FIVE years ago this week, a £3.7M scheme to replace a congested town centre roundabout was given the stamp of approval.

Darlington Borough Council approved the scheme which saw Stonebridge roundabout, on Darlington ring road, scrapped and replaced with traffic lights.

Council leader Bill Dixon said: "If we get a problem on that roundabout, the road backs up very quickly and we need to do something about it.

"Getting out of Stonebridge is a nightmare. Car drivers are ingenious devils and if there is a rat run around the area, they will find it and use it.”

Also that week, an outbreak of Bovine Tuberculosis (TB) was confirmed to be found in some County Durham cattle, despite Government attempts to stop the disease spreading north.

The infected animals were slaughtered, and tests were carried out on cattle at surrounding farms, however neighbouring farmers spoke of their anger that infected cattle had been brought to a region regarded as free of the disease.

Professor Peter Atkins, of Durham University, who investigated the spread of bovine TB, said the North-East had been largely unaffected both historically and in recent years, adding that a single case was not an emergency.

Meanwhile, a dog-snatcher found he had bitten off more than he could chew when the puppy he stole destroyed his home.

Days after taking a Siberian husky, in Darlington, the thief rang police and begged them to take the dog away.

Max was reunited with his owner, Victoria DeCosemo, after she feared she would never see the puppy again.

However, the suspected thief knocked on the family's door – angry at being labelled "scruffy" in a Facebook post searching for the dog and infuriated at the puppy's behaviour.

Mrs DeCosemo said: "I think he probably got fed up because he doesn't know how much hard work a puppy can be and it really messed up his house.”

And British and French soldiers stood together in a small French town in remembrance for a Darlington soldier.

Lance Corporal Alfred Raymond Hope fought and died on the borders of France during the Second World War.

He was laid to rest at the cemetery outside the church of St Wambert des Trois Vallees, in Ecots.

Laying a wreath at the service, Ecots mayor Jean-Pierre Hoste said: "This ceremony is testament to our gratitude and his memory will for ever remain alive in the soil of our village."