LOOKING back to the week that was July 1 to July 7, five years ago...

A MAN appeared in court on explosive and weapons charges following a police operation which saw the A689 closed for 20 hours and the bomb squad called to a site in Middlesbrough, in July 2019.

Simon Flint, 42, of no fixed abode, appeared before magistrates in Newton Aycliffe charged with possession of an explosive substance, possession of an offensive weapon, possession of pepper spray, possession of a bladed article in public and a public order offence.

Read more: Milling about in Barney: The huge shoe thread factory once dominated the town

A statement from Durham Police said: “At approximately 3.35pm on Friday, June 29, 2019 police were called to an incident in the Bishop Auckland area after reports that a man had threatened youths with a crossbow.

“Shortly afterwards, police arrested a man in a vehicle on the A689 near Coundon Industrial Estate.

“A section of the road was closed while specialist search teams examined the vehicle.

During the lengthy search, a number of bladed weapons and a quantity of explosive material was recovered.

The Northern Echo reported that a compound on Dockside Road, near the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough, was cordoned off for army bomb disposal experts, and armed police were reportedly in attendance.

The company which ran Darlington Auction Mart was being investigated by police over allegations of financial irregularities.

Durham Constabulary confirmed in July 2019 it was investigating the claims relating to Darlington Farmers Auction Mart.

It was believed police were called in by a group of concerned shareholders in the mart, which was one of the UK’s largest dedicated auction marts.

Financial director Richard Heseltine said he had not aware of any police involvement and they had not been in touch with him.

He said: “I haven’t been informed about any police investigation.

“There is a dissident group of shareholders who can’t stand to see the current board having success – I think it is envy.”

The company was set to relocate to Humbleton Farm at Burtree Gate, on the outskirts of Darlington in 2020 from its previous premises in Clifton Road.

The new site included space for 1,000 cattle and 3,000 sheep and it was hoped sales at the auction mart would go up by as much as 15 per cent.

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A couple who had tried for more than a year to conceive a baby spoke of their joy after having identical triplet girls.

Stephanie Latcham and Michael Gough were about to begin IVF treatment when they found out they were expecting a baby.

An initial early scan showed one pregnancy sac, a second scan showed two sacs and a third scan showed three.

The pair, who lived in Ferryhill, naturally conceived triplets which were born weighing 3lbs each on March 30, this year.

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Miss Latcham said: “I had previously had miscarriages and I suffer with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) so after a year-and-a-half of trying I thought we would never have a baby.

“We had just got back from holiday and I did a pregnancy test and it was positive, I started screaming and ran to show Michael. I couldn’t believe it.”

Mr Gough said: “After the second scan when we thought it was twins we told some family and friends. We were so excited, we’d been trying for ages to have a baby and we were going to have two. “Then we had another scan and they told us it was three. We couldn’t believe it. Both of us were in shock I think."