NORTHUMBRIAN Water has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £3,850 costs by Guisborough magistrates after raw sewage entered a beck near Loftus.

The company admitted causing poisonous, noxious or polluting matter to enter controlled waters, in a case brought by the Environment Agency on Monday.

The court heard that on December 2 and 4 last year, a blockage in a sewer, thought to be caused by vandals, caused raw sewage to enter Whitecliffe Beck near Loftus.

The blockage resulted in raw sewage being discharged from a damaged manhole into the beck and sewage solids and debris affected a two kilometre stretch, causing a strong smell in Skinningrove

After the hearing Mr Bill Stephenson, from the Environment Agency, said that the sewer was difficult to access and was badly damaged.

"Northumbrian Water does accept it has a problem there and since we went ahead with the prosecution they have put a lot of effort in to improving it."

Mr Alistair Baker, communications manager at Northumbrian Water, said there had not been any lasting harm to the aquatic environment but admitted there had been an awful odour for people living in the village.

He added the company had admitted responsibility for the problem, even though the problem itself was caused by vandals.

"As a direct result of this incident we have undertaken work to the value of £160,000, including fitting 22 feet of anti vandal covers on manholes on this particular stretch of sewer to make it more robust and we are also spending £8.4m in that area on improvements to the sewage system which will benefit the local environment and the coastal area.

"We accept this happened and it was unfortunate."

The Boro comes to town

PREMIERSHIP soccer coaching is coming to Stokesley.

For the town's leisure centre is teaming up with Middlesborough football club for the first time ever this summer. The club is joining in four days of football fun for five to 12 year olds.

"This promises to be an exciting addition to our programme of summer holiday events," said leisure centre assistant manager, Mr David Earl.

"We are looking forward to working with the football club. I am sure the children will benefit greatly from working with top class coaches. Who knows, we might unearth a future Boro star."

For more details contact the centre on 01642 711140.

Book now

REDCAR and Cleveland Borough Council's junk job is now operating a booking service. Requests for the free collection service are slotting into 14 day cycles. This will give residents a clearer idea of when the junk will be taken away. The service deals with 30,000 requests a year.

Volunteers search

Teesside and District Society for the blind is seeking volunteers as drivers, home visitors and IT teachers. Call 01642 247518.

Saltburn's honour

Saltburn is through to the Britain in Bloom finals and will represent Northumbria in Bloom in the small town category. The competition attracted more than 1,350 entries with 55 finalists in ten categories