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

Teesside pervert who posed as Justin Bieber to trick underage girls jailed for 14 years

THREATENED TO KILL: Robert Hunter tricked hundreds of underage girls into exposing themselves over the internet                                         Robert Hunter tricked hundreds of underage girls into exposing themselves over the internet
A PEDOPHILE who groomed hundreds of girls from around the world on the internet was today jailed for 14 years.

Robert Hunter was told by a judge that the case was the most serious he had ever heard and should act as a warning to parents.

Hunter admitted 15 charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and 14 of making indecent photos of children.

Teesside Crown Court heard how he pretended to be a 14-year-old boy to persuade girls to expose themselves on a webcam.

On occasions, he also convinced his victims - some as young as 11 - that he was the teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber.

Hunter, of Brough Court, Middlesbrough, used social networking sites and an online music site to target the schoolgirls.

Prosecutor Richard Bennett told the court that girls across Europe, Asia, the US, Canada, the UK and Australia were targeted.

One 11-year-old victim was threatened that her parents would be told what she has been doing if she did not comply with his requests.

He threatened to kill the brother of one girl if she refused his demands, Mr Bennett told Judge Peter Bowers.
More than 800 films and stills taken from the online chats were discovered on Hunter's computer and on disc.
None of the sickening images the balding beast had amassed had been downloaded from the internet, Mr Bennett said.

His barrister, Tamara Pawson, told the court that he knows he has a problem and wants to receive treatment.
Judge Peter Bowers accused Hunter of "gross exploitation" and told him: "I don't know what damage you've done."

He added: "The deceits you used were elaborate, persistent and clever at times.
"It represents callous - almost sadistic - exploitation of young girls. Their feelings were manipulated and their naivety and vulnerability undermined and used by you for your own benefit and personal gratification.
"This is one of the most serious cases of internet abuse the courts have dealt with in this area.
"It is certainly a salutary warning to all parents of teenage children and what is capable of being done on the internet and how it can be abused."

Miss Pawson said: "He knows what he did was wrong and knows that he needs punishment."

Article from the Northern Echo

Redcar baseball bat robbers jailed for attack on lone shopkeeper

A pair of dangerous robbers have been jailed after attacking a Redcar shopkeeper with a baseball bat
Anthony Gent, left, and Adam Leonard
Anthony Gent, left, and Adam Leonard
 Two "dangerous" robbers who battered a lone shopkeeper with a baseball bat have been locked up for a total of more than 12 years.
Anthony Gent and Adam Leonard demanded cash but then set about the victim with the bat, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The vulnerable shopkeeper was attacked at night while alone in his general store in Sandringham Road, Redcar.
He suffered serious facial injuries and was left lying on the floor while his hooded attackers made off with the till.

Police received reports of smashing noises coming from an alleyway and youths running off. Officers found the smashed-up till and coins left behind.

Gent and Leonard, plus a teenager who had acted as lookout during the robbery, were found at a nearby address. When searched in custody, Gent was found to have money hidden in his buttocks, the court heard.

Yesterday Gent, Leonard and the 17-year-old, who can’t be named, appeared at Teesside Crown Court to be sentenced for the June 2 robbery, which was admitted.

Only the day before, on June 1, Gent had been involved in another robbery in which a Redcar supermarket was raided for cigarettes and alcohol. Gent asked for this second robbery to be taken into consideration.

The court heard the victim of the baseball bat attack suffered a fractured cheekbone and had been left in extreme pain. The shop premises was also their home and he and his wife had been left feeling nervous and apprehensive.

The court heard that Gent and Leonard’s previous convictions both included robbery.
Barristers for both men said they accepted they faced substantial sentences. Nigel Soppitt, for Gent, said events were hazy as he had taken drink and drugs but he had pleaded guilty and shown remorse.
Richard Bennett, for Leonard, said he had been candid and wanted it to be known that he had wielded the bat.

Mr Bennett said Leonard is in a state of shock after his friend, Lucas Bishop, was very recently killed.
Gent, 21, of Scott Street, Redcar, was jailed for six years and four months in jail while Leonard, 22, of Bradhope Road, Middlesbrough, received a six-year jail term. The 17-year-old, from Redcar, had his existing referral order extended.

The Recorder of Middlesbrough, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC described Gent and Leonard as “very dangerous young men” who had thought nothing of their “luckless” victim and carried out the offence for their own selfish needs.

After the case, Detective Sergeant Paul Husband said: “They have been given a lengthy custodial sentence which reflects the serious nature of the robbery, which saw an innocent, lone shopkeeper exposed to a traumatic ordeal, sustaining serious facial injuries as a result of their actions.”

Article from Gazette Live

Friday, 13 September 2013

Flood ravaged Teesside residents welcome Government aid move

Teessiders devastated by the region’s flash floods have welcomed urgent official moves to apply for emergency Government cash aid

Teessiders hit hard by the region’s devastating floods today welcomed official moves to apply for emergency Government cash aid.

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland MP Tom Blenkinsop and Redcar and Cleveland Council leader George Dunning are writing to Local Government Minister Eric Pickles to urgently demand the immediate release of emergency cash help for the council and local communities affected by last week’s disastrous flooding. One of the worst hit areas was St Joseph’s Court, Redcar, where residents could be out of their homes for months.

Married mum of one, Leanne Moscrop, 33, who lives in the street, said: “I welcome this move. Residents here need all the help they can get.

“We’re forming a committee to try and help take this forward. We need urgent action from all agencies to prevent this ever happening again.”
Kirkleatham Owl Centre, near Redcar, lost five birds which drowned in the floods.

Spokesman Craig Wesson said: “This is a very positive idea. We have at least a couple of thousand pounds’ damage to aviaries and fencing and sheds.”
Mr Blenkinsop said: “The council’s preparing a formal request for help under the Bellwin scheme. This covers many areas, including removal of fallen trees dangerous to the public and repairs to highways, pavements and footpaths and cost of evacuating people from homes and temporary rehousing.

“If this cash is released it could be possible to supplement it with help for individuals and families who have suffered directly via the council’s own hardship welfare fund.”
Cllr Dunning said: “Lots of people have suffered from these floods. We’ll respond to people’s requests to clean and make safe affected communities, but can’t do this on our own.”

Meanwhile, a vital Teesside women’s refuge has suffered tens of thousands of pounds damage in the destructive torrential storm which has devastated the region. But the Redcar area’s Foundation UK refuge for women and children fleeing abuse want people to know they are still fully operating despite suffering extensive damage to a quarter of their large, modern premises and its contents.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Five foot shark washed up on Redcar beach

Five foot shark washed up on Redcar beach

Picture of the shark on Redcar beach. Picture by Gerard Hind.
Picture of the shark on Redcar beach. Picture by Gerard Hind.
A five foot shark has washed up on Redcar beach.
The dead shark was discovered on the beach this morning, as mentioned on our live news blog.

A spokeswoman for Redcar and Cleveland Council say a specialist team at the scene to move the animal and dispose of it.

The shark is believed to be a porbeagle - a common species of mackerel shark found all around the UK in deep waters.

The summer heatwave is said to have attracted more sharks to UK waters and many porbeagles have been spotted off the North-east coast over the last few months.
Porbeagle sharks are a member of the Great White family and although they are capable of doing so, they are not known to attack humans.

They generally prefer cooler water and it is thought they head north to cool off when temperatures rise in the British summer.

Article from Gazette Live

Friday, 6 September 2013

Redcar Summer Sound festival a huge success

The five-hour inaugural Redcar Summer Sound festival at Redcar Racecourse has been hailed a huge success
Abba Sensation were one of the hits of Redcar's Summer Sound festival
Abba Sensation were one of the hits of Redcar's Summer Sound festival
Organisers of a music festival say they are already planning for even bigger events after an encouraging debut rocked Redcar Racecourse.

More than 4,000 people attended the inaugural Redcar Summer Sound festival at the town’s racecourse on Saturday.

And despite a few teething problems, the five-hour festival has been hailed a huge success - with hopefully bigger and better to come.

Delighted Jason Bushby, MD of Future Festivals UK, said: “The event had been planned for several years but due to other commitments and event dates it took us a while to bring it to reality.

“Redcar has needed something like this for a long time and the racecourse is an ideal venue that can enable us to do it. We hope over the years, this will become something to put Redcar on the festival map.”

Jason, of Redcar, has been involved with many major festivals over the years, including Global Gathering and Creamfields, but helping organising one on home turf has given him a real buzz.

He said: “We didn’t just book any cover band, we got the best tribute acts. We had a few teething problems which you expect with a new project. The bars found it difficult to cope with the initial rush when the gates opened, which led to a few frustrated people, but once the bars settled, everyone got into the party mood and enjoyed a fantastic night’s entertainment.”

Hosted by Real Radio’s Gary Philipson, the night featured the Beatles Tribute Band, Abba Sensation, JK as Robbie Williams, Kings ov Leon and Oasis UK, as well as a selection of stalls, street entertainers, a white knuckle fairground ride and a fireworks display.

Mark Taylor, manager of Kings ov Leon, said: “This was definitely one of our best gigs - the crowd was amazing.”

Caroline Smith, marketing manager at Redcar Racecourse, was encouraged by how the night went.
She said: “Everyone would love a music festival in Redcar and this is what people have been waiting for for a long time.

“Any problems we had this year will be resolved. If we can improve for next year’s event, it’s going to be really special.”

Artcile from the Gazette Live

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Butterwick Hospice require Transporter Bridge bungee jumpers

CHARITY bungee jumpers are invited to dress in Halloween outfits to jump off Middlesbrough's Transporter Bridge in aid of the Butterwick Hospice Care on Sunday, October 27. The entry fee is £15 but jumpers are requested to raise a further minimum £85 sponsorship. To register call Steve Robson on 01642-628930 or email

From the Nothern Echo

Redcar Area Foodbank in need of help after demand for services soar in first seven months

Redcar foodbank has fed more than 1,000 people since opening and has helped more people in past two months than in the first five combined

When someone walks from Lingdale to Redcar and back to pick up a food parcel, Ruth Fox knows the service she heads is proving more crucial than ever.

As voluntary manager of the Redcar Area Foodbank, Ruth has seen demand for its services soar in its first seven months.

But when someone’s willing to walk 10 miles or so from Lingdale to get food, it’s a stark illustration of the plight some people are in.
It has helped make Ruth determined not only to further establish the Redcar service, but spread it to other areas.

And after a successful funding bid to Awards For All, a new distribution centre will be opening in Loftus later this month. There are also plans to move into South Bank and Eston.
But Ruth admits even she was amazed when the Lingdale man turned up on the foodbank’s doorstep at the Westfield Farm community resource centre in Dormanstown. And sadly, his is not the only shocking story.

She said: “The poor guy arrived at Westfield Farm a week last Friday after walking from Lingdale. He was then prepared to walk back, carrying his bags of food. We’ve also had others who have walked from Brotton and Saltburn, just to get a couple of bags of food that will provide meals for a few days, but they feel they have to do it.

“I also heard of a little lad who went to school with a letter from his mum, asking them to make sure he ate his dinner because that would be the only meal he’d be getting that day.”
Guests and speakers at the launch of the Redcar Foodbank
Guests and speakers at the launch of the Redcar Foodbank
Ruth says the main reasons people use the foodbank are changes in benefits or benefit delays.And she says most people they deal with “don’t want to be there - they’re embarrassed to be needing our help, yet they shouldn’t be. But how awful is it in this day and age to have to ask for a basic necessity like food?”

Part of the Trussell Trust network, the Redcar foodbank - currently staffed by about 90 volunteers - gave out its first food parcel on January 30 and has fed more than 1,000 people since then. But alarmingly - and probably at least partially caused by the school summer holidays - it has helped more people in the past two months than it did in the first five combined.

Ruth said: “It’s a sign of the times and very sad that so many people are having to turn to local charities for basic needs such as food.
“Demand is increasing on a weekly basis and our stocks are very low at the moment.”
She is now appealing to the public, offices and organisations to consider holding collections in aid of the Redcar Area Foodbank.

Tinned and dried foods with a long shelf life are best, such as tinned veg, meats and milk puddings, pasta and pasta sauces, long life milk and fruit juices, tea, coffee, biscuits and sweets are all needed, as are more volunteers.

The new Loftus centre will open on Thursday, September 27 at the old Co-op Building. It will initially operate every Thursday from 11am-2pm, but people needing food support must first go through a referral agency.

Meanwhile, a training session for volunteers will be held at East Cleveland Baptist Church, Park Avenue, Redcar on Tuesday at 6.30pm.
For more, email

Article from Gazette Live

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

£2.2m boost to young people in Teesside to get into employment and training

Funding will support schemes to help young people overcome a range of barriers or issues to help them successfully back into education, employment and training
Hundreds of young people are set to benefit from a £2.2m boost for employment and training.
The cash from the European Social Fund (ESF) will help more than 1,000 teenagers aged 14 to 19 in Stockton, Middlesbrough, Redcar, Hartlepool and Darlington who are not in education, employment or training.

Stockton Council led the ESF bid, securing £755,014 of the cash to help 355 young people while Middlesbrough received a £423,233 share, which will help 199 teenagers, and Redcar was awarded £297,752 to help 140 young people.

The funding will support schemes to help young people overcome a range of barriers or issues to help them successfully back into education, employment and training. This will include support such as mentoring, work placements, assistance with literacy or numeracy issues, homelessness or drug misuse, personal and community development projects, mentored work placements within local authorities and in-work/learning mentoring support.

Stockton Councillor Ann McCoy, Cabinet member for children and young people, said: “Many young people have so much to contribute but sometimes need a support to help them overcome a range of personal issues or barriers which prevent them from performing to the best of their ability in a work or training situation.

“The funding will provide a range of schemes that will provide these young people with invaluable help and support to overcome their issues and barriers at a very important time in their lives, giving them the opportunity to secure for themselves meaningful training and employment and a successful future.”

ESF has been supporting schemes in Stockton since 2008, and has already helped more than 750 young people successfully into training and employment.
Synergy VCS Consortium, a partnership of voluntary sector organisations which deliver services on behalf of Stockton Council and other bodies, has already seen the difference these schemes make.Jon Goodwin, from Synergy VCS Consortium, said: “When young people join training organisations they are often vulnerable and unable to move forward into employment and independence.

“Through these projects, young people often find new confidence and go on to achieve successful employment and education - it’s hugely rewarding and great to see them turn their future from one of uncertainty to one that promises success.”

Article from Gazette Live

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Care company opens Redcar learning disability drop-in service

A new learning disability drop-in service has been launched by Caremark at Redcar's Kirkleatham Business Park

Service user Alan Messenger with Caremark's Michelle Tart and Rebecca Scott
Service user Alan Messenger with Caremark's Michelle Tart and Rebecca Scott
A new drop-in service for adults with learning disabilities aims to plug a gap on Teesside.

The service, launched by Caremark (Redcar and Cleveland), aims to offer advice, practical support and information, develop simple life skills, foster and maintain social networks, increase independence and allow people to access new interests or activities and make new friends.
Caremark says it hopes it will help plug a gap caused by the closure of some council-run day centres.

Based at Redcar’s Kirkleatham Business Park, the drop-in centre, which is open seven days a week, includes a computer with free wi-fi access, a Nintendo Wii games console and a pool table that converts into a table tennis and air hockey table. There is comfortable seating, a creative area for crafts, a lounge and dining area and service users will have access to the business park’s on-site gym.

The drop-in service, which has created five new jobs, is available to adults with learning disabilities supported by Guisborough-based Caremark (Redcar and Cleveland), but the company says this could be extended in the future to others who would benefit.

Caremark (Redcar and Cleveland) managing director Charles Folkes said: “Following the closure earlier this year of council-run day centres for people with learning disabilities, we felt there was a need for a new type of service in the area and we are already experiencing lots of demand for our service. With the introduction of personal budgets, people with learning disabilities are taking greater control over their support packages and it is important to offer them services which will help to increase their independence in the community.
“We have had tremendous support in setting up the service and we would particularly like to thank the

Snooker and Pool Association who donated some fantastic cues for our service users through the Paul Hunter Foundation.”

People who want to use the service can do so via their local authority following an assessment, by using a Direct Payment or Personal Budget, or if they are self-funded. For information, call 01287 634706.

Article from the Evening Gazette

Mosaic to honour RAF heroes unveiled in Redcar

A mosaic to honour past and present heroes who protect our skies was unveiled at a special dedication event

Dedication and unveiling of RAF Memorial in Redcar Cemetery
Dedication and unveiling of RAF Memorial in Redcar Cemetery
A mosaic to honour past and present heroes who protect our skies was unveiled at a special dedication event.

Hundreds turned out to see the mosaic uncovered at the service of dedication at Redcar Cemetery.
It was commissioned by Friends of Redcar Cemetery group which wanted to recognise past and present members of the Royal Air Force.

 Camile Nertney, vice chair of the group, said: “We wanted to do this for the men and women who have protected and continue to protect our skies.”

At the ceremony, which was conducted by Rev Rachel Harrison, vicar of St Peters in Redcar, there was a parade by the Air Cadets, Sea Cadets standard bearers and veterans.
There was also a prayer, hymns and a reading before the mosaic, by artist John Todd, was unveiled.

Among those present was Ian Swales MP, Redcar and Cleveland’s Mayor, Councillor Vic Jeffries, Lord Zetland, and the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Anthony Wharton.
Camile said: “It is great to see so many people here.

“The idea first came about about 18 months ago and we raised £3,000 to have this done.
“We feel very proud to see it all come together.”

Article from Gazette Live

Redcar memorial for the late Sir Rex Hunt

Former Governor of the Falkland Islands, Sir Rex Hunt
Former Governor of the Falkland Islands, Sir Rex Hunt
Gareth Copley/PA Wire

One of Redcar’s most famous sons will be remembered at the unveiling of a memorial.
On Friday at 3.30pm, a memorial to the late Sir Rex Hunt – Governor of the Falkland Islands at the time of the Falklands conflict – will be publicly unveiled in a service of dedication in Zetland Park, Redcar.

The memorial has been commissioned from the annual budgets of Zetland ward councillors on Redcar and Cleveland Council, Josh Mason and Ron Harrison.
Sir Rex’s widow, Lady Mavis, will attend the celebration which will include Royal British Legion standard bearers, a service of memorial and dedication by the vicar of St Peter’s Church, the Rev Rachel Harrison, and a tea provided by the ladies of Zetland Park Methodist Church in the church hall.

Cllr Mason said: “Sir Rex Hunt was born on Laburnum Road, in Redcar, and we feel it’s really important that those who have contributed to our rich local history and culture are remembered. We would like to extend an open invitation to come and join us for this dedication, especially to those with links to the Falklands War.”
Councillors Josh Mason and Ron Harrison with the memorial in Zetland Park to Sir Rex Hunt
Councillors Josh Mason and Ron Harrison with the memorial in Zetland Park to Sir Rex Hunt
 The memorial is in the shape of a lectern, complete with governor’s sword hanging by its side. It also features several facts about Sir Rex’s life – and what a life it was.
Born in Redcar in 1926, he was educated at the town’s Sir William Turner School before spells at Oxford University and in the RAF were followed by diplomatic jobs around the world.

But his distinguished career was transformed in 1980 when he became Governor of the Falkland Islands, a role he occupied when Argentine forces invaded two years later.
Sir Rex took the painful decision to surrender but, famously, he refused to shake the hand of invading commander General Oswald Garcia.

The islands were then recaptured by British forces – and Sir Rex’s place in history was assured.
In his retirement years, he lived with Lady Mavis at Elton, near Stockton. He died on Remembrance Sunday last year, aged 86.

His funeral at All Saint’s Church, Hutton Rudby, was attended by military personnel, war veterans and dignitaries

Article from Gazette Live

Cannabis farm worth £160,000 seized by police in Eston

Officers executed a drugs warrant at an address on Tawney Road in Eston earlier today and a cannabis farm with a potential value of around £160,000 was discovered

A cannabis plant
A cannabis plant
A cannabis farm with a potential value of around £160,000 has been discovered by police.
Officers executed a drugs warrant at an address on Tawney Road in Eston earlier today.

A man was arrested on suspicion of production of cannabis and remains in custody.

Detective Sergeant Nigel McCartney, of Redcar and Cleveland Drugs Unit, said: “Members of the public are encouraged to contact us should they have any information regarding drugs activity.

“We will always act upon information passed to us by the local community and we will continue to tackle drug dealers and those that make others lives a misery through drugs across the district.”

Article from Gazette Live.

Unregistered tattoo operation run by girl, 16, is shut down in East Cleveland, Brotton

Believed to be first time legislation has been used to shut down unregistered tattooist in region and council officers warn more orders could follow.

Some of the equipment that was seized by Redcar and Cleveland Council officials in connection with a probe into a 16-year-old girl tattooist Some of the equipment that was seized by Redcar and Cleveland Council officials in connection with a probe into a 16-year-old girl tattooist

A teenage tattooist believed to have been making money from both young people and adults without being registered has been shut down.

The 16-year-old girl admitted operating from a number of domestic properties following an investigation by Redcar and Cleveland Council and Cleveland Police.

Magistrates earlier issued an order allowing council environmental health officers to seize tattooing equipment under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act.

It is believed this is the first time the legislation has been used to shut down an unregistered tattooist in the region and council officers warn more orders could follow.

The teenager complied with the order - which instructed her to hand over the equipment from a house in the Brotton area and remove two social media pages promoting her services - and is unlikely to face prosecution.

Steven Goldswain, Cabinet member for community safety, said: “We are satisfied this individual was giving tattoos to adults and youngsters from as little as £10. She did not have the proper equipment or expertise to do so safely and hygienically, and we had no option other than to shut down the operation.

“We know there are other unregistered tattooists operating in the borough and we hope this serves as a warning to them.”

Council officers were alerted after receiving complaints from the public.

After scrutinising two social media accounts, it became clear the girl was willing to tattoo young people and adults. On one account she advises a 15-year-old boy about getting a tattoo.

After police traced an address, council officers seized four tattoo guns, more than 40 needles and about 50 small pots of ink on Thursday.

The tattooist was traced to a second address where it appeared she had been giving tattoos to people in unhygienic conditions in a kitchen.

It is believed needles were used only once but some packs were out of date. Equipment was being crudely sterilised and there was no proper record keeping.

Article from the Gazette Live.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Night of woe leaves Redcar Bears with mountain to climb

Redcar Bears’ hopes of extending their season were dealt a painful double blow on Saturday
Matej Kus in action for Redcar Bears
Matej Kus in action for Redcar Bears
Redcar Bears’ hopes of extending their season were dealt a painful double blow on Saturday.

The Ecco Finishing Bears’ cup dreams were shattered when they crashed 55-35 in the semi-final at Rye House, so losing 97-83 on aggregate, while Leicester edged ahead of the Teessiders in the battle for the final play-off place in the league through a 50-40 victory over Edinburgh.

“It wasn’t the best night in the Bears’ history,” lamented Bears boss Jitendra Duffill, who must have sensed the omens were not good when Thomas Jorgensen, lined up as a guest in place of Matej Kus, was forced to withdraw with a back injury while riding for his own club-side Scunthorpe in the first part of the double header in Hertfordshire.

Rye House went on to win that league match 50-40, then tore into the Bears with five heat advantages, including three 5-1s, in the opening six heats to lead 26-10 and already have one foot in the final.

“After that we held our own and even clawed a couple of points back before heat 14,” pointed out Duffill.

“They used their experience from the previous match to know exactly how the track was riding from the start, whereas our boys took a race or two to dial into the conditions and get race sharp.
“We were definitely at a disadvantage going on second.”

Between matches Duffill went to great lengths ensuring that he could utilise Ashley Birks, who had top scored with 12 for Scunthorpe, as a new guest for Kus and, despite a protest from Rockets promoter Len Silver, the proposed move was sanctioned.

But Birks suffered a groin strain in his opening race for the Bears and failed to replicate his earlier form, while Ulrich Ostergaard and Carl Wilkinson both struggled with equipment amid a generally below par performance from the visitors.

Micky Dyer, Aaron Summers and Birks all went on to win races but the early deficit was too great to overcome and the rampant Rockets went out with a bang, extending their winning margin further in the closing two races.
“I heard bits and pieces from Leicester throughout the meeting,” added Duffill, “but didn’t know the final result until after we’d finished and that was just the final nail in the coffin of a very disappointing night.”

The Lions are now level in the table with the Bears but have a marginally better race-points difference of eight, with both sides facing one more away match.
The Bears return to Rye House on September 14 and should know exactly what they need to do by then as Leicester conclude their fixtures at Newcastle next Sunday.
Duffill stressed: “It’s not often we want our greatest rivals to do well but we need Newcastle to do what they do to most teams at home and that’s destroy Leicester. But it won’t be any easier for us at Rye House - it could all come down to race points difference, but I hope it doesn’t.”

There is no speedway at South Tees Motorsports Park on Thursday.
ROCKETS: Anders Mellgren 14+1, Tyson Nelson 12+2, Jason Bunyan 12, Olly Allen 8, Ben Morley 5, Kasper Lykke 4, rider replacement for Pontus Aspgren.
BEARS: Micky Dyer 9, Carl Wilkinson 7, Hugh Skidmore 6+1, Aaron Summers 6, Ashley Birks (guest) 5, Ulrich Ostergaard 2+1, Steve Worrall 0.

Article from Gazette live

Captain Sensible from Marske undergoes dramatic charity transformation

He may be called Captain Sensible by his mates but Joe Anderson has undergone a special transformation just for his little sister

He may be called Captain Sensible by his mates but Joe Anderson has undergone a special transformation just for his little sister.

The 20-year-old student has had his very own Joe-hican to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Joe from Marske says he was determined to raise money for the charity after 14-year-old Georgina was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer, which has spread to her lungs.

And Joe’s dramatic makeover has raised more than £2,300 for the Trust.
Joe, who studies at the London School of Economics said: “I think it will take some getting used to but it’s been a really positive day.

“I can’t believe how much has been raised - it’s double my original fundraising target.”
Hairdresser Melanie Wright did the honours during a two-hour session at Betty Blades Hair Flair in Redcar.

Joe, the former headboy at Bydales School said: “I wanted to give the sponsored headshave idea a bit of a twist. People voted which colour my hair should be dyed and pink was the overall winner.”

Friends Frankie Jones and Keri Guymer watched Joe’s transformation.
Frankie a 20-year-old Cleveland College of Art and Design student, said: “Joe is very sensible - he’s Captain Sensible. People are really excited to see him with his crazy hair.”

Georgina a talented musician and Bydales school pupil who was only diagnosed in July is being treated at Newcastle’s RVI, on a specialist ward funded by the Teenage Cancer Trust..
To sponsor Joe log on to

Article from Gazette Live

Councils slated by civil liberties group for selling voters' details

 The names and addresses of people registered to vote in the region have been sold to dozens of corporations and individuals, according to privacy campaigners.

Civil liberties group Big Brother Watch say more than 300 local authorities across the UK made money out of voters' details over five years.

The figures obtained under a Freedom of Information Act by the group detail how many times councils sold their edited electoral registers.

Westminster council in London sold its electoral register 93 times, making it the most prolific seller.

Three other councils - Elmbridge, Kensington and Chelsea and Broadland - sold their edited registers to more than 50 buyers.

In the North-East and North Yorkshire, Newcastle City Council made £1,458 by selling its register 11 times.

Its buyers included the University of Newcastle, the University of West of England, a driving school, the police and two individuals.

Companies including Data Trans Ltd, HD Financial Solutions, Opinion Leader, Newcastle Dog and Cat Shelter and Sanderson Young also bought the edited electoral register.

Newcastle also bought a copy of North Tyneside Council’s edited electoral register.

Harrogate Borough Council sold its edited register more times over the last five years than any other council in the region, making the information available 21 times.

Richmondshire, Redcar & Cleveland and Darlington councils all sold their registers on less than three occasions over five years.

A proportion of all buyers were charities and social enterprises.

Darlington made £70 selling its edited register to a church, a residents’ association and a market. 
Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles said: ''Registering to vote is a basic part of our democracy and should not be a back door for our names and addresses to be sold to anyone and everyone.

''Many people don't realise that the pizza shops and estate agents drowning their doorsteps with junk mail are able to do so because their local council is forced to sell the names of every voter who fails to tick the right box when they register to vote."

It is calling on the Government to abolish the edited register or allow councils to offer people a permanent opt-out instead of the current system that requires people to opt out annually.


    Darlington Borough Council 3 (£70)
    Durham 0
    Gateshead Council 7 (£958.40)
    Hambleton District Council 8 (£212.50)
    Harrogate Borough Council 21 (no cost details)
    Hartlepool Borough Council 5 (£456.50)
    Middlesbrough Council 8 (no cost details)
    Newcastle City Council 11 (1,458.50)
    North Tyneside Council 8 (£824)
    North Yorkshire (not responsible for electoral roll)
    Northumberland (number of sales not provided) (£4,410)
    Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council 1 (£149)
    Richmondshire District Council 1 (£20)
    Scarborough Borough Council 4 (£153)
    South Tyneside (unspecified) (£422)
    Stockton Borough Council 6 (£778.50)
    Sunderland City Council 4 (£781.50)

Article from the Northern Echo