ALMOST a fifth of cigarettes smoked in the North-East last year were illegal, research has shown. Figures from market survey agency MS Intelligence showed 19.5 per cent of cigarettes consumed in the region in 2012 were non-duty paid and came from outside the UK – an increase from 14.9 per cent the previous year.

HOTEL OPENS: The Croft Hotel, in Croft, near Darlington, has re-opened after a seven-figure investment in a makeover. Originally built in 1835, the Grade II-listed hotel has had its function suites refurbished, as well as all 20 bedrooms. For more information, visit