Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Cleveland Police response to You Tube Video

At around 11:30pm on 1st August 2013, police were called to reports of a man being drunk and disorderly in a pub on Stockton High Street. The report said that the man had left…
…the premises and was engaged in a dispute with a woman on Stockton High Street.

A male police officer arrived at the scene and was head-butted by the man and left injured on the floor. A female police officer attempted to handcuff the man, when she was kicked and head-butted.
Other officers at the scene attempted to restrain him so that he could be handcuffed and taken safely into police custody. Officers have said that the man was trying to bite them and was digging his nails into their arms whilst they were attempting to handcuff him.

In this case officers have used hands on tactics that are trained and recognised, they have not resorted to other tactics such as taser or baton strike which can be seen to be higher on the use of force continuum.

Controlling the arms and head of a violent person is not easy particularly when they are in a heightened state and have just assaulted someone.
Punches to the muscle group in the arm in order to “deaden” it and thus allow it to be moved to the rear are appropriate when encountering resistance from the arms. Once the man’s arms are secured he was then put into the back of a van safely, reducing the possibility of injury to him or others.

Cleveland Police Professional Standards Department have viewed the footage and are satisfied that the officers acted in accordance with legislation and their training when dealing with the man.
A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “Officers operating in Stockton Town Centre know they are on CCTV and value the evidence gathering and support it gives them, they often direct where the cameras should point via the police radio link into the CCTV control room.

“Officers deal with extremely violent individuals on a daily basis who could be under the influence of drink or drugs, which also has a part to play in increasing the offender’s mindset and strength.

“There is a danger that this footage could be taken out of context on first viewing, but it is important to view it with full knowledge of the facts.”
The man pleaded guilty at court to two counts of assaulting a constable in the execution of his or her duty and possession of cannabis. He was given a 12 month community order with supervision, a four week curfew, costs and compensation to police.

Cleveland Police Accused of Brutality in Middlesbrough through You Tube video

A video has today appeared online accusing Cleveland Police of Police Brutality from an incident which occurred on Stockton High Street on the 1st August. The video appeared on Youtube today.

We waited for an official police response before we released the footage. Which shows the shocking and distressing image of a male police officer laid on the floor.
The video taken from the towns CCTV system, shows an incident which has occurred on Stockton High Street and an number of police officers responding to the incident, as a male police officer is laid on the ground.

Although the Video clearly shows an officer on the ground having suffered what is believed to be an assault.

We must make it clear that incidents involving large groups of police officers were ‘reasonable force’ is required always looks much more serious than they are because of the visual representation of a number off officers arresting one person, Lets remember that this video clearly shows one police officer laid on the floor, with blood dripping down his face.

The video however accuses Cleveland Police of assaulting two members of the public involved in an incident.

Article from

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Inside Redcar's £31m leisure and community heart

Complex - which includes swimming pools, wave simulator, cafe, register officer, fitness suites and conference facilities - is due to open next spring

Work on the town’s £31m leisure and community “heart” began more than two years ago.
And as these photos show, it shouldn’t be long now before the new complex is up and running.

Due to open next spring, it is situated in the heart of Redcar, near the railway station.
Attractions currently under construction include swimming pools, a wave simulator, a cafe, a register officer, fitness suites and conference facilities.

Redcar and Cleveland Council says it will create and safeguard about 260 jobs and provide a state-of-the-art place to get fit, have fun, do business, grab coffee and even get married.
In addition, the council chambers, the mayor’s parlour and small and medium sized business facilities will be lthere.

Most of the steel for the building’s frame has come from the Teesside Beam Mill at Lackenby, famous for providing beams for the likes of Canary Wharf, Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 and the new World Trade Centre in New York.
Former Olympic and world champion triple jumper Jonathan Edwards came to Redcar in October 2011 to officially get work under way.

He was joined at the ceremony by two home-grown sporting stars - world champion mountain biker Danny Hart and world paratriathlete Charlotte Ellis. And in April 2012, the borough’s former mayor Councillor Olwyn Peters officially dug the first sod at the site.
The building’s frame comprises more than 4,500 steel beams and columns, held in place with 41,000 bolts.

Cllr Peters, now the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, said the scheme brings the total amount invested into Redcar’s redevelopment to more than £100m.
Most of the funding is from external sources, with the Community Heart largely financed by the European Regional Development Fund.

She said: “We have a superb civic centre that we believe will help drive the development of the entire borough for residents and visitors.”

Article from Gazette Live:

Friday, 6 December 2013

Huge waves in Saltburn as tidal surge hits

Do you know the man captured in these pictures as he dodged a large wave by jumping over cliff lift railing?

Do you know this man?

He was caught in these dramtic pictures as he dodged a large wave at Saltburn Pier.

This series of three pictures - taken by Gazette reader Lee Pearce - shows his lucky escape as he manages to jump over the cliff lift railing before a huge wave crashes over the sea wall.

The other pictures show the extent of damage to the area caused by waves which reached more than 10ft high.

Witnesses reported seeing tarmac ripped up like pieces of paper and scattering them around the car park.

Article from Gazette Live:

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Passenger train hit by large rock thrown from bridge while passing through Coatham Marshes in Redcar

Investigation launched after 'boulder-type rock causing a dent the size of a football' was thrown from a bridge onto the train
The train driver reported the incident to police
The train driver reported the incident to police
An investigation has been launched after a large rock was thrown from a bridge on Teesside - hitting and damaging a train.

The train, carrying passengers, was passing through Coatham Marshes, Redcar, when the incident happened at about 12.30pm on Saturday.
Luckily there were no injuries as a result of the incident but officers say it “could have been much worse”.

The impact caused a football-sized dent.
PC Gary Sykes, the investigating officer, said: “The train was passing through Coatham Marshes around 12.30pm on Saturday, November 30, when a boulder was thrown from a footbridge which crosses over the tracks.

“The boulder-type rock landed on top of one of the carriages, which was carrying passengers at the time, causing a dent the size of a football.”

Officers attended the area following the report and carried out a full search of the area but no suspects were found. There was no disruption to services.

Officers are now carrying out a number of inquiries including speaking to witnesses and urging anyone with information to come forward.

PC Sykes added: “The train driver, who reported the incident to police, saw a boy, aged between 13 and 15, wearing a dark coloured hooded top run from the scene, and we are very keen to speak to him.”

Anyone with any information should contact British Transport Police on 0800 405040 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting NEA/B5.

Article from the Gazette Live

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Big switch-on for multi-coloured Redcar Beacon marking completion of town's £30m seafront redevelopment

Friday’s light-up is part of a day-long event that includes the switching on of the Christmas lights and a high street concert.

The Redcar Beacon is set to live up to its name when its striking multi-coloured lights are switched on tomorrow, marking the completion of the town’s £30m seafront redevelopment.
Friday’s light-up is part of a day-long event that includes the switching on of the Christmas lights and a high street concert.

Energy-efficient lighting was specified as part of the original brief for Beacon and seafront development, delivered by the Environment Agency and Redcar and Cleveland Council.

The LED installation sweeps round the Beacon and runs along the seafront wall, around canopies of shelters, through water features and is incorporated in street lighting.
It can be programmed to reflect real-time weather, like rain, wind and waves, or seasonal events like Christmas.

An engineer from the designers will be on hand tomorrow to run a special launch sequence.
Children from schools across the borough, as well as the community hub Tuned In!, will be performing from around 10am in the high street tomorrow.
The Beacon and sea- front lights will be switched on at 4pm, during a performance by the One Voice Choir.

A short parade will take place along the high street to the tree by the town clock, before the town centre lights are switched on at 5pm.

Article from Gazette Live:

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Back-from-the-dead canoeist John Darwin may face prison return after allegedly leaving UK without permission

John Darwin who could be facing a return to prison  
John Darwin who could be facing a return to prison

The back-from-the-dead canoe conman John Darwin could be facing a return to prison after he left the UK without permission to meet up with a mini-skirt wearing Ukrainian woman.
The 63-year-old was pictured in The Sun on a date with a blonde woman in her 20s in the town of Sumy, 1,500 miles from his home in Hartlepool.

He was freed early on licence in January 2011 after being sentenced in 2008 to serve six years and three months for fraud.

That meant he was not allowed to leave the UK without Probation Service permission until his entire sentence was served.

The Probation Service would not speak about individual cases but a spokesman said: “Any offender subject to licence supervision is required to gain permission from probation to travel outside of the UK; permission is only granted in exceptional circumstances.

“Any offender who travels without this permission will be subject to recall to custody.”
It was believed Darwin is still in the Ukraine.

According to The Sun, Darwin and his date, a local woman named Anna, enjoyed a two-hour meal assisted by a translator, but the evening turned sour when he was confronted by a reporter.

The newspaper said Darwin first made contact with the woman over the internet.
He faked his own death in a canoeing accident in 2002 so his then wife Anne could claim hundreds of thousands of pounds from insurance policies and pension schemes.

The couple, from Seaton Carew, near Hartlepool, were jailed at Teesside Crown Court in 2008 for the swindle, which deceived the police, a coroner, financial institutions and their sons Mark and Anthony.
Darwin admitted fraud so received a slightly shorter sentence than Anne, who denied the offences. They have now divorced.
After faking his own death, Darwin continued to live in secret with his wife before they escaped to Panama to start a new life.

But in December 2007 Darwin walked into a London police station claiming he had amnesia and was reunited with his stunned sons.

His wife, then still in Panama, initially also claimed to be surprised - until a photograph emerged of them posing together.

Article from The Northern Echo:

21 'faces' of Redcar to be part of new public artwork are revealed

Locals asked to nominate 'faces' of Redcar and judging panel met to choose who would feature in permanent art exhibition at Redcar railway station
Some of the 'faces' of Redcar
Some of the 'faces' of Redcar
Some of these faces may already seem familiar - but they’re about to get even more well known.
For soon, their faces will greet rail visitors to Redcar as part of a piece of public artwork at the town’s railway station.

Last year, locals were asked to nominate the “faces” of Redcar.
A judging panel then met to choose who would take part in a photo-shoot and feature in a permanent art exhibition at the station. And those chosen provide a fascinating snapshot of life in a northern town.

From little cancer battler Ruby Hodgson to veteran historian Vera Robinson MBE, they’re the sort of people who make up the fabric of Redcar life. And by next spring, their official photos will be installed as part of a £1.3m station revamp.

Councillor Olwyn Peters, the borough’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “This has been a really fun and vibrant project to work on and one that will brighten up the railway station and enhance the arrival experience for residents and visitors. It just goes to show how Redcar is packed with many wonderful people with colourful and interesting lives, just like the rest of the borough.”

So who made the final 21? Some you’ll know, some you won’t - but they all have the Redcar area pulsing through their veins.

The Redcar Faces Project:
Steve Atkinson: Member of the town’s brave lifeboat crew
Linda Green: A familiar face to rail travellers, she’s worked at the station booking office for 30 years.
Vera Robinson MBE: Now aged 99, what she doesn’t know about the town’s history isn’t worth knowing.
Ruby Hodgson: Inspirational three-year-old who has taken on, and is beating, cancer.
Phillip Noble: A keen runner who encourages folk to get fit by donning? trainers and following in his footsteps.
Dennis Jenkins: The one and only - a disco legend from the 70s and 80s who has turned to knitting as a hobby.
Ray Preston: Former lifeboatman and Sharky’s licensee who is now Coastwatch’s station controller.
Claire Rachel Hewitt: Fitness instructor who changes lives by helping people lose weight and get fitter.
Tracy Stubbs and Debbie Honeyman: Familiar faces who work at the family-run Miller and Daughters fruit and veg shop and stall - whatever the weather!
Chris Nixon: Teacher who encourages children to reach their performing arts potential.
Mary Lee: Secretary of the Friends of Zetland Park.
Lindy O’Hare: Founder of invaluable support group Survivors of Domestic Abuse.
Claire and Philip Green: Owners of thriving - and charity-backing - cafe Sophellies.
Norman Evans MBE: Busker Norman, who has multiple sclerosis, has raised thousands of pounds for charity over several decades.
Mike Findley MBE: Former mayor Mike was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2005 and continues to raise funds for, and awareness of, the muscle-wasting condition.
Brian Lewellyn: Upholding a Punch and Judy family tradition that began back in 1953.
Thomas Gibbon: Master butcher at a shop that make pies people come from miles around for, Goodswen and Son.
Rene Gibbons: Now 90, Rene served up school dinners at the former Cleveland Grammar and Corporation Road schools for 31 years.
Lewis Collins: A talented musician, rapidly becoming one of Redcar’s best known street entertainers.
Jessica Rushby: She’s only two, but she can’t get enough of the new Redcar Beacon, having visited it more than 10 times already.
George Pacitto: Redcar - lemontops - Pacittos - the boss. What more is there to say?

Article from the Gazette Live:

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Monday, 25 November 2013

Sculpture celebrating town's fishing heritage unveiled in Redcar

A SECOND sculpture at the heart of the regeneration of Redcar seafront has been installed to celebrate the work of the town’s fishing boats.

Lifelines, which was created by Ian Randall and can be seen at the southern end of the Esplande, near to the RNLI museum, was designed to reflect the natural environment of the seafront.
Its base features five vessel forms designed to represent the notion of boats being launched or having been dragged back to shore – a reflection of the present fishing fleet perched on the esplanade and a reference to the lifeboat ‘The Zetland’.

Councillor Olwyn Peters, cabinet member for culture, leisure and tourism, said: “Lifelines is a real addition to the seafront and once again we are delighted Ian has produced such a striking piece of art that has been inspired by the natural environment of Redcar Seafront.

“This fantastic piece of artwork really compliments, the first sculpture, ‘Sinterlation’, which was installed earlier in the year and is a tribute to the town’s fishing and steel connection.”

The regeneration scheme is part of a multi-million pound sea fences project involving the council and the Environment Agency. 

Article from the Northern Echo:

Friday, 15 November 2013

Lanterns released for Georgina Anderson in Stockton on Affinity bridge on You Tube Video

The out pour of emotion stretched further than East Cleveland last night as hundreds also gathered on the Affinity Bridge in Stockton. People from Teesside and East Cleveland showing their respects for a very talented singer Georgina Anderson. Our thoughts are with the Anderson family.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Lanterns launched for Georgina Anderson

People gathered tonight to say good bye to the wonderfully gifted and extremely brave Georgina Anderson. East Cleveland Residents meet 8pm at "The Stray" car-park in Marske, for a lantern release for in memory of Georgina Anderson who unfortunately lost her battle with cancer, thousands gathered in Redcar and Stockton.

The sky was light for Georgina Anderson and everyone showed her family we're all thinking of them at this terrible time.

Georgina Anderson from Marske passes away today at home

Marske teenager Georgina Anderson,  - who had a lifelong dream of having her music heard across the globe - passed away at home.

A teenage girl who touched the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people across the world through her music has passed away.

Georgina Anderson died today - just four months after being diagnosed with an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer.

The talented musician courageously battled the disease - even taking to social media to show her fighting spirit, at one point tweeting: “OK I’ve stopped feeling sorry for myself now. Cancer I’m coming to get you!”

But Georgina - who had a lifelong dream of having her music heard across the globe - was told that she had exhausted all treatment shortly before her 15th birthday last month.
And sadly, the Marske teen, who was wheeled onto the Riverside pitch last weekend while her song

Two Thirds of a Piece was played to 14,000 fans, passed away at home.
She leaves  behind parents Helen, 45 and dad Paul, 46 and brother Joe, 20.
Tributes have been flooding in for the Year 10 Bydales School pupil who busked in Middlesbrough town centre.

Alasdair Kesson, Bydales headteacher, said: “Georgina was a much loved, popular pupil at Bydales School.
“She was a very talented and gifted musician and will be fondly remembered by all. Georgina will always be part of Bydales and her friends have already taken part in lots of fund raising activities and these will continue over the coming years.

“We understand that this will affect a lot of people and we have put support in place for any pupils, parents or staff who feel they need help in dealing with their grief as we understand that this may also affect families dealing with similar circumstances at home.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Georgina’s family and friends at this extremely difficult time.”

Georgina’s death comes as it is hoped that one of her self-penned songs will be released as a charity single by Sony.

The singer was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer, which had spread to her lungs in July shortly before breaking up for the summer holidays.

She underwent chemotherapy but last month medics at Newcastle’s RVI said that there were no other treatment options available.

Desperate to help Georgina fulfil her ultimate dream of having her music heard globally,  family and friends worked to get one of her songs to go viral.

It went on to get celebrity endorsement including from Cheryl Cole and James Arthur, as well as praise from people across the world.
And now her version of Bonnie Raitt’s I Can’t Make You Love Me on YouTube has nearly had 200,000 hits on YouTube.

Georgina previously said it was “amazing” that so many people had watched her video, which features a sunrise at Marske beach.
She told the Gazette: “Music is something I really enjoy, something that makes me a bit different. I’m so happy with how many people have already heard it.

Following her diagnosis Georgina inspired family, friends and even strangers to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

This included brother Joe a student at the London School of Economics having his hair styled into a bright pink mohican  while a charity night attended by X Factor winner Joe McElderry was also held in her honour.

Article excellently wrote by the Gazette Live:

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Calls for a new traditional pier for Redcar to be placed in council's plans

A NEW pier for Redcar could be included in plans for the town's future - but the council's leader wants reassurances that the local MP will push the Government to supply the money.

The Labour leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council's Labour, George Dunning, was responding to criticism from Liberal Democrat MP Ian Swales that the pier wasn't already being considered.

Mr Swales noted the authority had not included a pier in its Local Plan, which outlines planning aims for the area, and said, therefore, there was “no chance” of one being built.

Mr Swales said: “I have told the council bosses that I will fight for Government money to help build a proper pier at Redcar. But if a pier is not included in the Local Plan then there is no chance.”

He was backed by leading Liberal Democrat councillor, Chris Abbott, who said: “One thing missing from the Labour Council’s draft plan is a pier for Redcar and Lib Dems are asking residents to support the campaign to have a pier included in the Local Plan.

“It would show a commitment that the council is listening to what people in Redcar want.”
However, George Dunning, a member of the Redcar Pier Association, said the local plan was only at draft stage.

He urged Mr Swales to write to the council about the issue and wanted a firm assurance the MP would lobby for Government funding for a new pier - which would be the first such structure in Britain in 56 years.

He said: “We had our other MP, Tom Blenkinsop, bringing the issue up in the House of Commons, but he was told it was extremely unlikely money would be made available.

"The message we get from Government is actually to sell assets. We’re having to make job cuts and our priority has be elsewhere, saving jobs and services, at this time.

"However, if Mr Swales is prepared to lobby for this and writes to us we would look at it. I would love there to be a traditional pier once again.”
The Redcar Pier Association was formed in 2011 and has more than 550 members who have each paid £10 to join.

Investigations have been made into the feasibility of drilling down on the same site of Coatham Pier, destroyed in 1899, which is near today’s new 80ft Redcar Beacon building.
The old Redcar Pier, a second pier in the town, was demolished in 1981.

Article from the Northern Echo.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Former Cleveland police officer has admitted committing seven rapes

A FORMER North-East policeman on trial for sex offences has already admitted carrying out seven rapes, a jury heard yesterday.

Prosecutor Christine Egerton told the court that Wayne Scott, formerly of Stockton, had pleaded guilty to seven charges of rape against another woman.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that Scott was on remand in prison over the original allegations when he was interviewed in relation to three further allegations of rape, attempted rape and sexual assault between June 2006 and December 2007.

The 37-year-old, who was a serving policeman at the time, denies all three of the latest charges.
Jurors heard a transcript of the police interview when Detective Constable Kimberley Davies, of Cleveland Police, gave evidence.
During the interview, he denied attempting to rape the victim in his home.
Scott also told officers that he would describe himself as highly-sexed but had never forced himself on anyone.

He accepted that on the night he is accused of attempted rape and sexual assault, he did try to pull down the alleged victim's jeans but he told officers that when she asked him to stop he did so.

The defendant denied pinning the alleged victim to the floor and said that she did not scream for help.
 He said: "I can say it here and say it proud I have never raped (the alleged victim)"
In a second police interview, Scott denied raping the victim in his car or that he drove away at speed threatening to crash the car after the alleged incident.
Earlier yesterday, a former work colleague of the alleged victim told the jury that she was visibly upset when she told her what had happened.
She said: "She was crying and shaking.
"She said something had happened, that she had been forced upon.
"Something horrendous had happened to her, something had happened which she wasn't expecting and it was horrendous."

When the next witness was giving evidence, Scott sat in the dock crying, with his head in his hands.
The witness recounted a confrontation between the alleged victim and the defendant.
She said she overheard the victim saying "after you had forced yourself on me a couple of weeks ago... when you tried to rape me".

Tim Roberts, cross examining the witness, put it to the witness that the victim never used the word 'rape'.
She replied: "Yes she did."
The trial continues

Article from the Northern echo

Owl centre celebrates re-opening after last month's floods

Kirkleatham Owl Centre is back up and running as normal after it was forced to close when it suffered severe damage in last month's floods
Staff and volunteers at Kirkleatham Owl Centre are celebrating its reopening after being hit by last month's flood .

Several birds were killed during the September 6 deluge which saw the Redcar centre flooded for the first time in its 23-year history.
Since then, staff and volunteers have been busy repairing fences and aviaries damaged by the storm water .

Visitors saw manager Craig Wesson feed the centre’s meerkat troop and crowds of parents and children watched flying displays by beautiful barn owl Bizzy and hilarious antics by Chop Suey, the runner duck.

The owl centre was left with thousands of pounds worth of damage, including to aviaries and the sad loss of a number of birds, as a result of the huge flood of September 6.
Now, after weeks of hard work, and “overwhelming” backing from the public - the centre is back operating as normal.

Craig said: “I’m really delighted to see everything running smoothly once again.
“There are about 80 birds now of various species like owls, vultures, ibis and many more.
“It’s great to see people visiting from the summer time and some new faces too. It’s encouraging.”

He said staff and volunteers still have much work to do, including some big building projects over the winter.

But he is so thankful for the “huge support” from local community members who have provided supplies of animal feed and cleaning equipment – and much more.

“The support’s been overwhelming and made us all realise how much people care about the owl centre,’’ he said.

The facility, which has been a visitor attraction for more than 20 years, continued to carry out
rehabilitation work with sick and injured wildlife despite the temporary closure.

It now has a full programme of events planned for the half-term break and will be open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am to 4.30pm and during the winter the same times, from Thursday to Sunday.
Stephen Beedle, 46, from Guisborough, visited with wife June, son Matthew, nine and daughter Emily. The family is a keen sponsor of some of the birds.

Matthew said: “We’ve been here lots of times, but never get tired of it. We love the birds and it’s great to see them back.”

Volunteer Penny Curtis, 37, of Great Ayton, said: “It’s wonderful to see the centre open again - and so many people here enjoying it.”

Article from the Gazette Live

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Pink fundraisers make a splash for charity double

Dozens of fundraisers braved the icy waters of the North Sea as they made a splash for charity
A group of fearless adrenaline junkies dressed themselves in an array of outfits for the Pink Dip in Redcar on Saturday.

Then yesterday, fundraisers taking part in a sponsored boot camp at Marske cooled off after their efforts with a dip in the sea.

Both events were held to raise money for cancer charities.

The Pink Dip at Redcar was founded in 2005 by breast cancer survivor Sharyn Clarkson.
Since then, it has raised nearly £20,000.
Last year, about £3,000 was raised by the hardy dippers. And with the current running total since 2005 hovering around £19,000, the £20,000 barrier is expected to be smashed.

Article form the Gazette Live

GMB union: Tata job cuts have 'come straight out of the blue - Redcar Jobs

Steel being rolled in the Teesside Beam Mill Tata
Steel being rolled in the Teesside Beam Mill Tata
Union officials have said that 500 job cuts announced at Tata Steel earlier today have come "straight out of the blue".

As reported, about 40 jobs are at risk at its  Redcar  and  Skinningrove  plants because of weak demand in the construction industry.

About 340 jobs could be affected in Scunthorpe and 90 in Workington.
And David Hulse, national officer of the GMB union, said: "This terrible news has come straight out of the blue.
"It is a shock to the workforces in Scunthorpe, Workington and Teesside.
"GMB is bitterly disappointed as earlier this year we saw 1,000 people leave the company and everyone involved has worked hard to make all-round improvements.
"GMB will insist on no compulsory redundancies and to bring the number of job losses down."

Article form the Gazette Live

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Marske sunrise by the amazing voice of Georgina Anderson

Helen Anderson has shared this amazing video of Marske Beach at sunrise with the Redcar Blog. Please share this with as many people as you can in support of Georgina Anderson who has incurable cancer. Show your support for this amazing 15 year old with an amazing talent.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Thousands of region's poorest households facing council tax legal action, Redcar included

GOVERNMENT welfare reforms have left more than 10,000 of the region's poorest households facing legal action for non-payment of council tax.

An investigation by The Northern Echo has revealed that one in three people in some areas of the North-East asked to pay council tax for the first time - or paying increased tax - have been issued with a court summons.

Local authorities last night blamed the Government for the problem while advice charities urged anyone slipping into debt to seek help immediately.

Responses to a freedom of information (FoI) request submitted by Labour and obtained by The Northern Echo highlight the scale of the debts caused by the Government's decision to cancel council tax benefit.

Councils were forced to implement their own council tax support system, with most in the region opting to offer some discounts to claimants, but still asking residents, including the unemployed and disabled, for a contribution.

Darlington Borough Council, along with Stockton and Middlesbrough, are asking residents who previously received a full discount to pay 20 per cent of their bill.

Other authorities, including Hambleton and Richmondshire, in North Yorkshire, as well as Hartlepool and Sunderland, are asking for 8.5 per cent of the full levy.

Darlington sent 6,558 people a council tax bill for the first time, or an increased bill, in April.
Of these, 2,281 have received court summonses for non-payment.

Sunderland has 19,500 new or increased council tax payers - and has issued 5,719 summonses, while Hartlepool has begun court action against 1,878 people out of around 6,000 former recipients of 100 per cent council tax benefit.

Elsewhere in the region, Redcar and Cleveland Council has issued 1,252 summonses to residents previously exempt or in receipt of a discount on their council tax bill.
Once councils have issued summonses they can go to court seeking a liability order, allowing bailiffs to recover the debt.

Councillor Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Council, said the changes implemented by the Government had left many people "high and dry", but the authority had to pursue debtors.
"This isn't of our making, but we have to get on with it.
"We need people to talk to us. We will do everything we can to come up with an agreement - we don't want people running up debts, especially with payday loan companies, or not being able to sleep at night."

Coun Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Council, said his authority was also doing everything it could to help those struggling to pay the tax, including offering one of the most generous council tax support schemes in the region.

"It is a repayable debt, but we have a mechanism in place offering lots of different options, such as weekly payments and direct debits."
Sunderland City Council said it had received £2.8m less from central government as a result of the changes to the council tax benefit system.

Coun Mel Speding, cabinet secretary, said: "The City Council could not afford to make up the whole shortfall so it devised a scheme which it believed was fair as possible to residents."
Several councils were unable to provide the requested information, while data is still awaited from other authorities in the region.

Despite criticism from the Government, Durham County Council decided to protect discounts received by former council tax benefit claimants.
Dawn Gill, advice service manager at Darlington Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), said the service had seen a substantial increase in the number of people issued with a liability order since April.
"I would advise people if they are struggling not to bury their heads, but to seek advice from their local CAB."

The Department for Communities and Local Government said councils accounted for a quarter of all public spending and are forecast to spend £102bn this year - £4bn more than last year.
A spokesman added: "This Government's carefully considered reforms are helping councils to deliver sensible savings while protecting front-line services and achieve greater financial independence through new incentives that reward councils that support local economies."

Article from the Nortthern Echo

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Middlesbrough Ian Ord dressed as armed cop to raid home hoping to find drug dealer's cash

Ian Ord raided home posing as policeman armed with fake sub-machine gun and shouting 'armed police' to make his crime appear like legitimate operation

Ian Ord
Ian Ord
A Teesside criminal who raided a home posing as a policeman armed with a fake sub-machine gun has been jailed for six years.

Bogus bobby Ian Ord smashed his way into the home with a hammer hoping to find a drug dealer’s cash stash in the loft.

He was dressed as a police officer, sporting a stab vest and shouting “armed police” to make his crime appear like a legitimate operation.

He carried an imitation gun described by one witness as “like a sub-machine gun”.
When caught Ord, 37, from Middlesbrough, said he thought the house was empty, Teesside Crown Court heard yesterday.

Instead, the new occupant came home to find his living room window broken and Ord inside.
Ord attracted the attention of neighbours and left the County Durham house pointing the weapon at shocked and distressed bystanders before jumping into a getaway car.

He was already on bail at the time, having been arrested from Heathrow Airport for international money laundering.

He’d used a passport carrying his photograph - but his brother’s name - to travel to Colombia.
There, he received 13 money transfers totalling £18,504 between April and September 2011.
He was extradited to Germany, then went to Italy and Cyprus, where he was jailed for trying to board a flight to Budapest with a false passport under a different name, and was finally extradited back to England in May 2012.

Ord, of Harford Street, Middlesbrough, admitted aggravated burglary from March 28 this year.
He also admitted making an untrue statement to obtain a passport and possessing criminal property.
He had 92 previous offences including imitation firearm possession, burglary, arson, assault, GBH with intent, deception and escaping from custody, and had served long prison sentences.
His barrister Sarah Barlow said he had memory and vision difficulties and headaches from a severe head injury.

She said his most serious offending was when he was a youth, with nothing similar this century.
Judge George Moorhouse jailed him for six-and-a-half years.
Ord’s younger recruit Jonathan Fleming, 21, of Staintondale Avenue, Redcar, also admitted the aggravated burglary. He was jailed for four years for his “subordinate” role.

Fleming, whose only previous crime was stealing some scaffolding, said he didn’t know what was going to happen until he was in the car en route.
He bought the claw hammer on the way, and knew Ord had the firearm.
Peter Makepeace, for Fleming, said he was a “perfectly decent citizen” living a quiet life but was exploited and victimised.

A psychologist said his “dependence personality disorder” made him compliant, easily led, suggestible, vulnerable, unsophisticated and naive.
The Muslim convert showed remorse, behaved impeccably and helped others with literacy in jail.

A third man in the dock, 19-year-old Jonathon Barker, helped Ord by washing the car to get rid of evidence afterwards.

Barker, of Blackthorn Close, Redcar, admitted assisting an offender, his first-ever conviction.
Ian Mullarkey, representing the teenager, said he too was naive as he got “unwittingly involved” and felt bullied, petrified, panicked and isolated.

He said Barker was relieved to be caught, ending his ordeal, and deeply regretted his actions.
The court case took a psychological toll on the hard-working apprentice engineer and charity worker, whose family supported him.
Judge Moorhouse said Barker acted under duress and gave him a one-year custodial sentence suspended for two years with 150 hours’ unpaid work and six months’ supervision.

Article from Gazette Live

Monday, 21 October 2013

Tony Mowbray parts company with Boro after poor start to the season

EXCLUSIVE: Tony Mowbray parts company with Boro after a poor start to the season; assistant Mark Venus takes temporary charge
Tony Mowbray has tonight parted company with Boro. His assistant, Mark venus, will take temporary charge of the club.

A poor start to the current campaign coupled with the club's woeful form over the second half of last season has led chairman Steve Gibson's to make a decision he thought long and hard about..

Boro have won just three league fixture out of 12 so far this season and were eliminated from the Capital One Cup at the first round stage by League Two strugglers Accrington.

Saturday's 3-2 defeat at rock-bottom Barnsley proved to be the last straw for Gibson, was was believed to be close to sacking Mowbray in the week preceding the crucial

Gibson's search for a replacement to take the club out of the Championship is already underway and an appointment is expected to be confirmed sooner rather than later.

Mowbray , 49, spent almost three years in charge of the club he supported as a boy and captained with distinction in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He was appointed in October 2010 as a replacement for current Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, who resigned with Boro languishing fourth from bottom of the Championship following a poor start to the season that had seen the team pick up 11 points from 11 games.

Mowbray's backroom team included assistant manager Mark Venus, first team coach Mark Proctor and goalkeeping coach Stephen Pears.

With a minimum of fuss, in his first season he guided the team back to the safety of mid-table, taking a creditable 51 points from the remaining 35 fixtures.

His first full campaign in charge saw Boro mount a genuine challenge for promotion before Christmas but a New Year slump left the club in seventh place overall, just one spot below the play-off zone.

Given Mowbray's financial restrictions – he had virtually no transfer kitty due to the hefty contracts handed out to Strachan's signings – it was widely believed he'd done a good job with the resources at his disposal.

It was a similar story last season, Boro started well and were briefly top in November but another New Year slump saw the club drop to 16th, their lowest league finish since 1990.
Middlesbrough v Accrington
  Boro only won three of their final 21 fixtures, picking up just 12 points out of a possible 63.
The club, it must be noted, did do relatively well in the cups under Mowbray, taking Sunderland to an FA Cup fourth round replay in 2012 and losing to Chelsea in the fifth round earlier this year.
They also reached the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup last season before losing narrowly at Swansea.

Mowbray also completely overhauled the Boro backroom team, building an extensive scouting network headed by Gary Gill and pushed hard for more fitness and conditioning staff to ensure the players stay fitter for longer.

A summer overhaul saw the remaining big earners from the Strachan-era depart and Mowbray was able to bring in his own signings as the chairman loosened the purse strings.

But a failure to address an error-prone defence meant Boro were unable to capitalise on generally decent early season performances and Gibson finally decided it was time for a change.

Article from Gazette live:

Man dies after being hit by train near Marton Station in Middlesbrough

Paramedics, fire and police rushed to the scene - near Marton station and Park End estate - at 3.45pm on Saturday, but he was pronounced dead at the scene
Emergency crews on the scene after a man was killed after being hit by a train on the tracks close to Marton station
Emergency crews on the scene after a man was killed after being hit by a train on the tracks close to Marton station
A man died after being hit by a train on the line near Marton Station in Middlesbrough.
Police officers from the Cleveland force, British Transport Police and Cleveland Fire crews were called to the incident at 3.45pm on Saturday, just north of the railway station near the Park End estate.

Several police cars and paramedics - as well as a private ambulance - congregated in the Marton Station car park just off Ladgate Lane.

The man was pronounced dead at the scene. His death is not being treated as suspicious.
Northern Rail confirmed someone had been hit by a train and services along the line between Nunthorpe and Middlesbrough ceased until 5.45pm.

A spokeswoman for British Transport Police, who could not confirm the man’s age, said: “British Transport Police officers were called to the line near to Marton train station on Saturday, October 19, after a report of a person being struck by a train.

“Officers from British Transport Police and Cleveland Police attended the incident, which is being treated as non-suspicious, arriving at 15.50 hours.

“Paramedics also attended, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Emergency services at the scene after a man died on the railway line near Marton
Emergency services at the scene after a man died on the railway line near Marton
Ian McPherson
 She added the train involved was a Northern Rail service from Nunthorpe to Hexham.
A full report is being prepared for the coroner, who has been informed.
A mum from Park End, who asked not to be named, said she was aware of other accidents involving trains along the line in the past.
“I’ve heard of some accidents on the track around here, but not a lot,” she said.
“It’s a terrible shame.”

Another woman said she didn’t know exactly where the incident had occurred, but had seen the police helicopter hovering overhead on Saturday.

A Northern Rail spokeswoman said any traumatic incident which affects employees triggers a chain of care.
“This includes thorough training and awareness to prepare our employees as well as counselling after an incident has happened,” she said.

“We also work closely with the Samaritans, providing a call-out service for people in distress. We make sure there is post-incident support available for everyone, both employees and customers and develop links with mental health services.”

Article for Gazette Live

Monday, 7 October 2013

Redcar Lifeboat called out to rescue boy, 11, from rising tide

Youngster is taken to hospital as a precaution after getting into difficulties at Redcar West Scar
Redcar RNLI

The Redcar Lifeboat  had to be rescued from the sea after getting cut off by the tide.
The 11-year-old was caught out on rocks off Redcar West Scar.

Dave Cocks, deputy launching authority for Redcar RNLI, said: “Fortunately he did all the right things, waving his arms in the air and shouting for help.”

The child was spotted and Redcar’s inshore lifeboat was called out just before 12.30pm today.
With the water quickly rising the boy was rescued from the rising tide.

An ambulance and police also attended.

Dave said: “We were a little bit concerned as he had been in the water for at least 15 minutes so we called the ambulance.”
Cold and upset by his ordeal the boy was taken to hospital as a precaution.

Article from Gazette Live

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Redcar motorbike driver sent pedestrians jumping out of way as he raced from police

Aaron Smith made his 25th court appearance after speeding off from chasing police amid heavy, slow-moving traffic and numerous pedestrians
Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court
A manic driver who sent pedestrians jumping out of his path as he raced a motorbike away from police is behind bars today.

“It was a miracle nobody was killed,” said Judge Michael Taylor.

He jailed the banned motorist with a penchant for tearing around the streets on stolen motorbikes.
Drunken Aaron Smith, 22, attacked the owner of the recently bought £1,600 KTM motorbike on Scott Street, Redcar.

He sped off from chasing police amid heavy, slow-moving traffic and numerous pedestrians, Teesside Crown Court heard yesterday.

He narrowly missed vehicles he overtook and rapidly turned in front of a police car.
Pedestrians crossing a residential side street had to jump out of the way to avoid being run over, said prosecutor Martin Robertshaw.
Smith lost control and came off the bike, which slid towards oncoming traffic.
Smith himself rolled and crashed into a plastic bollard on a traffic island, with such force that the bollard was flung into the air.

The joyrider remounted the damaged bike and carried on his “manic” ride, briefly out of the police’s sight.

He eventually dropped the vehicle in the middle of the road in the Cedar Grove and Laburnum Road area and ran to a nearby house where he was arrested on the late afternoon of June 15.
Smith, of Laburnum Road, Redcar, admitted dangerous driving, vehicle taking, common assault and driving while disqualified.

This was his 25th court appearance after a long record, mainly of vehicle crime.
Just a fortnight before the latest escapade, magistrates gave him a 20-week suspended prison sentence for a similar incident of aggravated vehicle taking.

His barrister Nigel Soppitt said Smith came across as “a very likeable young man”.
He said Smith accepted he was “wholly reckless” and showed a total disregard for other road users.
Not wearing a helmet, he “stuck out like a sore thumb”
Judge Michael Taylor told Smith: “You drove in the most foolhardy and dangerous manner.
“There were numerous pedestrians about and you were weaving in and out between pedestrians and motor vehicles.”

He said magistrates were brave to give Smith a suspended sentence in May, and that made his latest crimes more serious.

He added: “’Ive got no choice other than to lock you up today.”
He jailed Smith for 60 weeks and banned him from driving for two years.

Article from Gazette Live

Monday, 30 September 2013

Redcar man killed pet guinea pig in row with partner

Lee Jason Close threw a pet guinea pig over a six foot fence after having a drink-fuelled row with his partner
Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court
A domestic dispute led to a man killing a pet guinea pig by throwing it over a fence.
Lee Jason Close subjected a rabbit to the same ordeal and also threw a dog down the stairs, a court was told.

The 43-year-old Redcar man took it out on the pets after having a drink-fuelled row with his partner.
Close became abusive and she responded by moving to another room, taking the dog with her, Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard.

But Close kicked open the door, breaking the lock, at which point the dog started barking, said prosecutor Paul Power.

Mr Power said the defendant grabbed the dog by the throat and carried it to the stairs. When he got about halfway down he threw the animal the rest of the way, about six feet to the floor.
Close also took his anger out on a rabbit and a guinea pig, both animals being thrown over a six foot fence.

The rabbit survived but the guinea pig died, added Mr Power.
And in a later incident he carried out a common assault on his partner, in which he spat in her face. Part of the incident was witnessed by the woman’s teenage daughter, the court heard.
Close, of Baysdale Grove, Redcar, admitted three offences of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal and one of common assault, all committed last month.

Andrew Foster, representing Close, said he had nothing of a similar nature on his record. He said Close had been under a tremendous amount of stress and had “snapped” on that night, with alcohol having played a part.
Close’s partner said his behaviour had been “completely out of character” and she had never thought of him as “a danger to herself or animals”,

The court was told they were still together and whilst she had been moving into a new property he had been looking after her animals without any problems.
Mr Foster said Close was entitled to credit for his guilty pleas, had shown remorse and was motivated to address the reasons why the offences had taken place.

He was given a 14-week jail term suspended for two years, with supervision for 24 months and an alcohol specified activity requirement.

Close was also ordered to pay £100 compensation, with £85 costs and an £80 victim surcharge, and banned from keeping animals for ten years.

Article from the Gazette Live

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Want to buy a swathe of Eston Hills? 214 acres could be yours for £425k

The eastern part of the hills, formerly part of the Wilton Castle Estate and a Site of Nature Conservation Interest, could be broken into eight lots

A call has been made to save part of Eston Hills "for the people" after 214 acres went up for sale.
The privately owned land, at a guide price of £425,000, is Lazenby Bank - the eastern part of the hills, formerly part of the Wilton Castle Estate and a Site of Nature Conservation Interest.
It was an ICI property from 1945 until its sale to private owners in the 1990s, it’s available as a whole, or in eight separate lots.

Property agents Geoge F White describe Lazenby Bank as having “a rich heritage, having previously been an area that was utilised for iron stone mining, with Lot 8, the Grade II-Listed Lovell Drift Fan House, a remnant of the Cleveland ironstone mines.
Further historical features are present throughout the property, most notably the remains of the Bronze Age burial mounds and Iron Age hill fort, together with the 19th century monument which are located at Eston Beacon, within Lot 1.

“Lazenby Bank includes mixed broadleaves and conifers of varying ages, part of which is classified as Ancient Semi-Natural Woodland.”
But a “Save The Eston Hills” Facebook page has already attracted more than 2,500 members, including film-maker Craig Hornby, whose acclaimed film A Century in Stone details the hills’ ironstone heritage, and group founder Rita Richardson.

A message on the page states: “This is an absolute jewel in Teesside’s crown and a fantastic opportunity to create a publicly owned heritage and nature park.
Only then can this much-loved natural and historic amenity be truly safeguarded and celebrated for generations to come.”

It says the group has written to Redcar and Cleveland Council leader Councillor George Dunning asking if the council has any interest in acquiring the site.
“Should that reply be negative or not happen soon, we will set ourselves up as a charity and begin a massive online fundraising drive to buy the site ourselves - for the people forever.”

Cllr Dunning said he hadn’t yet seen the letter, but had already discussed the issue with council deputy leader Sheelagh Clarke and chief executive Amanda Skelton.
He added: “The current Government’s drive is for councils to sell assets, not buy them, but we’ll look at all the options available to us, including things like match funding. There is clearly a lot of feeling about this issue.”

Article from the Gazette Live

Monday, 23 September 2013

Redcar Lifeboat: 2013 was busiest summer since records began in 1802

Lifeboats launched  almost twice as many times during summer months as during the same period 12 months before

The Redcar RNLI inshore lifeboat
Sunny weather and the revamped Redcar seafront helped ensure the town’s lifeboat station had its busiest summer since records began.

As reported, Redcar’s two lifeboats launched 45 times during June, July and August - nearly twice the 24 launches of the same period last year, and putting the station joint second busiest in the north.

The figures mean it was Redcar Lifeboat Station’s busiest three month period since the town got its own lifeboat back in 1802.
 Dave Cammish, Redcar RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: “It’s been a hectic summer period for the volunteer crew members at Redcar and I can’t praise them enough for their commitment."July was particularly busy for us.

"There were countless times where the crew had to leave their families to enjoy the sunny weather and rush off to help people who got into difficulties on or in the sea.

"Over one weekend alone we launched five times, dealing with everything from people cut off by the tide to children being blown out to sea in a toy inflatable.”

The station’s deputy launching authority Dave Cocks, said good weather - and the number of people flocking to Redcar seafront to see new attractions like the Redcar Beacon - meant more call-outs for the lifeboat crews.

He said: “We’ve never had a busier period since we got lifeboats at Redcar. We had a lot more incidents generally because of the good weather and the beach was often packed with people coming to Redcar.

“Tragically, we had two fatalities - a man who fell off cliffs in June and a diver who died in July - and we had a collision between two fishing boats.

“We also had more of the other, more routine incidents - jetskis, inflatables and, of course, lots of people getting cut off by the tide at Huntcliff.
"We had 10 of those in August alone.”

Mr Cocks urged people to check tide times before walking beneath Huntcliff and give themselves at least three hours before high tide.

He also encouraged people to support the RNLI, saying: “These launches and rescues don’t come free. Each lifeboat launch has a cost and as a charity, we are always looking for support.”

RNLI crews in the north of England carried out 598 rescue launches – 28.9% up on last year, with only 2003 (632 launches) and 2009 (634) busier.

RNLI lifeguards also experienced a busy season in the north, dealing with 1,408 incidents compared to 1,143 last summer – a 23.2% increase.

Article from Gazette Live

Friday, 20 September 2013

Flood-hit Redcar residents demand action at public meeting

Up to 150 people attended a public meeting with officials running the gauntlet of residents sick of facing another mopping-up operation

Public meeting on Redcar flooding at Coatham Road Social Club
Public meeting on Redcar flooding at Coatham Road Social Club

Ian Cooper
People whose homes were hit by the floods of September 6 demanded action at a forthright and sometimes stormy public meeting.
Redcar Lib Dem MP Ian Swales arranged yesterday’s Coatham Road Social Club meeting in response to the floods which left many people counting the cost of water entering their homes - and some still waiting to return to them.
Up to 150 people attended, with Northumbrian Water and Redcar and Cleveland Council officials running the gauntlet of residents sick of facing another mopping-up operation. As reported, tanks installed after previous floods failed to cope with the latest deluge.

Northumbrian Water said its initial investigation will be completed by the end of October and everyone affected by the floods will be informed of the findings. But many residents were sceptical, having suffered floods - and heard promises of remedial action - before.

One of the most heartfelt pleas for action came from Hazel Lillystone of St Joseph’s Court, Redcar - one of the worst affected streets.

She said that after floods in 2009, her partner had proposed that a large pipe be installed to take water to the sea - one of many possible solutions mentioned at yesterday’s meeting.

Saying St Joseph’s Court was in a well-known flood area, she said: “Why did the council allow houses to be built there, knowing about the problems? People cannot get on with their lives - they are going to have nervous breakdowns.”

In a meeting lasting more than two hours, topics raised included the failure of flood alleviation schemes, insurance problems, the flooding of Dormanstown industrial units, difficulties reporting problems on the night and whether ancient culverts and the water level at Coatham Nature Reserve were at least partly responsible for the system’s failure to cope with the downpour.

Redcar and Cleveland Council’s director of regeneration services, Gerry Brough, said the council was about to launch its Local Plan consultation process and urged residents to make their views about the floods known during that period.

And the council’s leader, Councillor George Dunning, said the best chance of a solution was to get all parties “round the table”.

But Mr Swales wondered if the current water system could cope at all, given that floods seem to keep occurring.

He said: “The natural flow of water through this town is not being allowed to happen - the whole system seems to be cracking.”

To applause, he added: “Just how much development can the current system cope with? Every time you put new houses up, are you just causing another problem?”

Article from Gazette Live

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Redcar woman who gave birth to baby boy on front seat of taxi shocked to receive £40 valeting bill

Jenny Larkin and Tim Galloway were shocked when driver Steven Morrell presented them with a cleaning bill after baby was born in taxi.
Katie Lunn
A woman who gave birth to her baby boy on the front seat of a taxi was shocked to receive a £40 valeting bill from the cab driver two days later.

Mum-of-three Jenny Larkin, 22, from Redcar, went into labour with son Finley at 2.30am last Friday.
After an hour and a half coping with the pains at home, partner Tim Galloway, 29, called JP Taxis to take them to James Cook’s maternity unit in Middlesbrough just after 4am.

Jenny said: “Tim told them it was for maternity and when he came he had some plastic sheeting on the front seat and said it was fine for me to sit there.
“We got on the A174 and I said the baby was coming. By the time we were pulling up at the hospital, the baby was already coming out.

“Five midwives rushed out to see what the situation was and there my baby boy was, hanging down and in a bit of shock. I had to deliver him there. That’s when he said to my partner, “I want the cleaning bill.”

Finley was born weighing a healthy 7lb 15oz and taken into the hospital, where medics kept an eye on his temperature after he was born outside in the cold.

Both Jenny and Finley were discharged later the same day.

But Jenny said both she and Tim were shocked when driver Steven Morrell turned up at their home and presented them with a cleaning bill for £40 on Monday.
Jenny, who also has two girls Elise, five and Ruby, two, said: “I was absolutely mortified.

“He knew he was going to maternity before he even set off and had put plastic sheets on the front seat.

“We are on benefits and £40 is a lot of money. We had paid £16 already for the fare.
“Tim said to him, “how do you expect us to pay that sort of money?” and he said “pay us when you’ve got it.”

The taxi driver, who is responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of his own cab as part of his self-employed contract with JP Taxis, said such events are “one of the hazards of the job”.
He added: “Unfortunately someone’s got to pay for it. I don’t think I’m being nasty asking for the valeting cost back.

“I couldn’t work on Friday or Saturday because the interior was still wet so I lost two days’ takings.”
Craig Walker, who owns JP Taxis, has asked Jenny to get in contact with him about what happened.
He added: “Steven has obviously had to take the car off the road after that. He’s had to pay to get it cleaned and he’s lost takings.”

He added the driver had the right to pass on his bill to the family in accordance with a council by law.

Article from Gazette Live

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Redcar benefit cheat, 61, jailed after keeping cleaning jobs

Peter Reginald Macdonald kept secret two cleaning jobs while claiming four kinds of benefits, and took a total of £40,963 from the public purse

Teesside law courts, magistrates court
Teesside law courts, magistrates court
A 61-year-old benefit fraudster who falsely claimed almost £20,000 in incapacity benefits for vertigo has been jailed.

Peter Reginald Macdonald was locked up for fleecing the state out of more than £40,000 in a four-year period.

He kept secret two cleaning jobs while claiming four kinds of benefits, and took a total of £40,963 from the public purse.

He did not tell the authorities that both he and his wife were working for the same company, Teesside Crown Court heard yesterday.

His largest claim was the £18,477 incapacity benefit for vertigo since September 2007, said prosecutor Martin Towers.

He carried on working during the initial eight-week claim, and handouts continued to be paid.

He was overpaid £16,812 in housing benefit and council tax benefit between 2007 and 2012, £2,911 in income support since July 2010 and £2,761 in jobseeker's allowance during 2007.
In the middle of it all, he ended up in Teesside Magistrates' Court for another benefit fraud.

He was fined for claiming income support and housing benefit without declaring that his wife was working.

This did not deter him, and he continued swindling the state as before.
Macdonald, of Kildare Grove, Redcar, admitted one charge of failing to notify the authorities of a change in circumstances and four of making false representations to obtain benefits.
Andrew Foster, defending, said: "The overpayment has not been used at all to fund any type of lavish lifestyle.

"The overpayments have been used to settle debts, costs and other expenses incurred due to the loss of family members.
Mr Foster said prison would mean the loss of Macdonald and his wife's jobs, loss of support for his wife who was in poor health, and little chance of the money being repaid.

He added Macdonald knew the seriousness of what he'd done and had already paid back £1,600 to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Macdonald had been part of a management team and came to court with references from employers and fellow employees.

Judge Howard Crowson told Macdonald: "Your applications were dishonest from the outset. You were at all times working.

"I'm invited to the view that this is somehow some unhappy situation forced upon you by debt.

"But it seems to me perfectly clear you chose to make dishonest applications.

"This is the sort of offending that is so rife in this country at the moment.

"People seem to contemplate that they can continue these offences safe in the knowledge that they will hardly be detected.

"You chose to spend this money for your own benefit. In this way the country lost £40,000.

"I take the view that it's necessary to send a consistent message about these offences."
He jailed Macdonald for 10 months.

Article from the Gazette Live

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Northumbria in Bloom: Teesside keeps up proud tradition with several awards

Village of Moorsholm received several awards while there was also success for Stockton , Thornaby, Eston, Saltburn and Redcar

Teesside today kept up its proud tradition of success in the annual Northumbria in Bloom scheme by picking up several awards.

The winners were announced this morning in a ceremony at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.
And perhaps the pick of the crop was the small village of Moorsholm, which not only won one of the major awards (best village), it bagged a hat-trick of special awards: most attractive front garden (Hazel Tree Farmhouse), outstanding voluntary contribution by a private individual (Barry McCabe) and best kept grounds of a religious establishment (St Mary’s Church).
Other major award winners were Stockton (best city), Thornaby (best small city), Eston (best urban community) and Saltburn (best coastal resort).

There was also Teesside success in the list of special awards: best voluntary project, Saltburn Library; best kept bus, metro or railway station, Saltburn; best park, Ropner Park, Stockton; best college, university grounds or sports centre, Redcar Racecourse.

The best overall entry - and best small town - was Sedgefield.

Article from Gazette Live

Tributes paid to former Redcar and Cleveland Mayor Vilma Collins

Vilma Collins, who died on Sunday after a long illness, was Redcar and Cleveland Mayor in 2001-02 and one of Mo Mowlam's closest friends

Former Redcar and Cleveland mayor Vilma Collins died at the weekend after a long illness. Her good friend Mo Mowlam, left, died in 2005
Former Redcar and Cleveland mayor Vilma Collins died at the weekend after a long illness. Her good friend Mo Mowlam, left, died in 2005
Tributes have been paid after the death of a former Teesside mayor who was one of Mo Mowlam’s closest friends.

Vilma Collins, who died on Sunday after a long illness, was Redcar and Cleveland Mayor in 2001-02, following in the footsteps of her late husband Terry, who was mayor in 1980-81.

A local Labour Party stalwart, she lived in Dormanstown and represented Kirkleatham ward on Redcar and Cleveland Council for many years.
And when Mo Mowlam was elected Redcar MP in 1987, they forged a close friendship that endured until Mo’s death in 2005.

Mrs Collins was the former Northern Ireland Secretary’s political agent on her re-election in 1992.
Mrs Collins’ impressive local political career saw her spend 11 years on the former Cleveland County
Council before becoming a district councillor in 1996. A former chairman of the Teesside International Airport Board she continued to serve the Local Authority Airports National Committee as chairman.

She retired from local politics due to ongoing health problems in 2009.
Leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council and of the authority’s Labour group, Councillor George Dunning, said “very close friend and political ally” Mrs Collins would be sadly missed.

He said: “I will remember Vilma for her tremendous support as deputy leader of the council’s Labour group in our dark political years from 2003-2007, when we were in opposition. Without her support, life would have been very difficult for me as group leader. She was simply inspirational.”

Gazette Live

Monday, 16 September 2013

Stockton and Redcar teacher sickness rise claim sparks anger

The Department for Education says teachers' sickness levels tripled in Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland

Tony Gavin, headteacher at Laurence Jackson School in Guisborough
Tony Gavin, headteacher at Laurence Jackson School in Guisborough
Figures released from the Department for Education have revealed the Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland boroughs have the fastest rise in teacher sickness in the country.
Since 2010 the number of sick days teachers have taken has tripled in both Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland.

But the two authorities have dismissed the figures as “inaccurate” and not reflecting their own statistics.
Stockton Council and Redcar and Cleveland Council were in the top 12 local authorities where the average number of days sick teachers take off are the fastest rising in England, according to the DfE.
In 2010 the average number of sick days taken was three in Redcar and Cleveland and 3.3 in Stockton. The following year these figures rose to 6.6 in Redcar and Cleveland and 8.7 in Stockton.
In 2012 they had risen to 9.5 in Redcar and Cleveland and 9.8 in Stockton.
Joan Guy, cabinet member for children’s services and education at Redcar and Cleveland Council, said: “We work closely to support our schools and teachers.

“In doing so we closely monitor the sickness absence levels of teachers and we believe there are a number of inaccuracies in these figures.”

Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton Council’s cabinet member for children and young people, said: “We work with schools and trade unions to closely monitor and explore the reasons for sickness absence.

“This means we can then offer appropriate advice and support to schools and teaching staff to prevent sickness and help them improve their overall health and well-being.
“These figures do not reflect our own sickness absence statistics. In fact our figures show a much-improved sickness level.”

Tony Gavin, headteacher of Laurence Jackson School in Guisborough, said that apart from one member of staff having an operation he has had no one off sick this term so far.

He added that LJS is part of the Tees Valley Health Service’s Better Health at Work scheme.
“All schools now have absence monitoring and sickness review with a very positive welfare approach to it,” he added.
“We use occupational health and we have a staff forum. Feedback from the forum has been extremely positive.
“Our staff absence has diminished over the last three or four years.”

Article from Gazette Live