This week’s top ten stories from Sunderland

TOP TEN: Clockwise from top left - Tony Clarke; Jozy Altidore; Sunniside car park; and Ian Coates
TOP TEN: Clockwise from top left - Tony Clarke; Jozy Altidore; Sunniside car park; and Ian Coates
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A SCOOTER-RIDING ‘grave robber’ and a drug dealer who talks like The Terminator are among our most popular stories this week:

1) Police investigation launched into Sunderland funeral director Tony Clarke

Funeral director Tony Clarke came under heavy criticism from Sunderland’s coroner last week after he was found to have wrongly claimed a family could not view their loved one’s body because of an infection.

This week Northumbria Police revealed they were launching an investigation into claims of fraud and theft.

2) Jailed drugs boss tells police: ‘I’ll be back’

Crack-cocaine dealer Ian Coates mouthed the words of Arnold Schwarzeneggerin The Terminator to detectives just before he was jailed for seven years.

3) N’Diaye to start Sunderland clear out

As Gus Poyet’s men battle to avoid the drop, one thing that is certain is that there will be some players heading for the door this summer.

This week our sports writers reported that Alfred N’Diaye looks like he’ll be the first, with Spanish side Real Betis expected to make a firm bid next month.

4) Police hunt scooter-riding ‘grave robber’ after saw attack on Sunderland dad’s memorial

A death in the family is hard enough without having to cope with the horror of having someone steal from your loved one’s memorial.

Echo readers have been helping spread the message as police hunt for a suspect who was said to be riding a mobility scooter, carrying a saw and wearing a high-viz jacket and Sunderland scarf.

5) Judge jails ‘jungle law’ father and son over bloody vigilante attack

However well-intentioned, taking the law into your own hands is likely to land you in as much hot water as those you feel are in the wrong.

This was very much the case when Kevin Tiernan and his sons Craig and Daniel left Kevin Quarmby bleeding in the street in a feud over a break-in.

6) Big doubts now over Altidore’s Sunderland future

It’s safe to say Jozy Altidore has not been the most popular player with Sunderland fans since he arrived at the Stadium of Light.

Further doubts were heaped on his chances of remaining in Gus Poyet’s squad as the American striker was restricted to an Under-21s match while his team mates went off to take on Tottenham.

7) Two injured and one arrested as out-of-control car smashes into tree

This worrying incident was a reminder of how serious car accidents can be. Thankfully no one was killed in the accident – sadly this is not always the case.

8) Newcastle United eye up Sunderland’s Colback

Sunderland are hoping to tie down their home-grown talent in the form of Jack Colback, as the midfielder is out of contract this summer.

As fans’ concerns mount over keeping the 24-year-old, it came as even greater worry that arch rivals Newcastle are interested in snaffling him.

9) Poyet: O’Shea deserved reasons for axe

After leaving his captain on the bench for the disastrous match against Tottenham, Poyet admitted he had offered John O’Shea a personal explanation for the decision – not something he normally did for players.

10) Free parking only saw fewer people shopping Sunderland

A “Free after Three” parking scheme launched before Christmas was one of many ideas to get more people shopping in Sunderland city centre.

Sadly figures have now come to light showing footfall fell rather than increased while the scheme was running, with out story sparking a huge amount of debate about how people could be encourage to spend their money in Sunderland.