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Bingo hall in Portadown targeted by armed robber

A masked man has threatened staff at a Portadown bingo hall with a hatchet before escaping with a sum of cash.

It happened at around 9pm on Tuesday night.

The man is described as being around 6' 3", of medium build and wearing a hooded top and dark jeans.

The distinctive-looking top had a lighter coloured lining to the hood.

No-one was injured in the incident.

Detectives investigating the robbery are appealing for anyone with information to contact Lurgan CID on 101, quoting reference number 1294 for 12/12/17.

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Baby's ashes stolen in Belfast burglary

Credit: Pacemaker

A baby's ashes have been stolen from a house in north Belfast.

A small clear bag was taken from a wooden box containing the ashes of the victim's deceased baby daughter, police said.

The burglary happened in the Ballygomartin Road area on Tuesday evening.

The baby's mother, Claire Smallwood, said it was "like getting her taken away from you again after losing her already".

She said it would mean everything to have the ashes returned safely to them.

"It's our first daughter. We have memories and photographs, but it's the last physical remains of her.

"Any parent will know what it means and if they're a parent, they'll know," she added.

PSNI Inspector Paul Noble said, "Understandably, this has left the victim extremely distressed; therefore, we are appealing to whoever entered the property last night to please do the right thing and return the bag to police."

He appealed for anyone with any information to contact police.

Claire posted on social media and said her daughter's name was Holly.

She said the burglary happened between 6.30pm and 9.15pm.

"The sick and sad thing is who ever done it took Holly's ashes. The police believe they thought it was drugs.

"We our absolutely devastated, angry and sickened."

She added: "We don't care about what ever sick person done this we just want our Holly back :-( They are simply in a small plastic bag and tied in a knot."

Around 400 schools to go into debt warns education chief

The Chief Executive of the Education Authority has claimed that not enough money is being put into Northern Ireland's education system at the moment.

Revealing that around four-hundred schools are set to be in debt by the end of the year, Gavin Boyd insists that now is the time for a review, and reform.

UTV correspondent Jane Loughrey reports.

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Comedian Peter Kay cancels tour 'due to unforeseen circumstances'

Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive

Comedian Peter Kay says 'unforeseen circumstances' are behind his decision to cancel a stand-up tour along with his other live work commitments.

The Phoenix Nights star had been due to perform six shows at the SSE Arena in Belfast in January 2019.

It would have been his first live stand-up tour in eight years.

The 44-year-old offered his fans his "sincerest apologies" and said, "This decision has not been taken lightly and I'm sure you'll understand my family must always come first.

"I've always endeavoured to protect my family’s privacy from the media. I hope that the media and the public will continue to respect our privacy at this time. Once again I'm very sorry."

Anyone who purchased a ticket for the live arena tour and Dance for Life shows will be refunded from their original point of purchase and any specific ticket queries should be directed to them.

As Dance for Life is a charitable event in aid of Cancer Research UK, ticket holders may, if they wish, still donate to Cancer Research UK by visiting www.cancerresearchuk.org

For Ticketmaster customers who purchased online or by telephone using debit or credit card no action is required as your account will automatically be refunded within the next few days.

For customers who purchased in person from a Ticketmaster agent outlet or venue full refunds available from your point of purchase from Thursday 14th December.

Trio arrested in Strabane released

Two women and a man who were arrested in Strabane on Tuesday in connection with an ongoing investigation into dissident activity have been released unconditionally.

The women, aged 43 and 50 and the 47-year-old man were arrested under the Terrorism Act.

The older woman was also detained on suspicion of possessing a firearm. For this offence she was released on bail, pending further enquiries.

Draw held for Irish Cup fifth round

Credit: UTV

The draw for the fifth round of the Irish Cup was made on Tuesday at Windsor Park.

Teams from the Premiership and Championship enter the competition at this round, so there could be a chance of a giant killing.

UTV sports reporter Simon McIntyre has more.

Tennent's Irish Cup fifth round fixtures (Matches to be played on Saturday, 6 January)

Loughgall v PSNI Coleraine v Lisburn Distillery Carrick Rangers v Glenavon Larne v Dergview Crusaders v Maiden City Queen's University v Dundela Newry City v H&W Welders Cliftonville v Warrenpoint Town Portadown v Ballyclare Comrades Dungannon Swifts v Limavady United Linfield v Glebe Rangers Knockbreda v Institute Ballinamallard United v Immaculata Lurgan Celtic v Glentoran Ballymena United v Moyola Park Ards v Crumlin Star

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