One of the region's law firms has appointed five associates to its team.

Crutes, which has offices in Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Carlisle, has appointed NICHOLAS FAIRHURST, SUE HOWES, NIKKI HYAM, TOM WHITFIELD and ANGELA KIRTLEY.

Stephen Crute, managing partner at the firm, said: "We decided recently to create a new role of associate.

"Different firms have different definitions of associate.

"At Crutes, an associate is either someone who is not a qualified solicitor but has the qualities we are looking for in a partner, or a solicitor who the partner at Crutes consider has the potential to be a partner in the future.

"The appointment of associate recognises these people's ability and their contribution to the firm.

"We would like to say congratulations to the five and also thank them for the contribution each has made to the success of the firm.

I am sure they will continue to play a big part in our continued success."

Crutes now employs 193 staff and has 24 partners.