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  1. Armed police are at the scene of an “ongoing” incident in a Northumberland village . Emergency services were called to Astley Road in Seaton Delaval on Friday evening. A shocked eyewitness described seeing armed officers surrounding a flat on the street. He said: “I’m not sure what’s happening, armed police are on scene and an ambulance. “There is a man in an upstairs flat and they have the flat surrounded. He was talking to police out of the window.” A Northumbria Police spokesman said officers are at the scene of an “ongoing” incident as of 8.30pm.
  2. Sixth formers at Astley Community High School, Seaton Delaval, celebrated success with a 100% pass rate in their A-Level and BTEC exams.
  3. A sculpture celebrating Northumberland’s mining heritage has been vandalised for the second time in three months. Artist Tom Newstead carved a statue of a miner and a young boy from a tree stump, and placed it in Astley Park, Seaton Delaval. But its creator was left horrified to find the head of the man had been completely removed and was found smashed in the village. It was the second time the sculpture of the man had been beheaded, after thieves targeted it in May. Mr Newstead, 71, said if the damage was caused by vandals then they had “hurt everybody in the community”. “It’s just really unbelievable this would happen again and I’ve no idea why they would do it,” he said.
  4. A litter of puppies have been getting their paws wet in their training to become fully-fledged police dogs - by taking a dip in a hydrotherapy pool. The four 13-week-old pups only joined the force last week but their training to become part of Northumbria Police's Dog Section is well underway. Officers hope the Cocker Spaniels will go on to be specialist search dogs who can sniff out drugs, money, weapons and even explosives. But for now they are just trying to keep their heads above water - as Hartley, Herbert, Henry and Hunter took a dip in a local hydrotherapy pool. The puppies dived in to the purpose-built pool at 'Woofs n Scruffs' in Washington after being invited for a session by owner David Potts. He had spotted a post on the Force's Facebook page about the new arrivals and so invited them along as a thank you to all the hard work of the Dog Section. Police have said that the workout in the pool will help build their strength as well as helping the K9's get used to water. Sergeant Julie Neve, of the Force's Dog Section, said these type of sessions were vital to help the young pups grow into a successful police dog. She said: "This was a great day for the puppies and will really help with their development this early in their training. "A lot of what they do now is just about getting them used to different environments as you never know what they will come across in their careers. "Water can be quite intimidating to some dogs and so to be able to use this pool allows us to ease them in to a setting that is still a bit alien to them at the minute. "Once they get going it will also help build up their strength due to the resistance that they'll face in the pool itself. "It was very kind of David to invite us in and it really is a great facility for dogs of all ages. Herbert and Hartley certainly enjoyed themselves!" David, who runs the business alongside co-owner Mark Brown, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to have the puppies come along and try out the pool. “We love reading about Northumbria’s Dog Section and all the amazing work they do to keep us safe. “Being able to give them a free session down here at Woofs n Scruffs is the very least we can do to give them that little something back. “Hopefully the puppies’ time here can give them the start they need to become fully licenced police dogs in the not too distant future!” Woofs n Scruffs have two centres - one in Washington and one in Seaham - that both contain a hydrotherapy pool and deliver a dog grooming service, dog training and doggy day care. You can find out more about what they do and what services are available by searching on their website here: http://www.woofsnscruffs.com/ To follow the progress of the police pups then follow them on Twitter at @npdogsection or on Facebook at Northumbria Police.
  5. A teacher enjoying his honeymoon in Bali has spoken of “panic” after the holiday island was rocked by an earthquake. Reports indicate at least 142 people have died and hundreds more injured following the quake on Bali and Lombok on Sunday. The scale of the devastation was felt strongest on Lombok with thousands of buildings badly damaged or collapsed, and large parts of the island left without communications and electricity. More than 120 aftershocks were recorded after the quake, which was initially measured at a magnitude of seven but was later revised to 6.9. Greg Larmouth and wife Jade, from Seaton Delaval, were enjoying a meal out on Jalan Hanoman in town Ubud when the ground began to shake beneath their feet. Describing the events that followed, Greg, 28, said: “At first I wasn’t sure what was actually happening, and it felt like someone was jumping on an uneven floor. Then Jade said it was an earthquake.
  6. The key to a 40-year mystery has turned up at a 14th century castle. The ancient key to the historic banqueting hall at Lumley Castle Hotel in Chester-le-Street has been missing since the 1970s. Now it has arrived in the post with a letter from a man called John, who confessed to taking it after one too many drinks. “Back in the 1970s, to my shame, I arrived home with the enclosed key after an intoxicating evening at Lumley Castle,” he says in the letter. “The key, to the best of my memory, fits the outside door in the banqueting hall. “It has been on my bookcase for around 40 years, I have moved house four times since that time and now reside back in the south of England.
  7. A car enthusiast who turned his hobby of buying and selling vehicles into a business pocketed £70,000 in benefits he wasn’t entitled to. Shaun O’Neill was in receipt of Income Support, later Employment Support Allowance, Council Tax and Housing Benefit for more than six years while also making money from buying cars at auction, doing them up and selling them on. A court was told the 49-year-old was turning over around 22 vehicles a year while also claiming off the state between 2010 and 2016. However, his deceit was finally uncovered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and he was subsequently charged with three counts of benefit fraud. O’Neill, who is now registered blind and walks on crutches, pleaded guilty to the offences but avoided a stint behind bars when he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on Monday. Mark Giuliani, prosecuting, said O’Neill’s initial application for Income Support in June 2010 was lawful as he was unemployed at the time,
  8. The annual Whitley Bay Film Festival always adds a blast of colour and sound to summer and this year it is going one better by broadening its tastes - literally. This year's treat - which runs from August 17 until September 1 at a range of venues across North Tyneside - is set to appeal to all our senses and that includes taste and smell. An exciting addition to the summer menu - which has just been announced - is an 'eat-a-long' and 'smell-a-vision'. On August 22, there's a double offering on the programme. First, there's a smell-a-vision screening at St Mary's Lighthouse of 1992 film Like Water For Chocolate and this is served up with a smell and senses workshop. Then the 2000 film Chocolat, the quirky chocolate-infused romance starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, will be an eat-along screening with food from chef Sam Storey, also at the lighthouse.
  9. Mischief and merriment is making a return to Seaton Delaval Hall as the Northumberland attraction throws a soiree, in keeping with its former party days, which offers a rare opportunity for an evening visit. The former home of the so-called Gay Delavals - the 18th Century aristocratic family famous for its colourful lifestyle and notorious parties - is inviting visitors to a night of Carnival Capers which will include music, performance, theatre, general mischief-making and parades throughout the grounds. The family-friendly event will take place at 5pm on July 28: the last in a day-long series of Carnival Capers which are otherwise sold-out. Available tickets for this final slot are free but must be booked. The event offers an opportunity for visitors to take along a picnic - and even dress to impress - while joining in the fun and frivolity of an outdoor performance. Produced in partnership with Northumberland County Council and renowned performance company Walk the Plank, it is being held as part of Great Northumberland: the county-wide celebration that is is running until September 1.
  10. This is the horrific moment three cars travelling at “ridiculous” speeds on the A1 collide with a lorry and each other - and it was all caught on their own dash cams. Boyfriend and girlfriend Tyrone Doran and Amy Ferguson were doing more than 100mph on their way home when stranger Farid Ferdosian decided to chase them down in his Mini Cooper. A court heard witnesses formed the view they were racing on the A1 Western Bypass but a judge sentenced them on the basis they were not. As Ferguson sped along the dual carriageway, a lorry indicated and began pulling out into the outside lane and because of her speed she could do nothing to avoid crashing into it. Ferdosian’s Mini then also crashed into the HGV while Doran’s VW Bora hit the Mini, flipped over twice, knocked over a lamppost and came to rest on the embankment. Despite leaving a scene of carnage, miraculously they all escaped with only minor injuries.
  11. Thousands of food, music and comedy fans are set to head to the Northumberland coast for this weekend's North East Chilli Festival. The festival in Meggies Burn Fields, South Beach, Blyth , opens at 5pm on Friday, July 13 and runs until 6pm on Sunday. It is the festival's seventh year, although it has now moved from Seaton Delaval Hall to South Beach. Highights include a chilli eating competition, food and drink stalls, music and caberet. The World Cup final will be shown on a giant screen on Sunday afternoon. “The festival keeps evolving and we want it to have as broad an appeal as possible,” said organiser Mark Deakin. “Our producers will still be demonstrating some amazing uses of chilli, but there’s also food to try from every corner of the planet. There are a great selection of drinks to enjoy and we’re really excited about our line-up of performers.”
  12. The main focus of attention may have been on Newcastle and Gateshead with the launch of Great Exhibition of the North but now Northumberland is out to grab its well-deserved share of the spotlight. On July 7, the county of stunning countryside and coastlines, culture and castles launches its own 56-day programme of free summer-infused events. Great Northumberland , which will run until September, is to focus on its own assets in a celebration of arts, culture and heritage across the county which will also complement the Great Exhibition by offering visitors from outside the region even more to explore. With the double celebration now stoking the party mood, how lucky are we in the North? As Coun Cath Homer, cabinet member for culture, arts, tourism and leisure, says the North "is a diverse, exciting and beautiful place" and: "Northumberland truly is a great place to be this summer.” So, sit back, relax and enjoy our a taster of what there is to look forward to.
  13. Flames soar higher than nearby houses during a large fire in Seaton Delaval. Footage filmed by residents shows smoke and flames billowing into the skies after mounds of scrapped cars were engulfed in the fire. Spectators poured into the streets nearby as fire crews from West Hartford, Pegswood and Tyne and Wear tackled the blaze into the night. In the video above, it shows a pillar of black smoke billowing into the sky just yards behind homes. One eye witness said there had been a series of explosions at the site after the fire broke out. At 7am on Monday, there was still one fire engine at the scene with firefighters continuing to use a pump to douse the fire.
  14. A group of students are aiming to score national success after making the Rugby Football League Champion Schools National Final as the Astley Community High School’s Year 10 girls have once again made the final following their performance at the national festival in May.
  15. Fire crews were called out to tackle a blaze at a scrapyard in Double Row, Seaton Delaval, at 11pm last night.