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Prison officers cut by a third in the region

Prison officer numbers have been cut by more than a third in the North East in less than four years, according to the Howard League for Penal Reform.

That amounts to more than 600 prison officer posts in the region.

The worst hit prison is HMP Durham, where prison officer numbers have almost halved.

Here is a breakdown:

Deerbolt -33% Durham -49% Frankland -30% Holme House -40% Kirklevington -22% Low Newton -29%

"The prison system is in crisis, and these figures reveal why. While the prison population has grown, officer numbers have been cut without any thought for the consequences. A shortage of governors makes matters even worse, because officers are being taken off the wings and asked to 'act up' to fill vacancies. Having made prison officers redundant, the Ministry of Justice is now apparently struggling to recruit. These are desperate times, and ministers are resorting to desperate measures."

– Frances Crook, Howard League for Penal Reform

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Armed robbery at Tyneside social club

Police have been called to Tynemouth and District Social Club on Front Street in Tynemouth at 9.15am Sunday following reports of a robbery.

Two men, wearing hoodies and scarves across their faces, entered the club via the rear of the premises one is believed to have been armed with a handgun.

They demanded cash and a member of staff was pushed against the door, causing an injury to his arm. The robbers left with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police say staff were left shocked by the incident one member of staff was taken to hospital as a precaution.

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