with any information.
"We have extra officers in the area today and they are speaking to local residents to see if anyone saw or heard anything. There will be more patrols in the area and a visible policing presence to reassure the community and give people the opportunity to speak to the police."
A man has been arrested after an assault in Newcastle where a traffic cone was thrown at a man in a taxi.
The assault happened in the early hours of Sunday 10 March, when four men left the Blue Velvet club at Dean Street and flagged down a passing taxi.
As the four men got into the taxi, a group of men standing across the street shouted racial abuse at them.
One of the men on the other side of the road then picked up a traffic cone and threw it at the front seat passenger, who had the window down - cutting his face.
The traffic cone was then thrown at the taxi, causing damage.
A 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault, and also criminal damage, and has since been bailed.
Police are appealing for any witnesses to the incident to contact them on 101.
A man has been jailed after robbing a 10-year-old boy in the street on Teesside.
The court heard how the 10-year-old had been shouted at and kicked in the shin by Mark Duffie, before the man snatched his mobile phone.
The 28-year-old, who had 81 previous convictions, was "talking weirdly" as he stood behind the boy and followed him out of a shop in Stockton, before he stole his phone.
Duffie, identified from CCTV of the incident, told police he couldn't remember the incident or going out at all.
He also told police that he had taken heroin and smoked cannabis and could not remember committing the crime or not.
Duffie denied kicking a child, and later admitted robbery. He has been jailed for 22 months.
– Andrew Turton, defending
“He accepts that his conduct was entirely inappropriate.
“He regrets involvement in that. He is somewhat embarrassed by the fact
that the robbery involved a 10-year-old child, and is coming to terms with that.
“He didn’t accept the physical violence that the Crown were alleging.
“He was clearly under the influence of drugs. Clearly his demeanour and presentation would have been threatening to a young boy who was walkingdown the street. Mark Duffie was repeatedly asking for a use of his phone.
"When it was surrendered to him, he took it and didn’t return it.”
– Judge Peter Bowers
“On any view you’ve got an appalling record.
“This was particularly mean and nasty, bearing in mind the boy was only 10.”