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Student responsible for bomb scare sentenced to prison

18-year-old Russian student, Vladimir Aust Credit: North East Counter Terrorism Unit

18-year-old, Vladimir Aust has been sentenced to two years in prison at Newcastle Crown Court for making an explosive 'highly popular with terrorists'.

The Russian student pleaded guilty to the manufacturing of an explosive substance, Hexamethylenetriperoxidediamine (HMTD), after chemicals were discovered at a Newcastle University student accommodation campus in June 2014.

Vladimir Aust's desk. Credit: North East Counter Terrorism Unit

Mr Justice Coulson said he received credit for his age, his remorse, his previous good character and his early guilty plea.

He added HMTD terrorists "explosive of choice" and that sentences passed on those who manufactured it needed to be a deterrent.

He said the other aggravating factors were the prolonged period of time over which he made the substance, between February and June, that he had detonated it at least four times, and that others in the halls had been put at risk.

The judge decided that Aust was not part of a wider terror group:

You were dangerous, but acting alone.

– Mr Justice Coulson

The charges follow an investigation by the North East Counter Terrorism Unit and Northumbria Police.

Vladimir Aust clearly had a growing fascination with chemicals and manufacturing them into explosives.

Some of the items recovered are classed as potentially volatile and therefore could have put those within the vicinity at risk.

Although there is no evidence or indication what Aust planned to do with the items he manufactured, the hours he spent researching and working on them is of great concern.

– Ian Wilson, Head of the North East Counter Terrorism Unit
Knives used as part of the evidence in the case against Vladmir Aust. Credit: North East Counter Terrorism Unit

A second 18-year-old man, arrested in connection with the investigation in June, has since been released without charge.

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Second day of NHS strike action

Today is the second day of action for NHS staff in our region - including midwives, who walked out on strike for the first time ever yesterday in a row over pay.

Today, union members from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire will follow yesterday's four-hour walk-out with four days of "work to rule".

Tony Pearson, from Unison Yorkshire and Humberside, explains that it is to demonstrate NHS workers often work through their breaks.

Trade unions want a 1% pay rise for all NHS staff, but the government says that will cost too much.


'Enough is enough. We need to make a stand'

Nurses and hospital workers across the North East NHS have been striking this morning in a dispute over pay. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Cat Rowney, an NHS midwife at Newcastle's RVI hospital, has spoken of the anger she and fellow hospital workers across the North East feel.

It has got very bad in the last few years, we're in a decade long baby boom at the moment so there's more and more babies being born with less and less staff.

People aren't encouraged to come into midwifery anymore because of all the issues that are going on. We work very long hours, we often work unpaid overtime, we don't get breaks, we don't get to have anything to eat, we don't get to go to the toilet.

It's got to the point where enough's enough and we need to make a stand and let everyone hear our voice.

– Cat Rowney
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NHS staff say strike action is 'last resort'

NHS workers at Leeds General Infirmary who have taken part in today's four hour strike have said industrial action is a last resort.

Edward Barr from Unite, Matthew Barker who is a porter, Fiona Powell, an NHS worker and midwives Liz Furness and Anita Marshall, have been speaking to ITV Yorkshire about why they chose to strike.

Eighty people on RVI picket line

Turnout at the entrance to the Royal Victoria Infirmary is about 80 people.

80 people protest at the RVI Credit: ITV

"I'm really impressed with the turnout. The atmosphere is absolutely fantastic and everyone is pulling together to make it clear to the Government that we deserve this pay rise."

– Rebecca Banks, who has been a midwife for 18 years


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Hunt: 'We absolutely will talk to unions'

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the government is prepared to talk to the striking NHS unions about the current pay rise dispute.

Jeremy Hunt Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

He said: "We will talk to them if they're prepared to look to reform the system of increments, which is unclear and unfair.

"I recognise frontline staff do a magnificent job in the NHS."

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