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Manager fined £30,000 for running 'filthy' pub

A food business has been ordered to pay £30,894 after environmental health officers found filthy conditions in the premises, structural defects, a lack of food hygiene training, rat droppings and out of date food.

Mr Mark Miles, the current Managing Director of Inndulgence Ltd admitted 11 offences under the Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 concerning his business at The Grapes Inn at Scaling Dam.

Mr Miles appeared at Teesside Magistrates' Court following an investigation by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council.

The barrister for the council, Morgan Brien, told magistrates that officers closed the business using a voluntary agreement with Mr Miles in order to protect the public.

Both the food business operator and the cook had inadequate knowledge of food safety and hygiene matters.

In mitigation the court heard that The Grapes Inn was struggling financially but accepted responsibility for the offences.


Tribute to boy, 17, killed in Easington crash

Karl Bennett. Credit: Durham Police

A family has paid tribute to a teenager who died in a crash in County Durham at the weekend.

Shortly after midnight on Sunday, 17th May, Karl Martin Bennett, aged 17, was a passenger in a Ford Mondeo when it left the road and crashed near a garden centre on the A182, South Hetton Road, Easington.

The car came to rest in a field.

Police were alerted immediately by a passing motorist.

However, Karl was confirmed dead from his injuries at the scene.

The other two occupants were men aged 18, and from the South Hetton and Easington Lane areas.

They were treated at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough but have since been discharged.

Karl was from Easington Lane and his family said he had been looking forward to his 18th birthday next week.

Karl had a promising apprenticeship as a design technician with Northern Gas Networks in Sunderland and was a keen amateur boxer at the former Hetton Boxing Club. He will be sadly missed by his brothers Josh and Ben and his mum and dad, also step-mum and step-dad."

– Family Statement

Officers are trying to piece together the sequence of events leading up to the accident, and we are keen to hear from anyone who may have seen the green Mondeo during late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning."

– Sgt Simon Kestle, Durham Police


Former pit goes back to nature

Easington Colliery, which closed in 1993. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A new proposal aims to breathe new life into an old coal mine with plans to turn land in Easington Colliery into a nature reserve.

The former colliery, on the outskirts of the village towards the coast, closed in 1993 and the site was landscaped for wildlife and recreation six years later.

Now, proposals have been unveiled to declare the land, which is owned by Durham County Council, as a local nature reserve to help protect the site for future generations and get more local people involved.

Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) are a great place for families to enjoy and to interact with the natural environment.

By formally declaring the site as a nature reserve we would be protecting it in the long-term and providing an accessible recreational facility in Easington as well as allowing local groups to help offer environmental learning and health-based events for the whole community.

– Cllr Neil Foster, the council's Cabinet member for economic regeneration

The site boasts a high conservation value as it contains species such as the common toad, skylark and dingy skipper butterfly.

It also features many different types of habitats including woodland, ponds and lowland meadow.

As well as highlighting the area's natural qualities, confirming the site as a LNR will also help attract future funding to further improve public access and nature conservation.

Consultation with the local community has shown strong support for the plan with many residents expressing an interest in getting involved. It has also been welcomed and backed by Natural England.

The proposal is due to go before members of Durham County Council's Cabinet when they meet at County Hall later today (October 15).

Three arrested after fraud claims at school

Glendene Arts Academy, Easington. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Three people have been arrested following allegations of fraud at a school in County Durham.

Police say concerns were raised about alleged financial irregularities at Glendene Arts Academy in Easington.

The school is for children with learning difficulties.

Three people have been arrested after fraud claims at Glendene Arts Academy in Easington. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A 57-year-old man and a 56-year-old woman were arrested in Whitley Bay.

A 41-year-old man was also arrested in Darlington.

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