• Theft man may get drugs treatment

    A MAN who stole money from his vulnerable housemate is to be considered for a drug treatment and testing order, a court heard yesterday. Stephen Scott, 25, of Durham Street, Bishop Auckland, admitted a charge of theft and one of putting a person in fear

  • Giving Tree Appeal creates a flood of generosity

    THE fifth annual Giving Tree Appeal has been the most successful ever. Presents for families in the Darlington area have been given to The Northern Echo, Asda and Alpha Radio, which have all been supporting the campaign. Earlier this month, the appeal

  • Comment from The Northern Echo - No justice in this Formula

    ONE of the priorities of this Government has been the creation a socio-economic climate to foster equal opportunity and justice. It is a matter of great regret that while ministers are prepared to acknowledge the existence of injustice and inequality

  • Moves to cushion Airbus job losses

    FEARS of huge job losses at aircraft manufacturer Airbus are over-pessimistic, a Government minister has said. Industry minister Brian Wilson, on a visit to the consortium's headquarters in Toulouse, said he hoped the number of jobs at risk could be greatly

  • Support for Zoe is growing

    The people of Darlington are getting right behind their very own pop idol. Readers of The Northern Echo have continued to call in with messages of support for 16-year-old Zoe Birkett who is down to the last nine of the ITV Pop Idol competition. On Saturday

  • Youngsters' lucky escape from blaze

    A TEENAGER and four children are lucky to be alive after fire broke out in a bedroom. The teenage girl was babysitting the youngsters at Toft Crescent, Murton, near Seaham, east Durham, when the fire started at about 11.30pm on Monday. They were alerted

  • Region boosted by Awards For All

    NORTH-East communities have been granted a near-£500,000 boost with the announcement of the latest Awards For All Lottery hand-outs. A total of 120 groups from the region have received between £500 and £5,000 each - many of which had applied for the very

  • Garage ablaze twice in 24-hours

    FIREFIGHTERS were called out twice in 24 hours to a blaze at the same Teesside garage in what is believed to be a double arson attack. The first fire, at a vehicle repair garage in the former Co-op building at the junction of Romney Street and Clifton

  • King of light entertainment

    NEIGHBOURS think Geoff Joyce is the king of light entertainment. Every year, the festive display at his home in Constantine Grove, in the North Yorkshire community of Colburn, is bigger and more spectacular - and this year has been no exception. Mr Joyce

  • Awards aim to show positive side of youth

    THE achievements of young people in Darlington will be celebrated at an awards ceremony next year. Readers of The Northern Echo are being urged to nominate children and teenagers they believe are worthy of an award in one of the three categories: Contribution

  • Review lies ahead for police force

    A REVIEW that could lead to changes in the structure of Durham Police is due to start in the New Year. The force plans to look at how its departments and territorial divisions operate. Senior officers are stressing the focus will be on improving operational

  • What a difference a year makes

    LET'S look at some companies whose prospects looked interesting 12 months ago. Cable & Wireless began the year as one of the world's leading providers of broadband data and Internet services. The share price has fallen from 900p to 350p as growth

  • The lights of the world

    THE Christmas star, begetter of the lights that have brightened perhaps every Christmas since the first, was white and steady. It was as serene a presence over troubled old Earth as the moon herself. Can I be the only person who finds the flickering and

  • Robson revels in victory

    NEWCASTLE United manager Bobby Robson last night admitted it felt 'great' to be top of the Premiership table. After an incredible game at Highbury, which saw two men sent off and a controverial penalty turn the game, Robson insisted that it was evident

  • Boyfriend faces murder charge

    THE boyfriend of a woman who died in a house fire more than 16 months ago has been charged by police in connection with her death. Officers arrested John Collings, 47, in Hexham, Northumberland, following the death of 30-year-old Victoria Barker in a

  • Refugee is given three years after slashing man's face

    A KURDISH refugee who slashed a man's face with a Stanley knife was last night beginning a three-year jail sentence. A judge at Teesside Crown Court also recommended that Zana Ahmed, 21, who had been living in the area, be deported at the end of his sentence

  • Success for festive market

    A CHRISTMAS market proved such a success that officials in Ferryhill are hoping to make it an annual event. The market was organised for the first time this year by the town council and the Ferryhill 2000 committee. The event included a craft fair at

  • Pupils giving to the needy

    POLAM Hall pupils are continuing with a festive tradition that has been going on at the school since 1901. Every year Polam Hall encourages junior school pupils to choose toys which have outgrown, bring them to school and place them under the school Christmas

  • KitKat points the finger at 'unfair' sales survey

    KITKAT bosses have stuck two fingers up at new figures which say the popular chocolate is no longer Britain's favourite. The figures, which appear in The Grocer magazine, place Cadbury's Dairy Milk in the top position, with Mars second and KitKat in third

  • Curtain up on theatre's new era

    AN increased Lottery grant has helped secure the future of one of the region's theatrical gems after a campaign backed by The Northern Echo. The Heritage Lottery Fund had already pledged a provisional £575,000 towards the restoration of The Georgian Theatre

  • The modern Conquistador

    As the NHS seeks to recruit doctors from abroad to solve staff shortages, Health Correspondant Barry Nelson speaks to a Spanish surgeon making her home in the region. MUCH is riding on Dr Belen Carsi's shoulders, but you get the feeling that she will

  • Fishing quotas to be slashed

    FISHERIES ministers have agreed deep cuts in quotas in a bid to conserve stocks. Reductions ranging from 25 per cent to 58 per cent were agreed to next year's catch quotas following a day of talks in Brussels. EU Fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler

  • Wear Valley news in Brief

    Thieves snatch leather suite PEOPLE walking near a furniture store in Bishop Auckland could help police trap raiders who stole a leather suite. Detectives have appealed for information after a burglary at the Woodbridge store, in Tindale Crescent, at

  • Hear All Sides

    Letters from The Northern Echo MILLENNIUM COMMISSION AS the end of the first year of the third millennium approaches, we would like to congratulate people in the North-East on the amazing and innovative schemes they came up with to mark this moment. From

  • Local artists put work on display in exhibition at Gallery

    THE work of local artists is on display at the Billingham Arts Centre until the end of January. The Cleveland Art Society is holding its annual exhibition, with works of art ranging from botanical studies and landscapes to portraits and prints. Art fans

  • Road flood chaos as crane hits main

    FLOODS of water gushed down Ormesby Bank, Middlesbrough, during rush-hour traffic yesterday morning after a water main was hit by a crane. Police directed motorists along the hill as water rushed past them into the gardens and drives of nearby homes,

  • Rebecca has an early taste of panto stardom

    A SIX year-old star is treading the boards as the youngest cast member in a pantomime. Rebecca Edwards, from Chester-le-Street, is in a cast of 24 performing Cinderella, at Newcastle Opera House. The youngster, who attends a stage school at the theatre

  • Has Mr Bubbley lost his bottle?

    THE final column before Christmas, and firstly a bum note on the carol sheet from Teesdale District Council. The council owns a jolly little "Season's Greetings" display, cost around £500, which traditionally goes up outside its headquarters in Barnard

  • Newcastle news in Brief

    Three masked robbers burst into a Gateshead newsagent, tied up the owner and made off with cash and cigarettes early yesterday. Anyone with information about the raid, at Barrs Newsagents, is asked to call police on 0191-454 7555.

  • Police to investigate death of child

    Police have launched an inquiry after a four-year-old girl tragically fell to her death from the bedroom window of her home. Lyndsey Churlish was playing in her room with her brothers and sisters when she fell 20 feet from a first floor wondow. Her shocked

  • Sewage plans opened to public

    PEOPLE in an east Cleveland seaside town have been given the chance to see plans for a controversial sewage plant. Problems with unpleasant smells and sewage on the beach at Marske have been rumbling for some time now and yesterday Northumbrian Water

  • £1.6m deal sparks Fireman Sam move

    CHILDREN'S character Fireman Sam has moved house in a deal worth up to £1.6m. Media firm Gullane Entertainment - home to children's classics Sooty and Thomas the Tank Engine - has bought a 50 per cent stake in the rights to Fireman Sam from S4C International

  • Electronics firm to shut Scottish plant

    ELECTRONICS company NEC is closing one of its plants with the loss of more than 1,000 jobs. The semiconductor plant, in Livingston, West Lothian, will cease production from April. Workers were told about the closure as they arrived for work. The company

  • Brighter future in store as Littlewoods increases its sales

    RETAILER Littlewoods said its recovery was "well under way" as it showed it had cut its half-year losses and increased sales. The group, which had been hit by tough competition on the high street, said pre-tax losses for the half-year to October 31 reduced

  • East Cleveland news in Brief

    CHRISTMAS CREATIONS: Guisborough Forest and Walkway Centre, at Pinchinthorpe, will hold a craft session making Christmas decorations on Sunday from 1pm until 3pm. Admission is £2. Places must be booked on (01287) 631132. CHRISTMAS CAROLS: Skelton Methodist

  • Rescue team hunting for new recruits

    Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue Team is looking for recruits with basic hillcraft skills. Training in hillcraft, mountain rescue and first aid will be provided in a one-year probationary period before successful applicants are sent on call-outs

  • Regugee becomes MD in health service

    A refugee has become the first asylum-seeking doctor to join the region's Health Service. The male doctor, who has not named, is now working at a hospital on Tyneside after passing the necessary examinations. More than 35 refugee doctors are currently

  • Campaigners with a script for success

    LAST year, or even earlier this year, it may have seemed the small team given the task of raising £1.1m to cover the cost of restoring a theatre had bitten off more than it could chew. There was no doubt the Georgian Theatre Royal, in Richmond, North

  • Elderly sign up to Lifeline link

    A RECORD number of elderly people living alone are now linked to a service which can help them during an emergency. Darlington Borough Council's Lifeline scheme allows people to live independently while having access to a 24-hour alarm system should they

  • Care worker jailed for sexual abuse

    A senior residential care worker who groomed boys before sexually abusing them and took one victim on trips to Africa has today been jailed for nine years. John Duncan, 48, of Guernsey Road, Grindon, Sunderland, subjected his vulnerable victims to "prolonged

  • Teesside news in Brief

    Incentive for fit resolutions THOSE hoping to beat the bulge after Christmas are being offered an incentive by Middlesbrough Council. Anyone who takes out annual membership with one of the council's X4 health and fitness clubs in January will be entered

  • Government cash to fund transport interchange for town

    MORE than £300,000 of Government cash is being used to change the face of public transport in Hartlepool. The money has been given by the Government to provide a new transport interchange in Church Street, with a bus station for out-of-town buses. The

  • 'I'm no gold digger,' says Heather

    Sir Paul McCartney's fiance Heather Mills today denied she was a gold digger, saying the star's fortune would only have been appealing if he was much richer. The 33-year-old former model rejected suggestions made about her intentions towards the ex-Beatle

  • Man choked to death at lunch

    A MAN died after choking on his lunch, a coroner was told yesterday The inquest into the death of Edward Spencer, 80, of Alpine Way, Tow Law, took place at Bishop Auckland Magistrates Court. Mr Spencer had been having lunch with his wife, Louisa, and

  • Training package proves to be just the job

    Packaging firm Kama Europe has its training needs wrapped up thanks to help from the Automotive Sector Strategic Alliance (Assa). The Sedgefield firm, which employs 100 staff, manufactures polystyrene plastic packaging for food use. It used Assa to develop

  • Students will stop pupils going off rails

    STUDENTS are being paid to curb bad behaviour among schoolchildren on trains. Under the scheme - triggered by complaints from schools, parents and train operators - sixth formers are being trained to keep order on trains from Whitby to Middlesbrough,

  • Tree card tops for Christmas

    AN award-winning North-East printing firm has designed an innovative executive desktop Christmas tree. The tree, made by Newcastle lithographic printers, Statexcolourprint, comes with step-by-step assembly instructions, tinsel, baubles and crackers. Rather

  • Pledge to fight supported housing plan for youngsters

    PEOPLE have vowed to fight plans for supervised housing in their community. Feelings are running high in Bishop Auckland, where The Depaul Trust is planning to build supported housing to help young people with difficulties learn to live independently.

  • Artistic touch

    FOUR artists have been given the task of producing ideas for street furniture in Newgate Street in Bishop Auckland. Fiona Rutherford, Craig Knowles, Richard Broderick and Andrew McKeown will be contributing their ideas to a regeneration project. Their

  • Chilli exit sparks Taylor search

    Tommy Taylor was last night beginning another striker hunt after Cambridge recalled Dan Chillingworth - just hours into his second month on loan. The 20-year-old looked to have plugged the gap when he arrived last month as the striker has made a good

  • Hoodoo is history as Magpies go top

    WHAT a way to do it. Newcastle United ended their London jinx last night at the 30th time of asking, and in doing so took over at the top of the Premiership table. Referee Graham Poll controversially sent off two players and gave an even stranger penalty

  • Engineers back bridges system

    A SYSTEM pioneered in the region for prioritising railway bridge repairs in the wake of the Selby disaster could be adopted nationally. The formula was devised by engineers from the highways departments of Durham and North Yorkshire county councils and

  • Police hunt mugger

    A MAN was punched several times in the face by a mugger who grabbed a nylon zip folder he was carrying. The 23-year-old was walking along Burn Lane in Newton Aycliffe at 6.30pm last night when he was attacked as he neared Bousfield Crescent. Detective

  • Show back on the road to success

    PREPARATIONS are well under way for the return of the biggest event in the north's agricultural calendar. Last summer the annual Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate had to be cancelled because of the foot-and-mouth crisis. And next year, organisers are

  • Anger over rotting deer carcass dumped in street

    A ROTTING deer carcass dumped in a back yard has been making life unpleasant for residents of a Chilton street for two days. Colin Tobin, of Dale Street, says he notified Sedgefield Borough Council about the presence of the carcass on Monday lunchtime

  • Easy debut for gamble Magnus

    EUROPEAN record jumps purchase Magnus makes his much-awaited British debut in the Relkeel Hurdle at Newbury this afternoon. Magnus was bought by Martin Pipe at the Goffs France Sales, held at Saint Cloud in November, on behalf of leading owner David Johnson

  • Home wanted for puppies

    TWO puppies, nicknamed Little and Large, are looking for homes. Minx, a Jack Russell terrier cross and Buster, a border collie cross, are staying at a foster home until they can be rehoused. The puppies are eight weeks old and will need homes where they

  • Planning OK keeps brewery deal alive

    A LIFELINE was given to brewery workers in the North-East yesterday as hopes remain high that a takeover will happen in the New Year. Proposals by Castle Eden Brewery to buy near-neighbour Cameron's, at Hartlepool, from Wolverhampton and Dudley (WDB)

  • New bid to deter shops fraud

    POLICE and retailers backed a scheme which will help shops across Darlington deter fraudsters last night. Every time shoppers use a credit card, debit card or a cheque to pay for goods, they will be asked to leave a thumb print so they can be traced and

  • £30m cash injection for region's schools

    AN injection of more than £30m to improve school buildings throughout the region was announced yesterday. State schools in the North-East and North Yorkshire will benefit from the cash, which will go towards ensuring that classrooms are properly maintained

  • Pensioners homes plan approved

    A CONTROVERSIAL plan to close old people's homes and build new accommodation for pensioners is going ahead. Durham County Council's executive committee has approved the scheme, which has been revised in the wake of consultation. The shake-up was prompted

  • Murray puts the freeze on season ticket costs

    SUNDERLAND are to freeze season ticket prices next season - even though admission revenue at the Stadium of Light only covers two thirds of the spiralling bill for players' wages. And chairman Bob Murray has again pledged grassroots fans will never be

  • Walkers catered for by centres

    NATIONAL park chiefs have promised staff will be available to keep the public up to date on where they can walk, cycle and ride in the Yorkshire Dales, over the Christmas break. Offices in Grassington and Bainbridge as well as the National Park Centres

  • Couple's light show just grows and glows

    ROBIN and Carol French have been decorating their home with festive lights every Christmas for the past 20 years. This year is no exception, with the couple, who live in Parkside, Spennymoor, spending more than £1,000 over the past four years. Mr French

  • Illuminations attract villagers

    WHEN it comes to keeping the children entertained at Christmas, Christine and Raymond Beadle have a bigger job on their hands than most. With a lot of youngsters expected at the family home this Christmas, it was going to take a marathon effort to light

  • Damaged bridge closed

    A BRIDGE has been closed after a driver crashed into its structure, dislodging a nine-metre length of parapet and stone wall. Police said a woman driver of a Suzuki Vitara was arrested and a breath test had proved positive. The North Yorkshire Police

  • Cash boost for indian music centre

    GURUKUL, a North-East Indian classical music centre, has been awarded a Northern Arts Lottery grant of £31,480 to help develop and expand its artistic programme in the region. It was founded four years ago by a Gosforth GP and his wife, who is also a

  • North Yorkshire news in Brief

    Walkers not out of woods WALKERS hoping to shed Christmas cobwebs with woodland walks could be disappointed. The risks presented by foot-and-mouth have still not receded enough to allow the Woodland Trust to open all its properties to the public, and

  • Figures on mental health shock MP

    A NORTH-EAST MP has revealed figures on the levels of mental illness among schoolchildren. Ashok Kumar, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, learned that ten per cent of school-age children suffer from some form of mental illness. He said this

  • Disabled groups join employment three-year plan

    DISABLED groups and individuals in Redcar and Cleveland are being invited to have their say on a three-year plan to help and support disabled people into employment. The updated Welfare to Work Joint Investment Plan for Disabled People 2002/2005 has been

  • Durham newws in Brief

    SWEET WRITES: Calligraphy and sugar flower courses will be held from next month in Barley Mow village hall. Enrolment is from 9am to 5pm on January 15 and between 6pm and 8pm on January 16. CAROL night: Christ Church, Lumley, holds its carol service at

  • Buggy driving test for parents

    AN initiative to teach young parents with baby buggies road safety skills is being piloted in the North-East. The Buggy Glow course is the brainchild of Mike Hall, road safety officer for Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, who hit on the idea while

  • Go-ahead for cattle markets to reopen

    CATTLE markets in the region are to reopen in February, a year after they were closed to help contain the spread of foot-and-mouth disease. The outbreak sparked the closure of all marts and abattoirs in the North-East and North Yorkshire by the Ministry

  • Taxpayers suffer as the South cleans up

    COUNCIL tax payers in the North-East could be hit in the pocket again as figures reveal more Government cash is siphoned off to the affluent South. Campaigners for an elected regional assembly are putting together a case to press for a fair share of cash

  • Engineering new opportunities

    TTE Management and Technical Training is aiming to get more girls to consider a career in engineering through a series of information days. The events are to inform girls of the opportunities available to them in what has historically been a male dominated

  • Support grows for TV hopeful

    SUPPORT is growing for Zoe Birkett's campaign to become the UK's latest pop idol. Fans of the Darlington teenager have inundated The Northern Echo with messages of support as she goes into the next round of the Pop Idol competition on Saturday. Her father

  • Teenagers questioned over heritage vandalism

    FIVE teenagers have been arrested by police investigating damage to a piece of North-East railway heritage. Shildon councillors threatened to cancel a £7m museum development after vandalism in the town square, which is dedicated to railway pioneer Timothy

  • Survey of spending figures boosts centre

    Christmas shoppers are digging deeper into their pockets during trips to a major North-East centre, according to a survey. Gateshead's MetroCentre has found that, this month, the amount spent per visiting group has leapt from £92 to £101.50 compared with

  • Blessed is the actor who is hooked on the north-east

    PANTOMIME stars lined up to promote their show in swashbuckling style yesterday. Cast members of Peter Pan, including veteran actor Brian Blessed and Children's BBC presenter Kirsten O'Brien, alias Captain Hook and Peter Pan, gave a sneak preview of their

  • Counselling centre seeks volunteers

    A GROUP which offers help to victims of rape is looking for volunteers. The Rape and Sexual Abuse Counselling Centre for Darlington and County Durham is holding a training programme in the new year. The centre provides a free and confidential service

  • Ombudsman raps council over grants

    SEDGEFIELD Borough Council has been criticised for its handling of a grant application. The Local Government Ombudsman found several instances of maladministration in the decision-making process, which led to an applicant failing to be awarded a grant

  • Let's all be honest about our MMR

    LET us remind ourselves of what this is all about. Measles, mumps and rubella are diseases of childhood. But they are not childish illnesses. They can have serious complications - including meningitis, brain damage, deafness, sterility, miscarriage and

  • Road closed due to chemical spill

    Three men were taken to North Tees Hospital in Stockton today after a tanker leaked sulphuric acid onto the A19. Police shut off the southbound carriageway of the road, near to the Wynyard A689 turn-off, at about 11.15am and diverted traffic onto the

  • PM joins tributes to former council officer

    PRIME Minister Tony Blair was among those who paid tribute yesterday to a former council boss described as "one of life's true gentlemen". Angus McIntyre, who died suddenly at the age of 55, was chief housing officer and deputy chief executive at Easington

  • Note of dismay as N-E rail icon is ousted by reformer

    HISTORIANS and railway buffs have reacted with dismay to the news that a North-East icon is to be removed from an English banknote. The Bank of England has announced that railway pioneer George Stephenson is to be replaced by 19th Century prison reformer

  • Dog club launches Crufts fundraiser

    A DOG training club has produced an ambitious plan to help raise money for a trip to Crufts. Barnard Castle Dog Training Club's flyball team, called the Barney Bullets, is to compete at the top dog show next year. To help fund the trip, and raise money

  • Former Boro favourite Juninho put up for sale

    FORMER Middlesbrough favourite Juninho is up for grabs again - but Boro are likely to be priced out of the market for the £5m-rated Brazilian. The 28-year-old has returned to Spanish second division side Atletico Madrid after an 18-month loan spell back

  • Santa pays a visit to police HQ

    VISITORS to Cleveland Police's headquarters in Middlesbrough are being held up to ransom this week - but it's all for a good cause. A friendly Father Christmas, stationed at the gates to the Ladgate Lane premises, is asking drivers for donations for women's

  • Darlington News in Brief

    TIMBER THEFT: Several lengths of timber measuring 2.4 metres and worth £115 were stolen from Packing Industries, in Beaumont Way, Newton Aycliffe, at the weekend. CAROL SERVICE: The Mayor of Sedgefield, Councillor Andy Gray, will attend a carol service