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Maternity ward evacuated during man's stand-off

A hospital maternity ward was evacuated when a man covered himself in lighter fluid and threatened to set himself on fire outside.

Women in the process of giving birth and others who had just had their babies had to be transferred to other departments as a result of David Kirsop's 45-minute stand-off outside South Tyneside District Hospital.

Pregnant women due to arrive for treatment or because their babies were coming had to be diverted to other hospitals.

South Tyneside District Hospital. Credit: ITV News

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Kirsop, 30, had sprayed himself with the flammable liquid while inside the hospital's Accident and Emergency Department on August 6 before moving to the rear of the maternity unit.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court: "Police officers and members of staff were trying to persuade him to put the lighter down and come with them and stop being a nuisance.

"His response at one point was to pour further lighter fluid over himself and repeat the threats to set fire to himself.

"Hospital staff were so concerned about the safety of those within the maternity ward they made the decision the ward would be closed and patients in there would be moved.

"Six ladies who were either in the process of giving birth or had just given birth were asked to move.

"Other patients were diverted and sent elsewhere."

Miss Dowling said aside from the huge inconvenience caused by Kirsop, nobody was actually harmed during the early evening incident.

Kirsop, of no fixed address, who has convictions for 51 previous offences, pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance.

Mr Recorder Nicholas Lumley QC sentenced Kirsop, who has been in custody on remand since the stand-off, to three months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months with rehabilitation and programme requirements.

The judge said people would have been "astonished and terrified" by his behaviour and told him: "The maternity ward had to be evacuated.

"Women in labour, a precious time in their lives and that of their babies, were moved.

"Other people had to be sent elsewhere, with the obvious worry and concern that would have caused.

"At the time, you were oblivious to their needs."

Speaking at the hearing, via videolink to HMP Durham, Kirsop made a public apology for what he did.

He told the court: "I have had a lot of time to reflect in here.

"In the time I have had to reflect, there has not been one day gone by that I haven't thought about the people in that maternity ward.

"I have got a lot of guilt and shame for that. I would like to apologise to them."

The judge said he accepted Kirsop's regret was genuine.

South Tyneside fly tipping - can you help find culprits?

South Tyneside Council is appealing for the public’s help in identifying fly tippers who dumped waste illegally on the banks of the River Tyne.

A large amount of rubbish, including kitchen worktops and cupboards, was discovered at Hebburn Marina by a member of South Tyneside Homes’ Handy Estates team carrying out inspections on Sunday morning.

Can you help? Credit: South Tyneside Council

The waste was dumped sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning and the council is seeking information about those responsible.

Fly tipping is a selfish crime and is totally unacceptable. Incidents like this spoil our natural environment and show a complete disregard for local communities and residents. There is no excuse for people not to dispose of their rubbish properly. There are significant costs involved in clearing and investigating this type of illegal disposal of waste which places a burden on the finances of the council and ultimately the taxpayer. This incident alone will cost around £1,000 to clean up, without any enforcement costs. I’d ask anyone who has any information about this incident to contact the council in confidence and help us bring the offenders to justice. While this is a quiet area, someone may have been out walking their dog or horse riding and we’d appeal for their help.”

– Cllr Moira Smith, South Tyneside Council

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'High risk' woman missing from Boldon Colliery

Ann Stewart. Credit: Northumbria Police

Police are asking for the public's help to trace a missing woman from Boldon.

Ann Stewart, 60 from Winslow Close, Boldon Colliery, was diagnosed last year with the early signs of dementia and may appear confused.

Her friends and family are concerned for her welfare.

She was last seen around 11am on Saturday, December 3, when she left her home address for a morning walk and failed to return.

She is just over five feet tall, of very slim build and has short auburn straight hair.

Anyone who has seen her is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 immediately.

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Lit firework posted through letterbox in South Tyneside

Police are appealing for information after a lit firework was posted through a letterbox in South Tyneside.

Church View, Boldon Colliery. Credit: Google maps.

The incident happened between 8.30pm and 9pm on Sunday 6th November in Church View in Boldon Colliery.

The firework caused minor damage to the property, however police are warning the consequences could have been far worse. No-one was injured in the incident.

Officers are carrying out enquiries and are appealing for witnesses. Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 998 061116 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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