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SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR NORTHERN NSW

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for much of northern and north western New South Wales. Storms are currently whipping up damaging winds, heavy rain and large hailstones. Armidale, Tamworth, Moree, Inverell, Walgett, and Scone are among the towns in the storm path. 107-kilometre per hour winds were detected at Coonamble Airport at 2.30pm. For more information; http://www.bom.gov.au/products/IDN21033.shtml

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HUNTER VALLEY MAN ORGANISED LOUNGE ROOM FULL OF GIFTS FOR DV VICTIMS

The living room of a Hunter Valley home was more like Santa’s warehouse today, thanks to a community toy drive. Six weeks of work and numerous donations created a stockpile of around 800 gifts. They’ll go to families facing a difficult Christmas due to domestic violence. Organiser Todd Sheldon witnessed domestic violence growing up, and decided to help the Friends with Dignity support group. Two van-loads of toys were collected. (no audio)

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NEWCASTLE MAN CHARGED WITH DRUG AND TRAFFIC OFFENCES

A man has been charged with drug and traffic offences in Newcastle after police noticed two men riding motorbikes without registration plates last night. The two drivers were travelling at high speed along Lambton Road at Broadmeadow just after 1am on Wednesday morning, but police lost sight of the pair due to the speed they were travelling. Police say after continuing to patrol the area, they detected one motorcyclist on Lambton Road turning into Chilcott Street. He was found standing next to his motorcycle on Pride Avenue. Police allege he threw the bike to the ground and attempted to flee. He was arrested and searched with police allegedly finding $17,000 cash, along with the drugs cannabis and ice in a bum bag. The 27-year-old underwent mandatory blood and urine testing. He was charged with a number of offences including reckless …

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‘FOOD AND FRIENDSHIP’ VOLUNTEERS BUSY FILLING HAMPERS

A Lake Macquarie community outreach group is going the extra mile to make sure people who are doing it tough this Christmas don’t go without. Volunteers at Food and Friendship, a low cost supermarket run by the Warners Bay Baptist Church, were busy filling close to 200 hampers for some of their regulars on Tuesday, the rest headed to other support agencies. Organisers say they’ve noticed increased need from middle income families due to employment and mortgage stress. (AUDIO IN PARTS)

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KNIFE WIELDING MAN CHARGED OVER MORPETH HOLD UP

An East Maitland man has been charged with attempted armed robbery after allegedly trying to hold up the Spar supermarket in Morpeth last night. Police say a 19-year-old entered the store at 7pm wielding a knife and threatening a staff member and an off duty employee. But was not his lucky day, one man behind the counter punched the offender in the face and tried to knock the knife out of his hands. The other man grabbed him in a head lock until until police arrived. The teen was given bail to appear in court again in February.

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