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Bus ban for teen who hurled porridge at driver

A bowel of porridge, like this one, was hurled at a bus driver. Credit:,

A teenager has been banned by a bus company after attacking a driver with a bowl of porridge.

Joshua Vickers, 18, tried to board an Arriva vehicle whilst carrying a steaming tub of the breakfast cereal and was refused by the driver.

Vickers hurled the bowl at the driver and it splattered against the protective window of his bus, magistrates were told.

Vickers, of Middleston Street, Darlington, threw the porridge tub at the protective window the driver sits behind.

Vickers went on to launch several verbal attacks on the driver and is now banned from all Arriva buses, the court heard.

The latest incident came on Tuesday, June 17, when Vickers attempted to board the 14B at about 2.50pm at the Tubwell Road bus stop in Darlington.

The prosecutor said Vickers threw a punch at the driver which connected with the man’s shoulder and, after getting off the bus, threw a can of energy drink at the door.

Vickers admitted using threatening or abusive words and behaviour.

Steph Thompson, in mitigation, said Vickers had been attempting to travel to his girlfriend’s house.

She said: “Mr Vickers would claim the driver provoked him but he knows that does not excuse his childish behaviour.”

Magistrates gave Vickers an 18 month community order with supervision and ordered him to pay £50 compensation to the driver and a £60 victim surcharge.


Back-street tattooist's work left mother in tears

A mum from Darlington has spoken out about an unlicensed tattooist after being unhappy with his work.

Angela Lewis, 51, wanted a tattoo of her date of birth in small Roman numerals across her collar bone but instead received a large and unsightly version more than 4 inches in length.

This tattoo was not what Angela Lewis had in mind. Credit: Angela Lewis

"My friend's daughter and husband had used him before and were happy with his work so I wasn't worried.

"I feel very embarrassed now but there's nothing I can do, I can't afford to have it covered up."

Jason Wilkinson, of Herbert Street, Darlington, appeared before Darlington magistrates after Ms Lewis made a complaint against him. She paid £30 for the tattoo.

Ms Lewis had the tattoo last year and cried when she removed the bandage and saw his work so reported him to Darlington Borough Council.

Wilkinson was fined £145 with £100 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Gold rush for North East world champ gymnasts

Eight gymnasts from Deerness Gymnastics Academy in County Durham have returned home as world champions after they all took Gold in their age group competitions this weekend while competing for Great Britain.

They competed in the FIG Acrobatic Gymnastics World Age Group Competitions in Paris.

Men's Group 11 - 16 Credit: Deerness Gymnastics Academy

In the 11-16 age category Michael Gill (15) from Ponteland, Nathan Brady (15) from Durham, Stuart Napier (14) from Durham and Finn Gavin (12) from Alnwick competed in the mens group. These four are current British Champions and also took the silver medal in the 2013 European Championships.

Mixed Pair 12 - 18 Credit: Deerness Gymnastics Academy

Millie Nesbitt (15) from Durham and Liam Sneath (17) from Spennymoor competed as a 12-18 mixed pair. Millie had already won a World Championship bronze medal in 2012.

Women's Pair 12 - 18 Credit: Deerness Gymnastics Academy

Abbi Greaves (13) from Ushaw Moor and Chelsea Fisher (17) from Darlington in the 12-18 womens pair. Chelsea and Abbi already held the 2014 British Championship title and took the silver medal in the European Championships in 2013.

Darlington animal park pays tribute to dead Parrot

Tributes have been paid to a foul-mouthed parrot who proved to be a popular attraction at a Darlington animal park.

Max, an African Grey, earned the affections of both staff and visitors at South Park despite his abusive language. The bird even won invitations to appear on TV with Paul O'Grady and celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

However, the parrot was found dead in his aviary. Park ranger Debbie Hall said:

"He picked up words and noises that got him attention.

"He was very good at the sound reversing bin wagons make,he could do the sound of a car's central locking, and he had a very good evil laugh.

"He had a very good wolf whistle as well. People would say there was somebody whistling at them and they would be told 'Don't worry about it, it's the parrot'.

"He very quickly became a popular feature."

– Debbie Hall, Ranger at South Park

The park will have a permanent tribute to Max in the form of a sculpture. While two female parrots have been donated to the park and they will take his place in the aviary.


Train's windscreen smashed

Smashed after an object was thrown at the train

British Transport Police officers are appealing for information after a train's windscreen was smashed. An object was thrown from Firthmoor Rail Bridge in Firthmoor on the outskirts of Darlington on June 17. Nobody was injured.

Damage to the windscreen
Inside the train
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