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An open letter to the @dailymail taken from StocktonTeesside.co.uk

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Dear trainee journalist,

I have read your article about the tree in Stockton High Street with interest and bewilderment at what now passes as news in your, lets face it, dying industry. I have never held your newspaper in particularly high regard because, well quite frankly your writers make things up and rarely report anything that makes the world a better, more cohesive place. On this occasion, you have declared yourselves experts in the field of Christmas trees. I’m not entirely sure how you are able to position yourself in this way, but there again – you are generally excellent at playing judge, executioner and champion of negative news reporting – so why should we be surprised. I’m just sorry you failed to see ANYTHING else while you were in town!

Personally I am not a big fan of this Christmas structure either, I LIKE real trees – so I am delighted to walk to the Christmas Market – around 400 meters from where you took your photograph and see the dozens of trees, festive cabins full of local independent traders, illuminated churchyard oh, and just along from there, another massive tree overlooking our illuminated riverside. Could it be that your photographer and reporter are only able to look at things from one angle? SURELY NOT! For your information, the works going on around the end of the high street where you kindly visited and decided to focus on meant that the positioning of a tree or lighting a pointless and cost-ineffective waste. Your regular readership would love such strategic ‘efficiency’ surely. I believe the structure you call a tree is part of a much bigger lighting scheme for next year. Sadly that, I presume is the year you will be concentrating on slating someone else’s efforts within our recession torn country.

So, next time you come to my town Daily Mail… I would personally like to meet you. I would like to tell you of our heritage; of our regeneration and of our vision. I would love you to meet some of the 2000 participants of last week’s community event; or the massive numbers of small, specialist shops who are bucking the trend and successfully setting up shop in the high street; I could take you for a coffee in one of a number of cafes and tea rooms; perhaps you could enjoy a gig, a comedy night, or theatre show in our thriving arts centre. We could pop to the world class watersports centre or visit Durham University Queens Campus And then, once you have visited, I will wait – and enjoy your complete lack of coverage and silent ignorance of a community that is real, dynamic and regenerating.

I look forward to meeting you.

Best Wishes

A Man You Don’t Meet Everyday.

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Dangerous prisoner fails to return after attending family funeral

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Police are appealing for help in tracing a Hollesley Bay prisoner who has absconded.

34-year-old Aaron Johnson was reported missing to police at 11.15pm  last night, Friday 17 August,.

Johnson had been granted a special purpose temporary licence to attend a funeral yesterday but failed to return to the prison as arranged. He was last seen in West London.

Johnson is serving a 9 year sentence for robbery, wounding and assault.

He is described as black, 6 feet tall, of medium build, and had a beard. He was wearing a black jacket,  blue jeans, white t-shirt and trainers.

Members of the public are advised not to approach him.

Anyone who believes they may have seen Aaron Johnson or who has any information regarding his whereabouts, is asked to contact Suffolk Police on 101 quoting CAD 480 of 17 August.

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Scott Findlay subjected young mother to harrowing sex attack & punched her while she cradled 6-week-old baby

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A MAN who raped a young mother and repeatedly punched her as she cradled a six-week-old baby in her arms has been jailed.

Scott Findlay subjected his victim to a “prolonged and harrowing” attack in front of her two young children.

Today, at York Crown Court, Judge Simon Hickey sent the 27-year-old, from Ferryhill, in County Durham, to prison for 15 years for offences including rape, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and threats to kill.

The court heard that the victim pleaded with Findlay, who was armed with a kitchen knife, for her children to be prevented from seeing the attack.

Speaking after sentencing, Detective Constable Katrina Meisuria, of Durham Constabulary’s Safeguarding Unit, praised the victim for her courage in giving evidence.

She said: “Scott Findlay subjected his victim to a prolonged, harrowing and violent attack in front of her two young children.

“It took great bravery by the victim to provide evidence at court reliving those events again.

“There is no doubt these crimes have had a life-changing effect on the victim and her children, but the conviction will provide the family with the opportunity to move forward”.

In a statement released through the police, the victim said: “This has been an extremely difficult time for me and my family.

“The incidents occurred only six weeks after the birth of my daughter who was in my arms as Scott Finlay repeatedly punched me about the head and my seven-year-old looked on in terror begging for him to stop hurting his mammy.

“No child should ever have to witness such an attack”.

She added: “My family and I are pleased with the outcome and relieved it is finally over and we can move forward to rebuilding our life”.

After a four-day trial at Durham Crown Court in May, a jury found Findlay guilty of three counts of rape, one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and one count of making threats to kill.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving while disqualified and criminal damage.

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Man attacked staff with a traffic cone at petrol station

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Police are appealing for information after a man was assaulted with a traffic cone at a petrol station in Newcastle.

At around 12.05pm on Monday afternoon police received a report that a staff member at the Shell garage on the Great North Road in Gosforth had been assaulted with a traffic cone.

The male offender had filled up a motorcycle with fuel but was challenged by staff when it appeared that he would not pay for the fuel.

He became aggressive and then assaulted the staff member with a traffic cone before fleeing the scene on foot in the direction of The Three Mile Inn.

The victim of the assault was later taken to hospital with a suspected broken nose and cheekbone. It is also believed the motorcycle the offender left at the garage was stolen.

Enquiries into the incident are ongoing and police are now appealing for help from the public to identify the offender.

He is described as wearing all black with a white motorcycle helmet that had the visor down.

Officers also want to speak to any witnesses to the incident as there were a number of people on the garage forecourt who police have still not spoken to.

They are also keen to speak to any motorists who may have dash-cam footage showing the motorcycle in question.

Anyone who knows the man, or witnessed the incident on Monday, is encouraged to contact police on 101 quoting log 423 13/08/18 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

You can also email the OIC on [email protected] or report online at www.northumbria.police.uk/contact.

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