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A private landlord has been fined for illegally evicting his tenant by changing the locks while he was out the house.
Trevor Bell had been served a section 8 notice - the first step in proceedings to bring a tenancy to an end.
However, he failed to issue possession proceedings or secure any order of the court.
South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court heard Northumberland County Council’s private sector housing team advised Bell it would be unlawful to evict the tenant without a court order.
But in February 2018, the landlord changed the locks to the property while the tenant was out.
Once the council became aware of the matter it was passed to the local authority’s corporate fraud team to investigate.

A man was taken to hospital with serious injuries after being assaulted in an early morning attack.
Police were called to Front Street in Bedlington , Northumberland at around 2.50am on Sunday.
It was reported that a man had been assaulted and left injured near to Bedlington Service Station.
The victim was taken to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries, a police spokesperson said.
It is believed that a suspect made off from the scene in a vehicle.
Northumbria Police have launched an investigation and ask anyone with any information to contact police by calling 101 and quoting reference number 144 28/04/19.

A Bedlington man cleared of a one-punch attack on an Aussie rugby star has been awarded A$100,000 in damages after winning a defamation case against a TV network.
Sam Oliver hit the headlines when he was accused of flooring James Stannard with a 'king hit' - Australian slang for a single punch - outside a hotel in Sydney in the early hours of March 30 last year.
Following the hearing, the Nine News Network broadcast a report calling the incident "a coward punch which ended the career of Rugby Sevens captain James Stannard".
Now Mr Oliver has been awarded A$100,000 (£54,600) after a judge found the Australian network's report wrongly depicted Mr Oliver as being a coward who punched a defenceless man causing him grievous injury.
Federal Court judge Michael Lee rejected Nine's argument that its report of the verdict was fair.
Mr Stannard, who announced his retirement from rugby last June, struck his head on the pavement and suffered a fractured skull, spending two nights in hospital after the incident.

A new sports pitch at a special school in Cramlington has been given the go-ahead.
A bid for the construction of a multi-use games area (MUGA) at Hillcrest Day Special School, on East View Avenue, was unanimously approved by the Cramlington, Bedlington and Seaton Valley Local Area Council on Wednesday (April 17).
The application had sparked no objections and the planning officer described the facility as 'something that the Government and local authority seek to encourage', but it had to be decided by the committee as it involves a county council development on council-owned land.
The proposed MUGA would measure around 30 by 16.5 metres with recessed goal ends and a synthetic-turf pitch in green.
It would be surrounded by a one-metre-high perimeter fence, constructed with timber rails and steel posts in green, which would be raised to three metres behind the goals.
The pitch, which would be located in the south-east corner of the school playing field with Northumbrian Road to the east and Church Street to the south, would be linked to the main school by a new concrete footpath.



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