TEN years ago, this week a baby returned home after undergoing open heart surgery at just two weeks old.

Evie McVeigh was taken by helicopter from James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, to the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, when she was less than a day old.

She was born at James Cook hospital 11 days overdue. Mum Lyndsey Frost said: "When a paediatrician came in and checked the monitors, Evie was rushed off as they feared she could be slipping into a coma."

Evie was suffering from Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA), a condition where blood that should be pumped to the lungs flows around the body instead.

Doctors performed open heart surgery when Evie was two weeks old, which involved stopping her heart to open and repair it, to ensure that circulation of blood flowed normally.

Six weeks later she had been given the all clear and was safe in her family home in Middlesbrough.

Elsewhere on Teesside, it was revealed a former French naval aircraft carrier laden with asbestos could be scrapped in the region.

Able UK was thought to have been offered a deal by the French Ministry of Defence to bring the Clemenceau to its Hartlepool breakers' yard.

The Northern Echo had previously revealed how the firm was bidding to bring a fifth so-called Ghost Ship to the region, containing 700 tonnes of asbestos contaminated material.

Able had been competing against two French firms, one from Italy and one from Belgium for the Clemenceau, which caused an international storm two years before after the authorities in France agreed it could set sail for India to be broken up.

Environmental campaigners across the world later held an international day of action, with Greenpeace protestors boarding the ship while it was off the coast of Egypt.

India's Supreme Court forced the French to take it back.

Four people were arrested after raids took place in the North-East targeting organised dog fighting.

The arrests were made after a joint operation by the RSPCA and the police who searched eight addresses in Stockton, Middlesbrough and Birmingham.

Chief Inspector Mike Butcher, of the RSPCA special operations unit, said: “We would like to thank the police for their help and co-operation, and also members of the public for the information they have given us regarding dog fighting.”

And hopes were raised that the deadlock in a fuel tanker drivers' dispute could be broken.

Several filling stations in the North-East were closed and others across the region began rationing petrol supplies as the impact of the strike began to bite.

Unite, which represented more than 600 drivers at two haulage firms who deliver fuel to Shell garages, announced that fresh talks would be held between union representatives and management in an attempt to solve a row over pay.

Fuel stations with supplied reported panic buying from customers.

Steve Gale, from the BP filling station, in Carmel Road South, Darlington, said people had been filling jerry cans as well as their cars.

He said: "People are panicking, and that is what's caused this situation."