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Bupa pull out of sponsoring Great North Run after 22 years

Great North Run 2014 Credit: PA

Great North Run sponsors BUPA have pulled out of backing the race.

The health care specialists have sponsored the event for the past 22 years and have said they wouldn’t be supporting the event following a “review of sponsorship”.

On the Great North Run Facebook page a statement has been published:

Event organisers Nova International would like to thank Bupa for their sponsorship of the Great Run Series over the last 22 years. We will be announcing a new partner in due course and we would like to reassure you that the change will have no effect on our events which will progress as planned.

We look forward to seeing you in 2015 for our biggest and best year of Great Run events!

– GNR Facebook Page

Hundreds of construction jobs created for ex-service personnel

Former military personnel are being offered the chance to retrain as construction workers with one of Britain's biggest house builders.

Persimmon Homes launched its recruitment drive in Durham today. The company says it will initially take on up to 500 former servicemen and women as paid trainees.

The recruits undergo initial assessments at a centre in Darlington - followed by on-site training to NVQ level. It's an 18-month programme and the company says it's helping to plug a skills gap.

Persimmon Homes Chief Executive Jeff Fairburn said: "I'm proud that we're employing ex forces and I think they deserve an opportunity so I'm very keen to see other employers come up with similar initiatives, It does take a bit of planning, we've put quite a bit of work into this but we want it to be a success and hopefully other businesses will see the opportunities."

Bricklaying apprentice Ross Wilson, formerly of the Scots Guards, said: "After 21 years in an infantry regiment to come out knowing that I'm going into a three year contract straight away getting paid is fantastic, I know a lot of people who have got out of the army and have struggled to find work."

Durham Police: seized cocaine was "exceptionally pure"

“The cocaine seized during this investigation was of exceptionally high purity. At source the production process typically produces cocaine with a purity of around 90% with the usual purity by the time it enters the UK in the order of 60%. The cocaine we seized ranged in its purity from 72% to 91%, meaning the source of the drugs was very close to its point of production and importation. Cocaine currently sold at ‘street level’ in our area ranges between 12%-22% once it has been cut with other substances, with the average value of a deal being £60 for one gram of cocaine. This demonstrates that the people taken out as part of Operation Skyhawk were at the top of their game and the sentences handed down by the courts reflect that.”

– Detective Chief Inspector Victoria Fuller, Durham Police

Gang member jailed following £500,000 drugs seizures

Jonny Lee Credit: Durham Police

The final member of an organised crime gang who dealt in class ‘A’ drugs across both the north east and north west of England has been sentenced at Teesside Crown Court today.

Twelve gang members have already received prison sentences totalling more than 60 years.

And today Jonny Lee, 35, from Ferryhill received a two-year prison term after pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of class A drugs.

Lee and the others were caught as a result of a lengthy surveillance and evidence-gathering operation which culminated with 200 officers involved in early-morning raids at properties across County Durham and Merseyside in early February 2013.

The group was involved in the large scale supply of cocaine and cannabis, and associated money laundering offences from the proceeds of crime.

Operation Skyhawk was an investigation conducted by Durham Police.

During the course of the investigation, police officers made a number of significant seizures of both drugs.

Three separate seizures of cocaine were made by the police in 2012, including a haul of nearly 2 kilos in September of that year worth over £480,000, while 24kg of cannabis resin was seized in November with an estimated value of £31,000.

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