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78-year-old missing from care home in Co Durham

Robert Porter was reported missing by staff at the Sycamore Lodge Care Home on Briar Close Credit: Durham Constabulary

Police are appealing for the public’s help in finding an elderly man who has gone missing from his supported living home in Spennymoor, County Durham.

78-year-old Robert Porter was reported missing by staff at the Sycamore Lodge Care Home on Briar Close in the town at 1am today (Wednesday, 3rd September).

Robert was last seen at around 6pm yesterday evening by a member of staff. It is believed Robert may have left Briar Close to go to the local workingmen’s club or a local pub as this is something he often did, normally returning around 11pm.

Robert is described as medium build with short grey hair. When he was last seen he was wearing a blue waist length zip up jacket, a blue Hawaiian shirt, black tracksuit / jogging bottoms, and black footwear.

Inspector Sue Murray said “We are concerned for Robert’s safety as it is very much out of character for him not to return home by 11pm after an evening out. Robert relies on medication so it is imperative that we find him as soon as possible. With this in mind I would ask that anyone with any information about Robert’s whereabouts contacts us immediately.”

Police can be contacted on 101.

Spennymoor family criticises "army incompetence" over soldiers' deaths.

Pte Dean Hutchinson's parents, Paul and Elaine, and brother, Liam, issued a statement.

Mrs Hutchinson said on behalf of her family: "Dean was a soldier and we will also be immensely proud of the fact he served his country but we feel that he should never have lost his life in the way he did out there in Afghanistan.

"We are pleased that the coroner's conclusion reflects the Army's incompetence in not carrying out the correct procedures to ensure Dean's safety."

Fighting back tears, Mrs Hutchinson added: "God bless both our boys."

Ministry of Defence criticised over soldiers' tent fire deaths

Private Robert Wood (left) and Private Dean Hutchinson (right). Credit: Ministry of Defence

A coroner has criticised the Ministry of Defence for a series of failures over the deaths of two soldiers, including one from County Durham, in a fire which engulfed their tent as they slept at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner David Ridley said he would be making a "preventing further deaths" report over the case of Privates Rob Wood, 28, and Dean Hutchinson, 23, of Spennymoor.

Mr Ridley recorded a narrative conclusion and listed eight areas where there was either a "systemic failure" or "failure" in the circumstances that led to the men's deaths.

The two soldiers, who served with the Royal Logistic Corps, were killed when fire swept through a logistical centre at Camp Bastion in Helmand on February 14 2011.

There were delays in alerting the military fire brigade because soldiers at the scene did not know the emergency 222 number.

Fire investigators have concluded that the blaze started in the vicinity of the electrical appliances and quickly spread, igniting combustible materials stored nearby.

The inquest heard that both senior commanders and fire safety officers did not know the soldiers were sleeping on duty during night shifts.

Had they known, the fire risk assessment for the tent would have had to have reflected it, with separate sleeping areas and an unobstructed rear exit.

The "unwritten rule" for the troop was that the duty non-commissioned officer should have remained awake while the other soldiers slept.

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County Durham teenager becomes world champion

A teenager from County Durham has become a world champion after winning gold in an international Thai boxing competition in Malaysia.

Charlie Simpson trains in Spennymoor Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Fifteen year old Charlie Simpson was the only gold medallist from the North East at the International Amateur Muy Thai Federation World Championships.

The Spennymoor Thai boxer, who trains at Wolf Thai Boxing, beat a youngster from Luxembourg in the final to take home the medal.

Jobs saved at hotel

Around 40 jobs have been saved at a hotel in Durham.

Whitworth Hall hotel in Spennymoor has been sold by administrators to Derek Parnaby Cyclones International, saving the jobs of all 40 employees.

Administrators Andrew Haslam and Gary Lee continued operate the hotel while seeking a buyer and said the purchase was "great news for the customers, staff and creditors of the business."

Spennymoor Town FC victory bus parade

Spennymoor Town FC players have been welcomed home by crowds lining the streets.

The team won the FA Vase on Saturday after beating Tunbridge Wells 2-1 at Wembley.

Today they are parading through the town on an open top bus.

Fans get a quick picture before bus sets off. Credit: ITV news/Dan Ashby
Crowds line the streets to see victory bus parade. Credit: ITV news/Dan Ashby
The view from the victory bus. Credit: ITV news/Dan Ashby
Crowds welcome Spennymoor Town FC victory bus. Credit: ITV news/Dan Ashby
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