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  1. A brand new service will offer life-long support to people with autism in South Shields. The new 'autism hub', opened by the mayor and mayoress of South Tyneside this month, will offer occupational therapy, mental health help and peer support for people with the condition throughout the area. Councillors say they're responded to a need created by an above-average number of people with an autism diagnosis in the borough, as parents, carers and those with a diagnosis told the council they needed more local support. One of those who can't wait to start using the new hub is little Jak Brunton, and his mum Jay. For Jak, who turns four on Monday, regular sessions at a Toby Henderson Trust centre in Bedlington have been a lifeline, helping him connect with his family and supporting them as they understand his needs. The Jarrow family travel at least once a week to Northumberland for invaluable one-to-one sessions, so the opening of a hub close to home in South Shields will make a huge difference to their lives. Looking for the latest news in your postcode? We have launched a brand new website InYourArea.co.uk allowing you to stay up to date with what's happening near you. It also has an app. Search the latest news, property listings, jobs, planning applications, public notices and more. To get breaking news sent to your phone, download the ChronicleLive app here.
  2. A festive operation aimed at tackling crime and disorder in Sunderland city centre has been hailed a success after crime rates plummeted by 16%. Business leaders on Wearside joined Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness in praising the impact of Operation Kraken after the initiative led to a significant drop in recorded crime. Spearheaded by Sergeant Maria Ord and the city centre neighbourhood team, the annual festive crackdown was again run in partnership with the Bridges and Sunderland Business Improvement District (BID), along with Sunderland City Council. From November 25 through until Christmas Eve, the initiative saw uniformed and plain-clothed officers target all city centre criminality, specifically adult anti-social behaviour and retail-related offences. Now, after the 2019 Kraken operation showed a 16% decrease in city centre crime compared to the previous year, Sgt Ord hopes to build on those successes in the coming months. "We are delighted with how Operation Kraken went," Sgt Ord said. "The initiative was about maintaining a hassle-free and safe environment which allowed families to enjoy everything this city has to offer during the lead-up to Christmas. Looking for the latest news in your postcode? We have launched a brand new website InYourArea.co.uk allowing you to stay up to date with what's happening near you. It also has an app. Search the latest news, property listings, jobs, planning applications, public notices and more. To get breaking news sent to your phone, download the ChronicleLive app here.
  3. A man has been charged in connection with a collision which killed a pedestrian in Northumberland. Shortly before 6am on Monday, police received a report of a collision involving two cars and a pedestrian on Foremans Row near the Keel Row Pub in Seaton Delaval. It was reported that a white Vauxhall Insignia had struck a male pedestrian who was on the carriageway before a red Mazda 2, travelling in the opposite direction also struck the man. Emergency services attended but sadly the man was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say a formal identification is ongoing. Immediately after the collision another male pedestrian, believed to have been walking with the victim prior to the incident, then got into the Vauxhall Insignia as the owner was helping the victim and drove away from the scene. Looking for the latest news in your postcode? We have launched a brand new website InYourArea.co.uk allowing you to stay up to date with what's happening near you. It also has an app. Search the latest news, property listings, jobs, planning applications, public notices and more. To get breaking news sent to your phone, download the ChronicleLive app here.
  4. A woman narrowly avoided prison after repeatedly slamming a door on the hand of her boyfriend's mum and impaling it on a nail. Boozed-up Lauren Coonie flew into a rage when the victim came to her flat asking to see her son, who the 25-year-old had locked inside the property and was refusing to let out. Suddenly, and without warning, Coonie then launched a violent attack on the woman, slamming the door on her hand and impaling it on a screw in the door frame, a court heard. But, despite the victims desperate calls for help as she couldn't move her hand from the nail, Coonie didn't stop and continued to slam the door a further four times, prosecutors said. And, when the horrified woman eventually managed to pull free and walk away from the flat, drunk Coonie followed her and punched her in the head, causing her to bite the inside of her mouth. Now, the former alcoholic has been told she came "within a hair's breadth" of going to jail after she pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm during a hearing at South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court.
  5. North East darts star Chris Dobey will make his return to the Utilita Arena stage in March after being included as the local Challenger for the Unibet Premier League's return to Newcastle. Nine top stars - led by new World Champion Peter Wright and world number one Michael van Gerwen - will be competing full-time in the Premier League, the PDC's roadshow event which begins in February. However, the opening nine nights feature a Challenger who will get the chance to take on the sport's top stars, giving them a taste of Premier League life. Bedlington's Dobey shone on a memorable night in 2019 when he stepped in to compete in Newcastle after the withdrawal of Gary Anderson with a back injury, drawing with Mensur Suljovic. He has since progressed into the world's top 20 players, reaching his first televised semi-finals at the World Grand Prix and Players Championship Finals during 2019 as well as the last 16 at the recent World Championship. Dobey has been chosen by the PDC as the Challenger to compete in Newcastle on Thursday March 19, giving him further big-stage experience as the tournament visits his local area.
  6. Local authorities in the North East have dished out hundreds of thousands of pounds in fines for overrunning roadworks. Freedom of Information Act requests submitted by the Chronicle revealed the penalties issued by councils for the late running works that cause gridlock on the region’s roads. The data showed that in the last financial year Newcastle City Council imposed 38 fines totalling £232,000. In 2017/18 the city dished out 47 fines, but the overall total was much lower at £45,400. Last financial year Northumbrian Water payed the largest individual fine to the city - £174,000. Works on Denton Road that went over by more than a month caused the water company to pick up the mammoth bill. Looking for the latest news in your postcode? We have launched a brand new website InYourArea.co.uk allowing you to stay up to date with what's happening near you. Search the latest news, property listings, jobs, planning applications, public notices and more. You can also post your community event for free and join the conversation where you live.
  7. The most bizarre rescues made from furniture by North East firefighters have been revealed - including a man who got his testicles trapped in a commode. On top of tackling fires and keeping the public safe, firefighters do get a number of red-faced callers who get into some embarrassing predicaments. Firefighters have been called out to people of all ages from babies to pensioners. There have been many people becoming trapped on commodes, beds and sofas while children were most commonly stuck in cots or baby bath seats. The testicles incident in Blyth is just one of 55 peculiar incidents unearthed as a result of a freedom of information request to North East fire and rescue services over the past four years. Others in Northumberland include a nine-month old child stuck in a bath seat, a 96-year-old getting trapped in a stairway bannister and stool and a child getting their thumb stuck to a metal bed frame. A spokeswoman for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service advised members of the public to "be careful".
  8. Missing Martin Cooper is back with his family after disappearing for more than 24 hours. The Chronicle told on Tuesday how police and relatives were searching for the retired English teacher who vanished from his Whitley Bay home on Monday morning. But his family has now confirmed he was found in Scotland on Tuesday evening. Dad-of-three Martin travelled back to Tyneside on Wednesday and is now back home with his wife, Mary. Martin's son Joe has told of his relief. The 38-year-old said: "He's been found safely near Fort William. We were extremely worried."
  9. A heroic police dog bravely tackled a suspected car thief in Bedlington - and officers rewarded her with a late night burger. Six-year-old Belgian herder Ziva was given the treat after she caught the suspect at about 10.30pm on Wednesday. Officers from Northumbria Police had found a vehicle they believed to have been stolen in a burglary earlier in the evening. They signalled for the vehicle to stop but the driver, believed to be under the influence, ignored the blue lights and continued to drive away before he jumped out and ran. As officers chased him over open fields, PC Helen Kane unleashed Ziva from the opposite direction and she was able to track down the suspect and tackle him before officers caught up and arrested the suspect. At the end of the shift, PC Kane made sure to reward Ziva for her heroics by treating her to the hamburger - with cheese, extra tomato sauce and no gherkins.
  10. The 27th edition of the PDC World Championships rolls into town next Thursday, as darts fans are treated to 16 days of pure tungsten theatre. World number one Michael van Gerwen won his third world title last year as he beat Michael Smith 7-3 in a thrilling final at Alexandra Palace. MVG will look to successfully defend the world title for this first time this year but he will have to be at his best to see off the threats of the chasing pack. Welshman Gerwyn Price could well be van Gerwen's biggest threat in London. The Welsh ace successfully defended his Grand Slam of Darts title in November, beating van Gerwen en route to the title. He also pushed van Gerwen all the way in the recent Players Championships final and he has been well backed to win his first world title. 2018 world champion Rob Cross arrives as the number two seed and has enjoyed a very successful year on the tour, winning the World Matchplay and European Championships as well as reaching the final of the UK Open and the Premier League. Last year's World Championship semi-finalist Nathan Aspinall was the only other major winner this year, while Peter Wright, Michael Smith, Dave Chisnall and James Wade will fancy their chances after reaching major finals in 2019.
  11. A registered sex offender who dressed as Santa Claus in Newcastle city centre has been jailed after being caught taking pictures with children for cash. Stephen Brown, 40, was parading near Fenwick's festive window on a busy Northumberland Street offering to pose with pictures of children while dressed as Father Christmas. But the department store's security staff contacted police who were concerned about the stranger's activity on Saturday. Officers arrived and discovered that Brown had been jailed for five years in 2012 for possession of indecent images and inciting a child to engage in a sex act. He was immediately arrested by police in front of a packed Northumberland Street and was later charged with breaching the sexual offences prevention order. The court heard how it was the second time Brown had breached the order since being released from prison in January 2017.
  12. Bot

    New playpark unveiled in Bedlington

    A new £80,000 play area has been opened at Gallagher Park in Bedlington.
  13. Bedlington darts ace Chris Dobey reached his first ever European Tour final on Sunday to all but secure his place in next month's World Matchplay. Dobey was beaten 8-3 by Dave Chisnall in the final of the Danish Darts Open at Copenhagen's Brondby Hallen but enjoyed a superb run over the three-day competition. The 29-year-old saw off Steve West, Ricky Evans, former World Championship finalist Kirk Shepherd, and Jose de Sousa before beating two-time major champion Gerwyn Price in the semi-finals to reach his first big-stage final. 'Hollywood' ran out of steam in the final, though, and despite taking a 2-0 lead, he won just one of the next nine legs as Chisnall secured his first European Tour title since 2013. Dobey's run over the weekend now means he is all but assured of a World Matchplay debut next month, following on from his debut in the Premier League earlier this year. The World Matchplay is widely considered the second most prestigious major in the darts calendar after the World Championships and after narrowly missing out on qualification for each of the last two years Dobey is delighted he has secured a long overdue debut in the competion.
  14. Labour has called for a 'full and meaningful' consultation on the overhaul of Bedlington town centre in the wake of news that the project is getting back on track. The opposition on Northumberland County Council has said this is required to "to ensure that any Bedlington development fits with the needs and ambitions of local residents and supports local businesses who have been loyal to the town". It follows the announcement last week that building work on the retail scheme, which is being led by the council-owned company Advance Northumberland, will now start "early next year and will take approximately 12 months". In January, it was announced that the redevelopment had stalled awaiting final sign-off from the anchor tenant - a major supermarket. But Advance Northumberland's board recently approved a revised financial model and timetable, which relies on an extra cash injection of £1.4m from the county council. In a statement this week, Coun Lynne Grimshaw, the shadow cabinet member for regeneration, said: " The Labour Group welcomes - despite the long delay - the council looking to get this severely scaled back project off the ground. Stay informed by receiving your choice of the latest breaking North East news, NUFC/SAFC news and business news direct to your email by subscribing to our newsletters - here's how. Facebook: Here's our main Chronicle page. For our Newcastle United Facebook page click here and our Sunderland page is here. We also have a group for breaking news, one for travel news and one exclusively for court news. If you want TV news, visit our dedicated page here. Twitter: You can follow the Chronicle here, our NUFC page here, our SAFC page is here and The Journal here. Insta: Here's our Instagram page for all you photo lovers. Over on Linkedin you can follow us here.
  15. It's almost time for a new host of girls to hit the catwalk as the final of Miss Newcastle 2019 takes place in the city this weekend. The annual event is always a massive spectacle for the whole of the North East and now 13 contestants are aiming to steal the crown and follow in the footsteps of reigning Miss Newcastle Rebecca Gormley, who triumphed in an Arabian Nights themed finale last year. Over 300 hopefuls applied this year and Gainford Group are one again hosting the glamorous grand finale at The County Hotel and before they've even taken to the runway for the first time, the 2019 finalists have already raised in excess of £20,000 for chosen charity The Chronicle Sunshine Fund, thanks to events ranging from dog walks to fashion shows and bag packs to pamper days. A celebration of Style, Beauty & Talent... this year's final, hosted by Hannah Gray, draws inspiration from Aphrodite the Greek Goddess of Beauty & Love and will feature a performance from Ami Vaziri as Ariana Live. The winner will receive a place in the Miss England final as well as a contract with Tyne Tyne Models' And in an exciting week for the city, it was also revealed that the Miss England finals will be held in Newcastle for the first time.
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