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10 of Northumbria’s most elusive burglar suspects arrested

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Credit: Northumbria Police

Northumbria has become a safer place thanks to a three-day strike blitz that led to some of the area’s top burglar suspects arrested.

A dedicated taskforce executed coordinated warrants across Sunderland and South Tyneside last week to track down the burglary targets.

Officers drew up a shortlist of their most wanted burglary suspects who were each believed to be attempting to stay under the radar and were evading arrest.

But their hopes of remaining off-grid were dashed as officers from the neighbourhood support team (NST) carried out dawn strikes at over a dozen homes – including in Sunderland city centre, Ryhope, Downhill, Houghton and South Shields.

A total of 10 suspects were arrested during the raids between Wednesday and Friday last week.

Eight men and one woman were detained after being wanted in connection with ongoing burglary investigations, while a further male was arrested on suspicion of robbery and breaching a restraining order.

A significant drug farm was also located and dismantled as part of the warrants (Credit: Northumbria Police)

A significant drug farm was also located and dismantled as part of the warrants.

Detective Inspector Lee Underwood, who oversaw the strikes, said: “This was a fantastic result after a huge amount of planning and hard work. To get hold of 10 of our top targets all within a 72-hour period was a top outcome and I’d like to thank everyone involved.

“Burglary is such an intrusive crime and it is not only the victims and their families who can be affected. Crimes like this also has a corrosive impact on the wider community who can be made to feel anxious in their own home.

“That’s why we have a dedicated burglary team based at Southwick Police Station tasked with reviewing every single break-in across Sunderland and South Tyneside, as well as pursuing perpetrators and reviewing crime trends across the region.

“These raids were the result of their fantastic work, as well as our NST officers who executed the warrants – acting swiftly and decisively to track down the suspects and seize vital intelligence at the addresses searched.

“We will continue to do everything we can to detect and disrupt criminal activity in our area, and ensure those individuals who do look to prey on others are rightly brought to justice.”

While executing one of the warrants in Sunderland city centre, officers also came across a significant cannabis farm with more than 100 plants at various stages of growth.

The drugs were seized and the farm dismantled – with enquiries ongoing into the discovery.

Of those arrested, four men are due to appear in court – one charged with attempted burglary, a second charged with robbery and breach of a restraining order, a third charged with criminal damage and a fourth in connection with breach of an order.

Four men were released on police bail and another man remains under investigation. One woman arrested has been eliminated from police enquiries.

Det Insp Underwood added: “This operation was not a one-off, and we have various activity lined up over the coming weeks to ensure the North East remains as safe as it possibly can be.

“I would like to thank the public for their continued support and would always encourage anybody who has been a victim of crime, or who is concerned about suspected criminality in their community, to contact us.”

Anyone who sees anything suspicious or wants to report a crime is asked to do so by contacting police via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of their website or by calling 101.

In an emergency, or if a crime is taking place, always ring 999.

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Man denies 1992 murder of Sunderland schoolgirl Nikki Allan

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A man accused of the murder of a schoolgirl who was stabbed to death 30 years ago has denied the charge.

Seven-year-old Nikki Allan vanished on Wednesday, October 7, 1992 after leaving her grandparents’ flat in Wear Garth, Sunderland.

The next morning, Nikki’s school shoes were found a few hundred yards away outside of the Old Exchange building. Her body was discovered lying in a pool of blood inside the derelict building by a neighbour who was helping the police with their search for the missing youngster. She had been stabbed 37 times.

David Boyd, of Chesterton Court, Norton, Stockton-on-Tees, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on the morning of Monday, June 20, where he faced a charge of murder.

The 54-year-old appeared via video link where he pleaded not guilty to the offence during the short, 25-minute hearing.

A trial had originally been listed to start on January 11 next year but the court heard it may now be put back until April 19. Any trial could last up to six weeks.

Boyd was remanded in custody in the meantime.

Judge Paul Sloan QC informed the court that a further pre-trial hearing will now take place on Monday, November 7.

The judge told Boyd: “I am adjourning your case to trial. The precise trial date will be confirmed, hopefully in the next few days.

“There will be at least one further pre-trial hearing before the trial date.

“In due course you will be required to provide a defence statement, setting out in detail your defence to the charge you face.”

Nikki’s mother Sharon Henderson sat in the public gallery for the hearing. She burst into tears when the charge was read out, was consoled by supporters and the court usher gave her a tissue.

After Boyd was charged, Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable David Felton said: “This is an extremely tragic case and our thoughts very much continue to be with the family and friends of Nikki Allan.

“A significant investigation has been ongoing ever since Nikki’s death 30 years ago.

“As with any unsolved cases of this nature, they are never closed. Our dedicated teams constantly review the evidence and follow any new investigative leads that may come to light.”

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Northumberland man accused of murdering his terminally ill wife faces trial in Cyprus

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North East Updates

Sky News reports that David Hunter, a 75-year-old man originally from Northumberland, will appear in a Cypriot court on Thursday accused of murdering his terminally ill wife last December.

 

Mr Hunter allegedly suffocated Janice, his wife of 56 years, before attempting to end his own life by taking an overdose. The former miner faces a life sentence if found guilty, after his request for the alternative charge of “assisted suicide” was rejected.

 

Lesley Cawthorne, the couple’s daughter, told Sky News of how her father is “haunted” by memories of her mother “screaming in pain” during her battle with terminal blood cancer, and is asking the Cypriot judges to show compassion.

 

“My mum made her wishes clear and my dad helped her.

 

“She just wanted it to end. She didn’t want to fight. She didn’t want treatment.

 

“She didn’t want a long, protracted death. She’d had enough and she just wanted to go.”

 

The trial will be heard by three judges on Thursday and Friday with further hearings expected over the coming weeks, and will be the first euthanasia case heard in Cyprus.

 

Follow our page for updates.

 

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Met Office hints at a North East heatwave with temperatures set to soar this week

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Newcastle Gateshead Sunny

Temperatures in the North East are set to reach up to 24°C by Friday, with temperatures gradually increasing throughout the week.

So, after a gloomy start to June, it looks like summer is finally about to kick in across England this week. Meteorologists are hinting at a possible turning point with a mini-heatwave on its way, hailing increasing Mercury levels.

Stephen Dixon, Met Office Spokesperson, said that “temperatures in the southeast could reach around 33°C on Friday, with temperatures in the northeast likely to be in the mid-to-high 20s for many”.

Some isolated spots in the northeast could even enjoy temperatures up to 29°C for some time on Friday.

“Although areas further south will see the highest temperatures, figures in the northeast of England will still be very warm for the time of year when they peak on Friday”, Dixon added.

These unprecedented temperatures are a result of a persistent area of high pressure over much of the UK and warm air from the continent nudging temperatures up well beyond their average for this time of the year.

However, those wanting to enjoy the sun are advised to make the most out of this week. A cold front is moving in from the north from Saturday, bringing with it uncertainty and a risk of showers. This will see the temperatures drop back to around 18°C.

How will you be making the most of the heatwave this weekend? Let us know!

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