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Metrocentre Shoppers Were Shocked As Knife Fight Broke Out

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Shoppers were left shocked when a fight broke out in the Metrocentre over a knifeman’s girlfriend being insulted.

Harry Hamblett had gone to the shopping centre on a Saturday afternoon armed with a hunting knife when trouble flared. A court heard three men ended up fighting in front of shocked families just before 3pm on May 29 last year.

When police turned up, Hamblett tried to flee but was apprehended and found to be carrying the knife, which had an eight inch blade. Although he didn’t use it in the fight, Judge Tim Gittins, at Newcastle Crown Court, told him: “It doesn’t matter who started it, you seem to have thought it was an appropriate chivalrous response to an insult aimed at your girlfriend that you should challenge those responsible.

“Violence is not the answer. As we have seen on the public stage more recently, it doesn’t help matters and it certainly didn’t help your girlfriend. It was made much worse by the fact you were carrying a knife at the time. It was an unpleasant hunting knife, eight inches long.”

The judge said he accepted Hamblin, 21, had mental health issues and had been attacked previously in a separate incident. But he told him: “The irony is, carrying a knife doesn’t make you any safer, in fact it makes you less safe. It is, regrettably, an all too common feature of young men’s lives and it seems to have become a routine behaviour as a show of bravado that they feel the need to carry knives.

“The result, all too often, is someone is killed or seriously injured. You and others need to appreciate how seriously the courts view the carrying of knives these days.”

Judge Gittins added: “You were carrying it in a public space where there were vulnerable people present, families and children. Because you got yourself into that altercation, whether you intended to use that knife or not, anything could have happened. Fortunately it did not but it could have fallen out of your pocket and been used by someone else or you, becoming overwhelmed, could have decided to use it.”

The court heard the fight came to light on CCTV at the Metrocentre and a female security guard witnessed part of it. Police were called and prevented Hamblett’s attempts to avoid them and he was restrained and taken to the floor. It was at that point they noticed he had the knife. When interviewed, he said he got involved in the fight after one of the other men called his girlfriend a “s**g”.

Hamblett, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to having a bladed article in a public place. He was sentenced to eight months suspended for 12 months with £300 costs.

Glenn Gatland, defending, said Hamblett was in the army for a time. He added: “He has expressed remorse, he is very sorry about it and accepts full responsibility.” Mr Gatland said two weeks before this, he was attacked and it left him “extremely fearful”.

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Seaburn and Roker Beaches Named Best Beaches in the Country in 2022

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Sunderland’s beaches have been named among the best in the country for the 11th year running.

Seaburn and Roker were both named as winners of the Seaside Award by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy. The pair were once again handed Blue Flags, marking them out for their for their excellent water quality, cleanliness and attempts to constantly improve visitor amenities.

The Blue Flag awards, now in their 35th year, are issued by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and act as ‘a quality mark so visitors can be sure the beaches boast top-notch facilities and meet the highest environmental standards’.

Linda Williams, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for Vibrant City, said: “It is fantastic to see Sunderland’s beautiful beaches once again awarded the prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Award.

“Flying these flags at Roker and Seaburn shows everyone who visits that our seafront has excellent quality bathing water and first-class facilities.

“We’re very lucky to have fantastic beaches with beautiful, clean water to swim and bathe in, and this national recognition is testament to the hard work of everyone involved in keeping our beaches clean, tidy and well-maintained.”

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Family’s bid to bring home body of Gateshead lad who drowned while rescuing his dog in Spain

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Paul Lebihan, from Leam Lane, who has been living in Spain, was pulled from a river near Benidorm by ambulance crews on Monday.

A Gateshead family is appealing for help to bring an ‘amazing, selfless’ 25-year-old home, after he drowned in Spain while rescuing his dog from a river.

Paul Lebihan, from Leam Lane, died on Monday after getting into trouble in the Bolulla River, near Benidorm, after successfully freeing the dog from the current. Now his family has launched a fundraising appeal to help bring Paul’s body back home and give him the memorial he deserves.

Paul’s cousin, Kallym Bell, launched a GoFundMe page in support of Paul’s parents, Deborah and Paul Snr. In less than 24 hours the page had already raised over £7,000, with hundreds of people leaving comments paying tribute to ‘one of nicest men you could ever meet’.

Keen amateur boxer Paul was well known by many people across the Leam Lane Estate, and beloved by colleagues from the several years he spent working in the navy. Kallym, 19, called Paul: “An amazing, selfless man with a heart of gold, always the biggest laugh and the very best to be around.”

Donations can be made to help bring Paul home at: https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-remembrance-of-paul-lebihan

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Disabled Teen Denied Wetherspoon’s Entry With Assistance Dog

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A disabled teenager said he felt ‘absolutely humiliated’ after he was refused entry to a Wetherspoons with his assistance dog. 19 year old River Cartledge, who has autism, fibromyalgia and arthritis – takes his assistance dog Chico most places with him.

Video footage below from Instagram shows him pleading with security guards and the manager of The Five Swans in Newcastle to let him inside the pub with his harnessed up Shih Tzu on Saturday night.

River said: “Their issue was the fact he was an assistance dog, and not a guide dog.

“I quoted the Equality Act 2010, and the guide for all businesses, both of which any business that’s open to the public like any Wetherspoons is, have to abide by legally, regardless of any “policy” they may have in place,” he added.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits service providers, including taxis and restaurants, from discriminating against those who need an assistance dog with them. It also requires service providers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled customers.

River claimed he had a ‘severe meltdown and panic attack’ after the interaction. ‘I have never had an experience like this and it caused me to have a medical episode.’

Chico has belonged to River for eight years and was trained as an assistance dog two years ago. River said: “Assistance dog handlers such as myself get denied in public places more often than it’s talked about, and it always makes us feel like this, and like we’re the ones causing problems for ourselves by needing a dog, when in reality it’s the ableism and ignorance of other people, not the disabled person.”

He also added “‘I was straight up told that they only allowed seeing eye dogs and they didn’t allow assistance dogs, because of their “policy”.

According to Guide Dogs UK ‘75% of all assistance dog owners surveyed [in 2015] said they had been refused access to a service at some point because they had an assistance dog with them’. 

Five Swans: sign saying they allow assistance dogs *face palm*

Wetherspoons’ policy states: “We do allow registered assistance dogs.

“In these circumstances, and to avoid any confusion or unnecessary upset, ensure that your dog is wearing its recognisable leash/collar or harness. 

“It would also be helpful if you could bring along suitable documentation to explain your dog’s purpose.”

River said he had ID from Assistance Dogs UK, a certification body, with him but was unable to show it at the time. Chico was however wearing a harness.

Following the complaint to the pub chain, Wetherspoon’s spokesperson Eddie Gershon said: “It was an error not to let them in with the assistance dog.

“It was a genuine error and we apologise wholeheartedly.

“We can understand the fact they would have been upset and frustrated by the situation.

“Assistance dogs are allowed into Wetherspoon pubs and we will reiterate this to staff at the pub and the company’s pubs in general.

“They are more than welcome to visit the pub with the dog.”

Good dog Chico. Check out River and Chico’s adventures here!

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