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Police appeal to find missing journalist

Police are increasingly concerned for the safety of a Northern Echo journalist who has gone missing.

43-year-old Neil Hunter from Hartlepool was last seen at around 5pm on Wednesday in Seaton Carew.

Mr Hunter is well known as a court reporter, and previously worked for the Hartlepool Mail.

He is described as: 5ft 10 inches tall, slim build, with dark cropped hair and brown eyes.

He was last seen wearing dark baggy trousers and a dark T-shirt.

Cleveland Police say he may have been carrying a rucksack, wearing a puffa style jacket and possibly wearing glasses.

It is understood to be out of character for Mr Hunter to go missing.

Anyone who knows of his whereabouts should call police on the non-emergency number 101.

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Hundreds charged as part of police operation

Police have charged more than 350 people with shop thefts during the first month of a police crack down.

Northumbria Police launched operation Soundwave to tackle opportunist thieves.

During March, 359 people were charged with shoplifting across the force as part of the operation. 15 people were sent to court and a further 82 were given a caution.

"We're driving out thieves and there is nowhere for them to hide. During March we charged more than 350 people with offences and there will be no let up.

"The majority of those people we are dealing with are known shop thieves who have arrested before and we're doing everything we can to put them before the courts to be dealt with.

"We're working with retailers and their store security staff to prevent offences from taking place, ensuring messages about known offenders are communicated through Shopwatch schemes and using CCTV to prevent and detect offences."

– Superintendent Alan Veitch, Northumbria Police

Drugs and cash found in house raid

Police discovered suspected drugs and a large amount of cash while searching a house in Jesmond, Newcastle

Officers, together with a team from environmental health, went to an address to seize equipment as part of a noise abatement order.

When they arrived they discovered the money and drugs and a man,24, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled class-A drug with intent to supply.

Another man, 22, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled class B drug with intent to supply.

Both are students at Newcastle University, which has been informed and will follow its own disciplinary procedure.

In addition, a third man aged 27 was also arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled class A drug with intent to supply. All three have been bailed pending further enquiries.

"This should act as a warning to people that we work closely with our partners to take action against those suspected of being involved in drug use and supply.

"In particular, students should be aware that we share information with partner agencies, including the universities, and none of us will tolerate such behaviour. Criminal activity such as this could see them removed from education and ruin their bright future prospects, not to mention the health implications. It's just not worth it."

– Neighbourhood Inspector Neil Brotherton

North East police access calls and emails 50 times a day

Police in our region are scrutinising people's emails and phone calls more than fifty times a day.

A report by the Information Commissioner revealed that forces in the North East and North Yorkshire tapped into communications data almost 20,000 times in 2013.

Detective Superintendent Lee Johnson, from Durham Police, told us the powers are needed to look for missing people and convict criminals.

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Man convicted of murder

John Hall

A man who beat up his childhood friend with a baseball bat has been found guilty of murder.

Nicholas Rought, 45, of Princess Street, Shiney Row, has been convicted of the murder of 46-year-old John Hall at a house in Shiney Row.

His body was found in a country lane at West Rainton near to Durham City,

Another defendant, Stuart Smith, 42, of no fixed abode, originally from Shotley Bridge, was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter at Newcastle Crown Court.

They will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Attempted robbery at Northumberland shop

Police are appealing for information following an attempted robbery in Northumberland shop.

Officers were called at around 7.30pm on Monday, March 10, to a report of a man wearing a clown mask and armed with a knife in Park Stores, Alexandra Road,in Ashington.

The man reportedly demanded money but, following a struggle, left the store empty handed.

Police are appealing for any witnesses.

"Thankfully the shopkeeper wasn't injured as a result of this incident but he was obviously left very shaken.

"Investigations are ongoing and I'd urge anyone with information to come forward.

"If anyone was in the area at the time of the attempted robbery or spotted any suspicious activity they should contact us. We'd also like to talk to anyone who saw a man with his face covered making his way to or from the store.

"Officers are patrolling the area to offer reassurance to residents. I'd ask anyone with concerns to speak to them."

– Detective Sergeant Tracey Moore

Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting log number 1139 10/03/14, or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Police want public's help to trace wanted man

North Yorkshire Police are appealing for the public’s help to locate a man wanted for recall to prison.

Christopher Hugill, 29, from Richmond, is wanted for recall to prison as he has breached the terms of his licence after failing to live at a specified address and has not attended appointments.

Hugill was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment in 2012 for common assault. He was released in June 2013.

He is described as white, 5ft 10in tall with a medium build and short brown hair.

Although his whereabouts are unknown it is believed that Christopher Hugill is still in the Richmond area.

Members of the public can contact North Yorkshire Police by calling 101.

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