AN 82-year-old woman had her bag snatched by a man who sped off in a black car.

A police spokesman said the thief struck in Lilac Street, Sunderland, at 3.15pm on May 14. The handbag was found in a back lane behind St Luke's Terrace, Sunderland, without a quantity of cash it had contained. The victim was unhurt but shaken. Anyone with information has been asked to call 0191-454 7555 ext 66243.

CHARITY RIDE: A councillor is getting on his bike to cycle more than 1,000 miles for charity. Newcastle City Councillor Bill Dodds sets off at the end of the month to travel from Lands End to John O'Groats. He is making the three-week trip to raise cash for the St Oswald's appeal in Newcastle and the international Re-Cycle scheme, which repairs old bikes and sends them to children in Africa.

WITNESS APPEAL: Police have appealed for witnesses to a disturbance at the Cage Bar in the Newcastle's Cloth Market at 1am on Sunday. A police spokesman said there were about 60 customers on the premises when a group of men started fighting near the front doors. A window was damaged during the fracas and four men were arrested. Anyone with information has been asked to call 0191-214 6555.

WARRANT ISSUED: A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a 30-year-old man, who failed to appear in court yesterday. Kevin Walls, from Geneva Road, Darlington, was due to appear at Bishop Auckland Magistrates' Court to answer charges of causing unnecessary suffering to a light tan and cross bred dog.

INQUEST OPENED: An inquest into the death of a 34-year-old nurse was opened and adjourned yesterday. John Prior died at his home in Kingsway, Darlington, on May 11. His mother Freda, of Askrigg Street, gave evidence of identification to South Durham Coroner's Court.

PMT SURVEY: Men in the North-East and Yorkshire are most sympathetic to their partner's pre-menstrual tension, according to a survey. The survey of women aged 16 to 50, commissioned by diuretic makers Aqua Ban, found that 45 per cent of the region's men are supportive when it comes to PMT.

ACTING TRAINING: A training course in acting for film and television takes place in the King's Head Hotel, Darlington, on June 7 and 8, from 7pm to 11pm. It is open to anyone over 17 who is involved in drama, either at school or in a local group. For further information, telephone 0035374 26994.

CASE DROPPED: The case against Michael Clarey, 24, of Evenwood Gate, Evenwood, County Durham, has been dropped. He had pleaded not guilty to driving without a proper licence and having no insurance or test certificate at Darlington Magistrates' Court, but will not be appearing again.

SHOPPING TIMES: The Gateshead MetroCentre will close early on Monday. The centre will be open from 10am to 6pm. Normal opening times resume on Tuesday.