HOMES TARGETED: Police were becoming increasingly concerned after a spate of incidents in the district where brazen thieves have crept into unlocked homes and helped themselves to valuables, with the problem so bad that police advised people to lock their doors even when they were in the house. People living in Hexham, Stocksfield, Riding Mill and Wylam had all fallen victim in recent months, with everything from cars, mobile phones, laptops and cash being taken.

ENTOURAGE FOR TORCH: It was reported the Olympic Torch Relay would be accompanied by a cavalcade of almost 150 vehicles when it came through Tynedale that summer.


FARMER FINED: A Tynedale farmer who let his nine-year-old son and his young friend drive a tractor was fined £1,000 by Tynedale magistrates. He pleaded guilty to the charge when he appeared at the Hexham court and was also ordered to pay a contribution of £133 towards prosecution costs.

CUTS HIT SCHOOLS: Allendale's Deneholme outdoor study centre and the boarding wing of Hexham's Hackwood Park School looked set to close as part of Northumberland County Council's latest round of budget cuts, it was reported. The proposed closures, and other prospective cuts intended to reduce the council's annual education budget by between £4.4 million and £5.3 million, were agreed on at a meeting of the council education committee.


U-TURN FORCED: The power of the press was demonstrated when criticism by the Hexham Courant forced the Department of the Environment to do a U-turn. The department agreed to allow a public inquiry into its purchase of land at West Rattenraw, Haydon Bridge - though it had earlier insisted that its original secret inquiry had been perfectly legitimate.

NO CHANGE: Allendale parish councillors voted in favour of their village continuing to be called Allendale Town on maps despite it not being a town any longer.

GREEN LIGHT FOR ROADWORKS: County councillors gave the thumbs-up to a £300,000 improvement scheme proposed for the B6318 Greenhead-Gilsland road.

GIFT FOR CENTRE: Corbridge's Dilston Hall centre was given £500 worth of camping equipment by Haydon Bridge Technical School pupils.


GOLD-RUSH FORECAST: Newbrough carpenter Martin Watson claimed to have discovered vast reserves of uranium, gold and oil at Settlingstones.

LUNCH PLEA: Allendale parish councillors called for the provision of a proper kitchen, capable of dishing up hot meals, at the village school as pupils there were having to make do with sandwiches for lunch.

DOG DIES: A collie believed to be the Allen Valley's oldest sheepdog died at the age of 18. This hardy creature belonged to sheep farmer John Henderson, of Burn Tongues, Allendale.


FINE FOR FLASHER: A drunken former solider from Horsley was fined £10 by Hexham magistrates for indecently exposing himself to female passengers on a train journey between Corbridge and Riding Mill.

PRODIGIOUS PIG: A Cumberland white sow belonging to Jason Nancarrow, of Bardon Mill, produced what was believed to be a local record litter of 19. This whopping litter was the pig's third, its predecessors having run to consignments of 14 and 17 piglets.

SNOW HITS DISTRICT: Hexham, Allendale and other parts of Tynedale were hit by severe snowstorms. Hexham's streets were reported to be difficult to negotiate as they were covered by snow lying over 6ins deep.


UNDER THE HAMMER: A two-roomed cottage at Heddon-on-the-Wall was sold for £155 at an auction at the village's Three Tuns Inn.

HAGGIS FEAST: A Burns' Night supper held at Blanchland's Lord Crewe Arms Hotel attracted a turn-out of 22.