Northumberland County Council is taking steps to tackle the issue of empty properties in the region.

The council has spent the last five years successfully bringing more than 300 abandoned properties back into use through schemes run by their Housing Services, and Private Sector Housing team, with the work being highlighted as part of National Empty Homes Week.

Northumberland County Councillor, Colin Horncastle, said: "Properties are left empty for long periods of time, often getting into a state of disrepair and attracting anti-social behaviour."

The initiative falls into line with the growing demand for affordable housing in the area.

The council invites owners of vacant properties, or those aware of them, to make contact.

Support offered by the council includes free advice, free Property Accreditation Scheme to help find tenants, free advertising on Northumberland Homefinder, to conducting free tenant reference checks.

"We know there is still more work that needs to be done and we will be continuing to identify other properties where we can offer help to provide these homes with a new lease of life."

The council can also use Empty Dwelling Management Orders, which allow the council to refurbish and manage long-term vacant properties.

Once repaired, they are then let to tenants on the council's housing register.