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  1. Want the best local news sent to your inbox daily? Sign up to our newsletter The simplest sign an area is growing in popularity is when house prices start to increase - which can help identify the most sought-after towns in the North East. According to the latest figures from Rightmove, a number of towns and villages across the region have seen significant swings in average property prices in recent years. The new data shows the average value of homes in each area in July 2017 compared with the same month in 2020. In the past three years, average house prices have soared in certain areas by as much as almost 25%. The locations people are most desperate to move to in the North East are quieter locations to settle down and raise a family, particularly in Northumberland. Here are the top nine areas of the region which have seen the biggest house price percentage increases since July 2017. Check out properties for sale on InYourArea.
  2. Sign up to our newsletter for the latest Northumberland news Murder accused James Rutherford may stand trial early next year accused of killing Andrew Saint. Rutherford is accused of attacking the 64-year-old, who died three weeks after he was allegedly assaulted in Bedlington, Northumberland. Rutherford, 37, made his first appearance at Newcastle Crown Court via a video-link to HMP Durham on Thursday. The charge was not put to him but a provisional trial date was set for January 12 next year, with a time estimate of seven days. Judge Paul Sloan QC told him: "I'm going to adjourn this case to a further pre-trial hearing. That will be listed on September 1 and you will be linked in on that date as you have been today. "You should understand, if you have committed any offence or offences arising out of these allegations, the sooner that's communicated to the court, the better for you, the more credit you will receive. The longer you leave it, the worse it will be for you."
  3. Sign up to our newsletter for the latest Northumberland news Still reeling from the shock death of her beloved dad, Toni Saint has made an emotional plea for help to find out what happened to him. Fun-loving great-grandad Andrew Saint died in hospital weeks after he was allegedly assaulted. The 64-year-old had gone to his local shop in the hours before the incident, which happened in Bedlington Station, Northumberland. When Andrew - who was in poor health - did not come home, his family became worried and asked friends to help look for him But the next time his loved ones saw him he was in hospital, hooked up a ventilator and in a coma. Andrew never regained consciousness and passed away almost three weeks later. A 37-year-old has now appeared in court charged with his murder.
  4. Sign up to our newsletter for the latest Northumberland news Murder accused James Rutherford has today appeared in court over the death of Andrew Saint. The 64-year-old died in hospital almost three weeks after he was allegedly attacked at a home in Bedlington. Northumbria Police say Mr Saint was found with a serious head injury after emergency services were called to the home, on Pioneer Terrace, at around 7pm on February 23. He was taken to hospital where he passed away on March 13. A 37-year-old man was arrested on the night of the incident and released under investigation. Yesterday Mr Rutherford, of Pioneer Terrace, was charged with murder.
  5. Want the best local news sent to your inbox daily? Sign up to our newsletter More than 4,000 jobs will be created and another 3,500 safeguarded after the Government backed 18 schemes around the region with £47m from its infrastructure fund. The schemes include project to improve town and city centres, put the North East at the forefront of the green recovery and boost key employment sites, as well as creating 1,300 new homes. High profile projects such as the Gateshead Quays convention centre and the Aykley Heads business park in Durham have been backed, along with town centre regeneration schemes in Newcastle, North Shields and Bedlington. There is also backing for a new landing area for the Tyne ferry at the North Shields Fish Quay, plans to improve the digital infrastructure of the city centre and riverside area of Sunderland, better cycling and pedestrian links around Gateshead town centre and investment in a planned energy park at Blyth. The projects are part of the £900m Getting Building Fund which was announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in June to support “shovel-ready” housing and infrastructure projects. It is hoped the schemes will create 2,253 new jobs, 1,839 construction posts and safeguard 3,551 positions in the North East.
  6. Sign up to our newsletter for the latest Northumberland news A man has been charged with the murder of 64-year-old who died after an alleged assault in Northumberland. James Rutherford, 37, of Pioneer Terrace, Bedlington, was due to appear before Bedlington Magistrates' Court on Tuesday accused of killing Andrew Saint. Mr Saint died after an incident at an address on Pioneer Terrace, which police were called to at about 7pm on Sunday February 23. He was found with a serious head injury, believed to have been sustained in an assault, and was taken to hospital but he died as a result of his injury on March 13. A 37-year-old man was arrested on the night of the incident but later released under investigation while a police investigation into the alleged assault was conducted. On Monday he was re-arrested by police and charged with Mr Saint's murder.
  7. Sign up to our newsletter for the latest Northumberland news With everything that's happening in the world, staying informed is more important than ever. One way you can do that is by signing up to receive newsletters from NorthumberlandLive. We send a range of newsletters each day on the latest news, up-to-the-minute breaking incidents, information on coronavirus and the latest football stories. The what's on newsletter also goes out once a week and features events - both for real and virtual - happening in Northumberland and across the North East, as well as tips and advice on keeping the children entertained. If it's news specifically from your part of Northumberland that you're after, we've got everything covered too with a daily bulletin that lands in your inbox every evening. To sign up for one or all of these bulletins is simple, easy and free. Keep up-to-date with all the latest news in the county by visiting our new Northumberland Live homepage. Facebook: Here's our main Northumberland page. Twitter: You can follow the Northumberland Live page here.
  8. Sign up to our newsletter for the latest Northumberland news Four men have been arrested as part of a police operation to crack down on rural crime in Northumberland. Officers carried out a string of dawn raids at properties in Stobhill, Blyth and Bedlington on Tuesday as part of an investigation into drug supply, burglary and theft in the area. As a result, four men were detained on suspicion of burglary, handling stolen goods, public order and insurance fraud. A number of suspected stolen items were also seized, including a cable locating system worth almost £2,000. Neighbourhood sergeant Ian Pattison, of Northumbria Police, said: “Organised crime can devastate communities and often spearheaded by heartless individuals only out to make a profit. “Yesterday, as part of our ongoing proactive activity, we were able to arrest four suspects who have been assisting officers with their enquiries, while we also seized evidence that will prove invaluable moving forward.
  9. Sign up to our newsletter for the latest Northumberland news When Hayley Cadman was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin's lymphoma, her world was turned upside down. Last year, the mum-of-two experienced intense pain in her back and arms and medics thought she had a trapped nerve. But after trips to see a chiropractor and sports massage therapist, Hayley’s symptoms continued and became worse. She began to lose weight, suffered from heart palpitations and had a persistent dry cough. Hayley had recently started a new job as a learning disability nurse and her GP thought it was causing her anxiety and stress. But she knew that something wasn’t right and asked for blood tests to be taken.
  10. Work to reopen the former Northumberland Line could start "in a matter of months", regional leaders have said. Plans are currently being worked on to resume passenger services between Newcastle and Ashington, with the project expected to cost about £162m. And although transport bosses are still waiting for a decision on more Government funding for the scheme, it is hoped construction could begin soon. “Now is an opportunity for us as a region to actually make this ripe for significant investment,” said Peter Jackson, the leader of Northumberland County Council. “The Northumberland Line would be transformative to the whole area and our county, but it’s also a regional project and I’m very proud it’s actually getting nearer and nearer to being a reality. “We could have spades in the ground in a matter of months on that one. The crumbling, overgrown stations that could become a lifeline for Northumberland Keep up-to-date with all the latest news in the county by visiting our new Northumberland Live homepage. Facebook: Here's our main Northumberland page. Twitter: You can follow the Northumberland Live page here.
  11. A family is "worried sick" after a 28-year-old went missing after a night out. Samantha Donkin, known as Sammie, who also uses the surname Smith, is described as being "vulnerable" and was having a difficult time when she went to meet a friend in Gateshead on Friday, June 19. Her sister, Natalie Stokoe, told Chronicle Live: "She was fine on Friday, she said she was going to see her friend in Gateshead. "I messaged her about 1.30am saying 'are you coming home?' and she said she was staying out, and she didn't come home the next day. "Her friend said she got into a taxi at 11.30pm, which went to Morpeth. My sister doesn't know anyone in Morpeth as far as we know, so it doesn't add up. "We've been ringing and messaging and she hasn't answered, so after 24 hours I reported her missing to the police, who are looking for her.
  12. An off-duty police officer has been praised after spotting a man swinging an axe during a heated exchange. At about 9.45pm on Thursday June 18 a PC from Northumbria Police witnessed an exchange between two men on North Ridge in Bedlington. After noticing one of the men was armed with an axe and appeared to be threatening the other, he raised the alarm. Officers from the Firearms Support Unit swooped in but those involved had already fled the scene. After a short search of the area, an axe, which had been discarded over a garden fence, was found by officers. Two men, aged 42 and 41, were subsequently found and arrested on suspicion of affray.
  13. Early plans to get Northumberland's biggest towns ready for when shops reopen have been revealed. Since the start of lockdown, in March, many town centres have lain quiet, with only essential shops allowed to operate. But, as other retailers prepare to open on June 15, provision must be made to ensure a safe two-metre social distance can be maintained both inside shops and on the streets. In Newcastle, a one-way walking route is planned on Northumberland Street while "social distancing circles" have appeared in Old Eldon Square. Now, Northumberland County Council has shared its plans for the 12 key towns of Alnwick, Amble, Ashington, Berwick, Bedlington, Blyth, Cramlington, Haltwhistle, Hexham, Morpeth, Ponteland and Prudhoe. Councillor Glen Sanderson, the county council’s cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “In Northumberland, the layout of shopping streets, particularly in some of the older towns, does not make social distancing easy, with narrow pavements and limited queueing space.
  14. More than 500 jobs are set to be axed at Monsoon Accessorize after the retailer announced 35 stores closures – but the majority of the region's stores will hopefully remain open. The high street fashion retailer collapsed into administration after the hit from coronavirus scuppered its turnaround plan. The firm said it expects to make 545 staff redundant through 35 store closures – but stores in Bedlington, Newcastle’s Eldon Square, Newcastle Airport, Gateshead Metrocentre, The Bridges Sunderland and Durham are not part of the store closure list. The store in Middlesbrough, however, is earmarked for closure. The business expects to make the closures despite Monsoon’s founder Peter Simon buying the business out of administration almost immediately in a pre-pack deal, overseen by advisors at FRP. The deal will transfer around 450 jobs to Adena Brands, owned by Mr Simon, which will inject £15m into the business to allow the remaining stores to stay open.
  15. Boy racers are using a cemetery as a 'racetrack' amid claims parents are letting them run wild during lockdown. Complaints have been made to Northumbria Police about youths riding motorbikes in the West Lea area of Bedlington, Northumberland. Isabel Easson, whose daughter Bethany Fisher died in a car crash, claims a handful of teenagers are terrorising residents. "There are two of three teenagers on motorbikes racing past the park where the children are, then going through a gap to get into the cemetery . They are using it as a racetrack," she said. Bethany, 19, died when Jordan O'Donnell's Ford Mondeo ploughed into parked vehicles in Bedlington. She had been out celebrating her birthday when O'Donnell lost control of the car.
  16. Tributes have flooded in for a 'kind' and 'caring' woman known as the Mary Poppins of the Hoppings. Millie Barrass, 64, passed away at her Bedlington home on Sunday, May 10, following a short illness. The Hoppings community has been left devastated at the loss of a figurehead who was loved by all those who knew her. She also played an integral role of the successful campaign group 'Save Our Hoppings', which was launched after the popular Town Moor event was cancelled in 2013. Close friend David Richards, 29, said: "Millie was a kind, sweet person who would do anything for anyone. "Come hail, rain or shine you would see Millie pushing a silver cross pram followed by plenty of children.
  17. More than 60 vehicles were taken off the roads during an operation to stop suspected drug dealers in their tracks. Officers aimed to disrupt organised criminal groups in Ashington and Bedlington and used intelligence to target suspected offenders. As part of the operation, drivers were pulled over and tested for cocaine and cannabis use at the roadside. Those who tested positive were arrested and had further drugs testing. Their vehicles were also seized. Last month, 64 vehicles were uplifted – bringing the total number this year to just over 200 – half of which have been impounded and crushed. A total of 30 suspected drug-drivers have been arrested - 25 are believed to have had links to organised crime.
  18. Everyone who enters a Northumberland cancer hospital will be tested to see if they've had coronavirus. And the data collected through the tests could help the rest of the UK to get access to more reliable testing. Rutherford Health plc, which runs the private Rutherford Cancer Centre in Bedlington, on Wednesday announced it was rolling out antibody testing for all patients and staff. Just a few weeks ago, NHS bosses were suggesting antibody tests would soon be on sale through Amazon and Boots. It was said the simple tests could be taken at home and could help people get back to work by confirming they already had the virus and were likely to be immune. The tests check blood for two types of antibodies, which the body uses to fight infection. If these antibodies are present, the person should have the ability to fight off the infection in future. But of the 3.5million tests purchased by the UK government, none which have been so far tested meet the standards agreed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. At ChronicleLive, we’re proud to be part of the NHS Heroes campaign, which aims to make sure all the amazing people of this wonderful organisation know exactly how much they mean to the nation. We’re asking you to show them love by helping us create a living map of gratitude from every corner of Britain. By dropping a heart on the map, you’re saying you appreciate the efforts undertaken daily in the NHS. To pledge your support, just go to www.thanksamillionnhs.co.uk
  19. An incredibly talented Special Constable has temporarily hung up his handcuffs as he heads to hospital to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. Joshua Michie not only serves with Northumbria Police Motor Patrols team as a Special, but he’s also a trained doctor working for the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Although the 25-year-old is focusing all his attention on treating the vulnerable and keeping his patients safe during the coronavirus crisis, he would also like to lace up his boots and help officers on the beat. He said: “This is unprecedented and I never thought I would be working through a pandemic. It is an experience which will definitely stay with me. “At the moment, I’m socially isolating when I’m not working in the hospital. It’s really hard because I love being a Special and I’m desperate to get back out there. “I would love to be helping with patrols – I’d like to have the chance to be out in the community talking to people, engaging with them and getting them to see things from another angle.
  20. A seven-year-old girl has brought her community closer together by creating beautiful messages of hope. Olivia Walker, from Bedlington, started by drawing a large poster to put on the fence for her next-door neighbours to see, because she "didn't want them to be sad when they were walking the dog". She then began to make more personalised posters, to display on fences or in her windows, aimed at cheering up other neighbours. The rainbow has become a popular symbol of hope within the pandemic over the two weeks, with many households displaying rainbows in their windows as a sign that this 'storm' will pass. But Olivia has taken it a step further with her personalised messages, drawing more for strangers online after her designs were shared on a local Facebook group and brought delight to many who saw them. The St Bede's R C Primary School pupil said: "I wanted to do it because people are along, and I wanted to make them happy. It makes me happy to see how much people like them." At ChronicleLive, we’re proud to be part of the NHS Heroes campaign, which aims to make sure all the amazing people of this wonderful organisation know exactly how much they mean to the nation. We’re asking you to show them love by helping us create a living map of gratitude from every corner of Britain. By dropping a heart on the map, you’re saying you appreciate the efforts undertaken daily in the NHS. To pledge your support, just go to www.thanksamillionnhs.co.uk
  21. Just one punch can lead to such devastating consequences. From broken jaws and fractured skulls, single acts of violence in the region have not only caused long-lasting serious injury. Some families will know how lucky they are that their son or daughter survived their injuries, but other families have had their lives wrecked. Lives have been lost with a number of victims unable to recover from the horrific injuries they sustained from a single punch. While some one-punch attackers have faced time behind bars, others have been able to walk free from court. We take a look at seven people who have been brought before the courts across the North East in recent years for a one-punch attack.
  22. The North East’s magistrates’ courts were closed from Tuesday for all-but-urgent cases and those where the defendant is in custody. Following Boris Johnson’s announcement of tough new measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, which include only allowing people to leave their homes under specific circumstances, the region’s courthouses shut their doors to members of the public. Only remand cases - where defendants have been charged with an offence and then kept in custody by the police - urgent cases, such as applications for Domestic Violence Protection Orders, and cases via video link will be heard in one courtroom each at North Tyneside, South East Northumberland and South Tyneside. All other matters, such as where the accused is on bail or has been summoned to appear at court via a postal requisition, will be adjourned until a later date. Staff members and security were on the doors on Tuesday, advising that only personnel directly linked to an urgent case, such as a defence solicitor or a prosecutor, would be allowed into the buildings. A tweet on Tuesday morning from HM Courts & Tribunal Service read: “Magistrates’ Courts will only hear urgent cases today (overnight custody & prisoner production).
  23. Major supermarkets are hiring hundreds of staff to help cater for increased demand caused by shoppers during the coronavirus pandemic. Jobs are available throughout the North East, from the tip of Northumberland to Teesside, as supermarkets boost staff levels to help serve customers, re-stock shelves and deliver shopping. There are roles to work in Tesco supermarkets throughout the entire region, including Amble, Berwick, Chester-le-Street, Consett, Durham, Gateshead, Hexham, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, North Shields, Sunderland and Stockton. The adverts offer an 'immediate start', with day and night roles available. An advert for an immediate customer service position says: "With the COVID-19 situation evolving every day, and unprecedented high demand, we urgently need to recruit extra temporary in-store colleagues. "Working in our stores, you’ll play a key role in keeping our shelves stocked, helping our customers get what they need during this challenging time."
  24. Police investigating a violent attack on a teenage boy have released their suspect on bail. The 15-year-old victim was seriously injured when he was allegedly assaulted in Bedlington, on Friday. On Monday Northumbria Police officers arrested a 26-year-old man in connection with the incident, which happened at around 9.10pm, at The Oval The suspect has now been released on bail as enquiries continue. A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “The 26-year-old man has been released on bail and enquiries are ongoing.” Police say the teenager suffered a head injury in the alleged attack.
  25. Hospital visiting has been suspended across Northumberland and North Tyneside in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has said it has made the decision to stop visiting to protect its patients and staff. The temporary measure comes into effect as of Wednesday with the only exceptions being for patients receiving end-of-life care, birthing partners in maternity units and parents or guardians in the children's unit. iPads will be available on wards to facilitate ‘virtual’ visiting and friends and relatives will be able to ring a central number for information about their loved one in hospital. Locations where the measures will be implemented include Alnwick Infirmary, Hexham General Hospital, Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital and North Tyneside General Hospital. Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “This is not a decision we have taken lightly. However, it is a sensible step to try and reduce the spread of Coronavirus in our hospitals, and in our communities, across Northumberland and North Tyneside. LIVE: Rolling coronavirus updates CORONAVIRUS VS FLU: Which is worse and what are the differences? WHAT IT DOES TO THE BODY: How coronavirus spreads STAY UP TO DATE: Join our dedicated Facebook group
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