TEN-year-ago, this week, Darlington Borough Council launched an inquiry into a £2m overspend on a flagship road scheme.

The investigation came about after it emerged the cost of the Eastern Transport Corridor scheme had rocketed.

Work on the scheme started in January 2007. It was designed to ease congestion on the way to and from Darlington town centre, by linking Haughton Road to the A66.

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It was meant to cost £12.5m, but The Northern Echo revealed the actual bill was £1.9m more than that.

The council's chief executive, Ada Burns said the increase was due to changes to the road's design, rises in the price of tarmac, problems with dealing with the protected newt species at the site and compensation to local landowners.

Charles Johnson, the deputy leader of the Conservative opposition group, described the news as "very disappointing" and added: "The newts have been there long enough.

"They didn't just jump in there when works started. It suggests that not enough homework has been done."

Last month the council confirmed a key aspect of the scheme, the controversial throughabout, is going to be replaced with a conventional roundabout amid claims it actually increases journey times rather than reduces them.

Also, that week, more than 600 people paid tribute to footballer Michael Maidens from Skelton at a funeral service at Emmanuelle Church, in Saltburn.

The 20-year-old Hartlepool United midfielder, died in a car crash that October.

His father Doug said: “Mike was a lovely lad, so full of fun. Everybody liked him. He was very happy-go-lucky, a really nice person who was modest and would do a good turn for anyone and had been good at soccer all his life, since the age of three.”

On November 9, 2007, members of a highly-organised gang of criminals were jailed for a series of ramraids.

Nine men from across County Durham and Teesside were locked up for ripping out cash machines during a £1m crime spree.

The gang waited until the dead of night to use stolen heavy machinery to smash the wall around the machines before loading them onto a truck.

Other members acted as lookouts in stolen high-performance vehicles, while some slashed the tyres of patrol cars at police stations to prevent a chase.

The crooks struck twice in North Yorkshire, Dumfries and Galloway and Cumbria, and once in County Durham, Lancashire, and the Lothian and Borders area between January 2005 and November 2006, escaping with a total of £239,000.

Dozens of cars, tractors, trailers, vans, lorries and bulldozers, as well as two-way radios – bringing the bill to more than £1m – were stolen in the months leading up to the raids.

Meanwhile, veteran rockstar Alice Cooper played a sold-out gig at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle.

The rocker belted out classic hits such as Poison and School’s Out, after being joined on stage by support act Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.