Bonfire Night diary

Our reporter Jonny Blair spent the evening shadowing Tyne and Wear's 'blue watch' crew, based at Gateshead Community Fire Station.

Live updates


Record breaking Great North Dog Walk 2013

They say every dog has its day and that was certainly the case this weekend. Thousands of canine companions descended on South Shields' coastline for the biggest dog walk in the world.

The event, which raises money for animal charities is in its 23rd year. It won the Guinness World Record for the biggest in the world last year and organisers are confident they will retain the crown.

Watch Vanessa Baffoe's report here:

Gateshead pensioner drops extradition fight

A suspected sex offender from Tyne and Wear has ended his legal battle against extradition to Australia for offences he allegedly committed 40 years ago.

71-year-old Geoffrey Woodward from Gateshead, is withdrawing his High Court appeal and agreeing to surrender to the Australian authorities, a judge said.

The pensioner, who had denied rape allegations, fought against the extradition request on the grounds of his poor health.

However, Westminster Magistrates' Court upheld his removal and it was approved by the Home Secretary.

The former soldier, who worked as an industrial radiographer in Australia, then launched his High Court appeal under the 2003 Extradition Act.

He faces seven counts of rape and one of serious sexual assault on a girl between the ages of 11-13, relating to offences committed between 1973 and 1975.

The sexual abuse is alleged to have continued until 1978. Woodward moved back to the North East in 1979 and to Gateshead in 1980.

The alleged victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, also spent some time living in England and first reported the alleged abuse to Northumbria Police, who contacted their counterparts in New South Wales.

An arrest warrant was issued for Woodward in October 2010.

Lord Justice Laws, sitting at London's High Court, announced that Woodward was now consenting to his removal and would remain on bail pending his surrender.

'No comment' from weather presenter's agent

The agent for ITV Granada Reports weather presenter Fred Talbot has declined to comment after the 63-year-old was arrested on suspicion of historic sex offences.

Mr Talbot was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of historic sex offences in relation to abuse against former pupils who attended a school in Manchester between the early 1970s and early 1980s.

Police are now appealing for former pupils from various schools in the Tyne and Wear area, including Saltwell and Slatyford High School, to get in touch with them if they have any information which they believe may assist police.


Police make appeal to former pupils in Tyne & Wear

ITV weather presenter Fred Talbot Credit: ITV News

Detectives investigating reports of historic sexual abuse against Granada weatherman Fred Talbot at a Trafford school are trying to trace former pupils of schools in the Tyne and Wear area.

On Tuesday April 9th, 63-year-old Mr Talbot was arrested on suspicion of historic sex offences in relation to abuse against former pupils who attended Altrincham Grammar School for Boys.

The offences relate to his time as a teacher at the school from the early 1970s to early 1980s, while the four alleged victims were pupils. He has been released on bail until August pending further enquiries.

Detective Chief Inspector Koran Sellars, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "Following the publicity surrounding this man’s arrest information has been received from the public that he taught at various schools in the Tyne and Wear area and which included Saltwell and Slatyford High School.

“Anyone who attended these or any other schools between 1968 and the early 1970s and who has any information which they believe may assist police are asked to call Greater Manchester Police.

“All information received will be treated in the strictest of confidence.“

Anyone with information is asked to contact Greater Manchester Police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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