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In tonight's headlines: Guardians of children or vigilantes?
We meet the paedophile hunters who claim they've caught dozens
of would-be sex offenders while staying on the
A West Cumbrian council pledges to shake off the title of fattest
Our political editor heads to a record shop of all places
to explain why our region is a key Election battle ground.
The plaques to recognise the contributions of
I retired 11 years ago and never expected anything like this.
I never expected to be remembered, really.
In sport, Middlesbrough have begun planning for life
And will the Eagles be celebrating trophy number 25
after their Play-Off final showdown at the 02?
They call themselves "paedophile hunters."
Their mission: to snare child abusers and have them jailed.
But it's getting results and it's going to continue.
Because last month in a landmark case at Newcastle Crown Court,
a judge ruled this type of evidence is acceptable to gain a conviction.
That's delighted two of the country's leading paedophile
hunter organisations who are based in the north-east.
For this exclusive report, Andrew Hartley's been to meet
Don't start turning on the tears with me...
Because if there was a real child to meet you here tonight,
Darren Heywood from Stockton had thought he was meeting
For 16 days he had been grooming her and another girl
He had really been talking to this man.
What we are doing is making a difference.
Joe Jones is a full-time activist with Guardians of the North.
Joe claims his crew of undercover volunteers has caught more than 80
would-be sex offenders in the year since the group was set up.
We have got people serving prison sentences.
Carly, not her real name, is also a member.
We have agreed to hide her identity because of fears for her safety.
Today she has agreed to show me how they operate on Facebook.
Within minutes, Carly has five adults chatting on line.
Oh, they are nice clothes that you've got on.
Children will think that this person is just being nice and friendly.
This one that's talking at the minute, he is putting,
Obviouslly, I have told him the area I am from.
Another chat gets much more sinister.
To say it was graphic, was a bit of an understatement.
Some people say what you are doing is entrapment.
It's not because we give them every opportunity
Are you, as some people allege, vigilantes?
No, because a vigilante takes the law into their own hands.
Whereas we gather the evidence and everything we gather
That evidence includes videos like these.
We have been sitting here waiting for you since five o'clcok.
Once cornered, the police are called.
The would-be paedophile arrested and evidence
Many of those caught by Guardians of the North end up here,
Newcastle Crown Court and are jailed.
You would think the police would appreciate their work.
The body that represents the country's top police officers
says the activities of groups such as Guardians of the North can put
And in a statement, Northumbria Police urged members
of the public not to take the law into their own hands.
What would you say to the claim that your activity is actually
hindering the police investigation, that you actually do not know
If we knew that was the case, we would not carry
We would tell the police what was going on.
We inevitably know if there's an investigation going on or not.
Meanwhile, at Durham Crown Court, it is time for Darren
There too is Joe who is hoping Haywood will go to prison.
Heywood admits a charge of inciting a child to sexual activity
We are glad this man is off the streets.
Child abuse has dominated the headlines in recent years
and many now believe there is a need for urgent action.
Guardians of the North say it's simply acting on that demand.
We saw Guardians of the North in action there -
but they're not the only group of so-called paedophile hunters
The other group - perhaps the better known -
And it was the evidence of Dark Justice that was the centre
of the landmark ruling you mentioned in the introduction to my report.
Defence lawyers at Newcastle Crown Court argued that cases against two
men "caught" by the group should be dropped due to the way the evidence
Had he decided that I am going to rule against Dark Justice than
similar cases around the country would have collapsed. Instead, what
has happened is that Dark Justice, Guardians of the North and other
like-minded groups are free to continue their activities. Guardians
of the North tell me tonight that in the last fortnight alone, no less
than four people have gone to jail as a direct result of the evidence
that they have brought. So, like their methods or not, be simple fact
is they are getting results. Andrew, thank you very much.
Police have named a man found dead in Newcastle.
Officers were called to Joan Street in Benwell early
yesterday after reports of concern for the welfare of two men.
The man who died was 21-year-old Paul Brettwood.
A 29-year-old man who was arrested has since been released.
A man has died after a crash between a taxi and a bus in Gateshead.
It happened on the Redheugh Bridge last night.
A 36-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver of the second vehicle, a 53-year-old man, was taken
His condition is serious but not life-threatening.
The Mayor of Copeland, the West Cumbrian district once
dubbed 'the fattest in England,' says the council is doing
In 2014, more than three quarters of those who lived
Although that figure has dropped, the borough has signed up
to a county wide programme to improve fitness and well being.
Whitehaven, the main town in Copeland, enjoys
But in 2014, it's idyllic facade hid an embarassing secret.
Too many people here were overweight or obese.
For mayor of copeland Mike Starkie, tackling poor
We are getting out into the primary schools and talking about healthy
eating. I think just by highlighting the issue and making people aware of
some of the things that caused the issue and some of the things that
can possibly solve it, will go a long way to improving matters.
It's easy to eat on the move here, convenience is everywhere.
These people think that plays a part in poor diet.
People my age have all the time in the world but the young ones do not
have the time. There are a lot of restaurants in Whitehaven. We did
not have taken with. Fish and chips was all we could get.
it's not about intervening in the market, but encouraging
You cannot play God. You cannot make choices for people and the reality
is the types of foods that are sold in these fast food outlets, you can
go into the supermarkets and by those foods much cheaper out of the
freezer. It is about education. It believes it can encourage
a leaner, fitter future. Some good news now for a young
Northumberland woman bedridden with a potentially fatal condition
who we've featured on Look North. 27-year-old Melanie
Hartshorn has EDS - a rare degenerative syndrome -
which means that if she moves She's been desperately trying
to raise the ?80,000 needed to pay for life
saving treatment. Well, in the last few hours, she's
managed to achieve her target - just in time to have urgent surgery
booked by her specialist An investigation's underway
after Whitby's swing A gate was crushed as
the bridge swung open to let harbour traffic
through last night. It's likely to be closed to road
traffic until Saturday Well, if you fancied
standing in the General Nominations closed at four
o'clock this afternoon And Cumbria and the north-east
will be one of the biggest battle grounds this time -
more tightly contested than it Here's our Political Editor Richard
Moss with a run-down Amazingly back in fashion,
after being written A bit indeed like the Conservatives
in the region after But it seems the Tories seem to be
staging a revival. Seats are in play that have not been contested since
these records were first flying off the shelves 20 or 30 years ago. It
is time for a countdown of our top ten contest. Sedgefield.
Blair's lair of course and Labour since the 30s.
Last election's tightest fight, now looks a long shot for Labour.
Mellow Yellow Lib Dem for decades but got the blues in 2015.
And they may yet linger a little longer.
But the Conservatives could pogo into pole position this time.
The 78 was the format of the future when Labour last
A Tory win here and it looks like a landslide.
We have reached the top five. At five, Darlington.
They hang monkeys, but they? At four, it is Hartlepool.
The mouthful that is Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland.
Now though Ukip are gunning for Labour's.
Don't count out the Conservatives though.
And it is Copland. Next voters might wonder why it they are back at the
ballot box. Find out whether the Conservative revival matches the
vinyl on June the 8th. How about a comeback for shaking Stevens? No?
Suit yourself. Richard "Fluff Freeman"
Moss is with me now. You ran through your top
ten, but are there more That Conservative revival does mean
there are some seats you would not have thought we'd been in play a
couple of years ago. Outside that top ten there is Tynemouth. A Labour
majority there of 8240. Stockton norms. That GE 's mayoral event last
week a week up. Seats like North West Durham which has a majority of
10000 and Newcastle law to back north. The Conservatives might have
a sneaking chance because Ukip votes might slip down but also they think
Theresa May is quite popular. There are some not standing, are at there?
We have had nominations coming through. Ukip have decided to stand
aside in Tynemouth, Berwick, Liverpool south and Bishop Auckland,
to pave the way for Tories who are up against Labour in those seats.
The Green Party are also standing down in five seats now. They are not
standing candidates in Bishop Auckland, Workington, Carlisle and
also in Hartlepool. They want to help remain supporting Labour MPs
hang on when those seats back. There is no progressive alliance between
Labour and the Liberal Democrats. They will stand in all seats in two
against each other. Thank you. Interesting times.
It has been home to some of the world's best musicians. From Bowery
to with this. But now at Middlesbrough's town hall is being
transformed. All this will become this. New buyers, coffee shops and
restaurants. Improvements it is claimed will make this the jewel in
Middlesbrough's town. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It
is the biggest music venue in the area. It has nearly 130 years of
history of gigs. Fantastic comedy shows, live music, classical music,
going all the way back to the 1890s. The building's past hidden from
public view will also be restored, including the old court room and the
police station, along with its cells. Complete with the original
graffiti scrawled on the doors. A lot of it has been hidden away.
People have seen it on behind the scenes tours in the past. Now we're
going to open it up coolly for the public to appreciate the heritage of
Middlesbrough town hall. It is hoped the transformed town hall will
reopen next April. If it's good enough for Hollyrood,
It's good enough for Four more plaques honouring "local
heroes" from Tyneside have been unveiled in a burgeoning 'Walk
of Fame' along the Tyne riversides. And today most of the latest
nominations for hero status were on hand to see their names
revealed in bronze. Gerry Jackson is
on the Quayside now. So where do we look
for the plaques, Gerry? Just as in Hollyrood, the on the
ground. A lot of these plaques are down on buildings. As of today,
there are 33 of these plaques spread between both sides of the river
between the swing Bridge and the millennium edge. Robson Green is an
established Hall of Fame member. Let's find out who the new ones are.
Time was you lived, you died and if you had been especially
memorable they might put up a plaque to remind people who
Now here, if you fit the bill, they will create a plaque, as they
For the last four years, Gateshead and Newcastle have
set these bronze plaques into pavements around
Today the actor Tim Healey, broadcaster Mike Neville, former
AC/DC front man Brian Johnson, and historian John Grundy were the
I am very lucky because this is just my hobby.
If you find a hobby that you get paid for and you never have to go to
Across the river, practically under the Tyne Bridge, one symbol of the
I never expected anything like this. I never expected to be remembered,
really. Even I started calling myself... To get an award like this.
It is a wonderful thing to happen. Just yards on, Brian Johnson
couldn't make it today but his family dead. We are really proud and
dad is really proud and thrilled. We are really happy we could come and
be here today on his path. Thank you. I bet he has told you some
stories about growing up around here. Yes, none I could repeat. Back
to the Newcastle side and a fitting end to our circuit with the man who
knows every inch of it. You have commentated on the architecture
around here and now you're literally part of it. This area and
this place is the heart of the city and the city is right in my heart as
well. It is a place of historic significance and tremendous beauty.
I really do feel so lucky to be a permanent part of it now. Now, you
might think this is the great and the good backslapping. Not
necessarily so, because all of these people were nominated by us. If you
go to the website on your screen now you can see the whole of the Hall of
Fame on the walk of Fame and you can find out later this year who you
might be able to nominate for 2018. Right be second time. Well done.
Time for sport and news from Sunderland.
The Sunderland manager David Moyes has requested a personal
hearing after responding to a Football Association charge
over his post-match "slap" comment to a female BBC
The Scot, who's 54, had been given an extra week
He'll now attend a hearing at which he can explain his remarks.
Middlesbrough, like Sunderland, have already been relegated
from the Premier League with matches to spare.
The club's been taking stock of a hugely disappointing season
with big lessons to learn after an all too brief return
We have to be more creative and we have to take more risks and create
more chances and score more goals. Understanding your playing at the
level of opposition that are better defenders from the wiki came from.
Yes, we must be better and we must continue as a club to think we have
one aim next season and that is to move back very, very quickly to the
leak that we have just put in all season.
Work on a new three-thousand seat arena for the Newcastle Eagles
basketball team will start this summer.
The ?6 million stadium is expected to open in the west
of the city at the start of the 2018-19 season,
But first, there's the small matter of this Sunday's BBL Play-Off final
against league winners Leicester Riders at
A Newcastle win would mean two trophies apiece
It's British basketball's showpiece occasion.
A trophy last won by the Eagles in their clean-sweep season of 2015.
A record crowd of more than fifteen thousand is expected
to watch the showdown between the country's top two.
Newcastle struggled to get past Worcester to book
their place in the final Leicester have lost just
I would like to say we're underdogs because we do well as underdogs.
Leicester are on a roll. Let's go in under the radar. That is the best
way. I do not care what he thinks or says at this point. I do not know or
care what anybody thinks. We are in the final and that is all that
matters. It is a one off game and anything can happen. It is going to
be tough and physical. I do not know about points being scored but you do
not know what will happen in a final, especially these two teams.
This afternoon, Rahmon Fletcher was named the league's most valuable
player for a second season running - and his presence will be vital
if the Eagles are to add to the single trophy they've
Victory would give the Eagles their 25th trophy in the last 13 seasons
It's the 27th domestic final for these serial cup winners
And more than one third of those have been against
Newcastle have won one more of those finals than Leicester.
Probably - just don't ask Fab Flournoy.
Live coverage on the BBC sport website.
In cricket finally, a thumping win for Yorkshire in the 50 overs
One Day Cup last night with an unbeaten 152
In reply to the 297 all out, they are struggling at 16. It broke the
box window, nearly hurting our colleague. He lives to live another
day. You will dine out on that. It has been perfect Cricket weather
today. It has been a gorgeous day but nothing lasts for ever. We have
been saying all week the weather is set to change. Let's enjoy the
weather while we can. Today's weather pictures. A beautiful shot
across the lake district. A lot of hazy sunshine there. Temperature
wise, quite a spread. Parts of the north-east hung onto Cloud and an
easterly breeze. Just made it into double figures. Carlisle hit 20
Celsius. As we head into tomorrow, it is all set to change. More cloud
on the whole. Some rain for some of us. It does state mild because it is
humid and unsettled weather coming up from the south. That is the start
of the unsettled weather today. The showers on the radar chart earlier
today further south, while we stayed fine in the north. That is what is
heading our way tomorrow. It stays fine and dry this evening. Cloud
will spill in to some areas. Largely dry. Milder night than the last few.
Temperature is no colder than seven Celsius. A breeze. Tomorrow, on the
whole, a lot more cloud around than recently. Not overcast and if few
bright spells at first. Outbreaks of rain spreading out from the
south-west. It will not rain everywhere all the time but catch
some of those showers and there could be the odd rumble of thunder
as well. Quite a wide range of temperatures. That north easterly
breeze. The 11 Celsius through the afternoon. Whitehaven, sheltered
from the north easterly breeze. 20 Celsius. As it turns south easterly
further south, we will start to see things turning market across the
north Yorkshire coast and mist might spread northwards. That is the way
it is looking for tomorrow. Low pressure area and that system
bringing as range. It hangs around for a time on Saturday and another
front comes through on Saturday night. Leaves behind Sunny spells
and scattered showers for Sunday and more wet and windy weather spreads
in from the west on Monday. It will not rain everywhere but most of us
will see rain at times. The gardeners will welcome that.
Saturday sees some showery outbreaks at times. Temperatures into the high
teens with a brisk, south-westerly wind for the first part of the
weekends. Sunday, the showers fewer between. Highs of 16 or 17 Celsius.
Come Monday, the cloud with thicken up and more persistent outbreaks of
rain eventually spreading in from the west and use other late wind.
Holding the temperature is up in the mid-teens. That is how it is looking
in the next few days. Paul and I will be back with the late news but
let's enjoy some of the sunshine until then. Goodbye.