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North East emergency services remember 9/11 victims

Emergency services across the North East remember the lives lost on September 11th 2001.

Student admits making an explosive after bomb scare

A Russian student has admitted to making an explosive substance after a bomb scare at Newcastle University.

Vladimir Aust has accepted making hexamethylenetriperoxidediamine (HMTD) between September 1 last year and June 11 this year.

The discovery of the volatile substance, sometimes used in the mining industry, outside the university accommodation building caused chaos in the busy city in the summer.

Read More: Bomb disposal experts called to Newcastle University

The 18-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge during a hearing at Newcastle Crown Court, where he appeared via video link.

A charge of having two lock knives when he was arrested at Bayswater Road in London, when he was believed to be heading for the Russian embassy, was denied and will be dropped.

The investigation was initially led by the Counter Terrorism Unit.

Judge James Goss QC adjorned the case until next month when Aust will be senteced via video link to the prison where he is being held.


Campaign targets metal-theft hotspots

Crimestoppers and Northern Powergrid are offering rewards of up to £1,000 for information on metal thieves. They are targeting areas they consider theft hotspots with a campaign across Twitter and Facebook. The organisations hope to raise awareness of the dangers of stealing high voltage cables, earthing and electrical equipment.

So far in 2014 there have been 354 incidents of metal theft or vandalism across Northern Powergrid’s network. In the North East, five separate incidents have taken place on power lines on Teesside, resulting in more than 700 metres of power cables being stolen and nearly 2,000 properties experiencing power cuts.

"Protect our children from cheap alcohol"

The leaders of 12 councils across the North East have written an open letter calling for the Government to protect children from cheap alcohol.

As leaders of the 12 councils in the North East of England with a responsibility for the public health of our communities we are increasingly concerned about the damage being caused by the widespread availability of cheap, strong alcohol. The latest North East figures speak for themselves:

– Open letter from 12 council leaders
  • One child is admitted to hospital every day because of alcohol
  • Alcohol related hospital admissions in the over 65s have doubled in the past 10 years
  • Over 570 alcohol related crimes are recorded in the region every day
  • It costs £3 million a day to clean up the problems caused by cheap booze.

The letter addressed to Andy Burnham MP, Paul Burstow MP, Jeremy Hunt MP and Norman Lamb MP goes on to blame the marketplace which "encourages and makes it easy" to consume alcohol.

It’s the most vulnerable who suffer as people in our most deprived communities are 45 per cent more likely to suffer an alcohol related death than those on the highest incomes.

It is clear local action is not enough. We need your help.

– Open letter from 12 council leaders

The letter asks the Government to put measures to tackle alcohol into the election manifesto.

  • Introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol set at 50p per unit.
  • Take measures to protect our children from the influence of alcohol marketing.
  • Review the licensing act, turning it into a strategic tool to be used by localities to minimise harm in their communities.

In the UK we are consuming twice as much alcohol as we did in the middle of the last century. The fact that it is 61 percent more affordable than it was in 1980; that we have seen a 25 per cent increase in off licensed premises selling alcohol; and that the industry is spending at least £800 million a year promoting its products is no coincidence. These are the things we need your help to address.

– Open letter from 12 council leaders

Local MP 'deeply disappointed' in Benefits Street filming

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, where the second series of Benefits Street is being filmed has said he is "deeply disappointed":

There is no doubt this is about exploiting vulnerable people in order to make money.

I know they will say it is about trying to give people a voice, but all they will do is expose them to the full glare of the national media.

– Alex Cunningham

He is joined by James Wharton, Tory MP for Stockton South - the neighbouring constituency to where filming is happening:

Lots of great things are happening in Stockton and I worry this programme will ignore that and reflect badly on the town.

I don't want them here making a programme which will show people in the worst possible light and potentially do such huge damage.

For the producers it's easy ratings for a few weeks, but the damage they do can last much longer.They should think again, not just about coming here but the whole nature of the programmes they make.

– James Wharton

Benefits Street to be filmed on Teesside

Filming for the second series of the television show Benefits Street has begun in Stockton, Teesside, despite opposition from local MPs, residents' groups and the local authority.

The first series of Benefits Street, filmed in Birmingham, set out to depict a close-knit community where many of the residents received benefits.

Ofcom received 900 complaints and critics of the show claimed it exploited the participants and branded it "poverty porn".

In April 2014, researchers for the programme were spotted on Teesside and we asked you Would you watch a North East Benefits Street?

The response via twitter and facebook was overwhelming, with some people calling the decision "disastrous".

Now, the second series has begun filming in Kingston Road, Stockton, and Stockton Council leader Bob Cook has voiced his concerns that the show will damage his town:

I am deeply disappointed to learn that the programme-makers have chosen Stockton despite the local residents' associations, residents, MP and council all making it clear that they aren't welcome.

They have ignored us in pursuit of their own needs and I am extremely concerned about the way in which the fantastic people who live and work in Stockton Borough will be portrayed by this programme. The vast majority of people know that the programme plays to negative stereotypes and I'm certain it won't reflect the amazing sense of community we have here in Stockton.

– Stockton Council Leader, Bob Cook


Help for women affected by post-natal depression

Stephanie Addison established a charity to help other women Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

A mother from Hartlepool is offering support to other women affected by post-natal depression.

Stephanie Addision established the charity Raindrops to Rainbows last year, in the wake of her own experiences.

The Royal College of Midwives estimates that 59 per cent of women feel down or depressed after giving birth. Its survey, in collaboration with the parenting website Mumsnet, also found that 75 per cent of the women affected had not sought help from a midwife or similar professional.

Stephanie, who is a mother to three children, hopes women will turn to organisations like hers to ensure they do not suffer in silence.

"Not many people understand post-natal depression as it can affect people in many ways depending on the severity. It is an illness that more people should be aware of."

– Stephanie Addison, Raindrops to Rainbows

RNLI: Yacht fire was a 'very frightening situation'

The RNLI has described a yacht fire 10 miles off the North East coast as a 'very frightening situation'. The sailor abandoned the yacht and was unhurt.

Hartlepool RNLI all-weather lifeboat and the burning yacht Credit: RNLI/Hartlepool

‘Fortunately the sailor was uninjured but it was very sad to see his yacht burn and then sink so quickly. We understand the boat was his home and he was sailing from Iceland to Holland, but it looks like he’s lost nearly everything.

‘He seems to have done all the right things in what must have been a very frightening situation. He launched the liferaft correctly and had everything he needed to keep safe, including a lifejacket, flares and water. He’s now being looked after by the Coastguard and we wish him well for his journey home.’

– Hartlepool RNLI coxswain Robbie Maiden

Sailor escapes burning yacht 10 miles off coast

A sailor had to abandon his yacht 10 miles off the North East coast after an explosion started a fire on board.

Hartlepool RNLI helped the man at 5.50am this morning (August 22). When volunteers arrived, the 38ft yacht was well alight.

Hartlepool RNLI all-weather lifeboat and the burning yacht Credit: RNLI/Hartlepool
Hartlepool RNLI all-weather and inshore lifeboats and the burning yacht Credit: RNLI/Tynemouth

Richard Kilty: 'I'll have a lot of medals by the end of 2016'

Young athletes have been getting a coaching session from one of our Commonweath and European Championship heroes.

Stockton sprinter Richard Kilty was in Gateshead this morning putting the would-be runners through their paces. The 24-year-old won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last month and gold at the European Championships in Zurich last weekend.

He has spoken to ITV Tyne Tees about his hopes for next year's European Indoors and the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Read More: Richard Kilty returns to the North East

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