Crimestoppers has launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of buying prescription medication illegally.

The charity's initiative focuses on Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.

It comes as the North East is reported to have the highest rate of drug misuse deaths in England.

Crimestoppers stresses that legitimate prescription medicines should be issued by qualified healthcare professionals, following a thorough consultation.

The risks of self-diagnosing and self-medicating with illegally obtained medicine are severe, due to potential side effects, dangerous ingredients, incorrect dosages, and even death.

Fleur Brown, North East regional manager at Crimestoppers, said: "Criminals who sell prescription medication illegally are exploiting individuals who are often vulnerable and they have no regard for the health or welfare of these people.

"We are appealing to the public to help protect members in our community from the trade in illegal medication by speaking up and sharing what you know with our charity 100 per cent anonymously."

Additionally, the charity extends a plea to the public, seeking any information they may have regarding the illegal trade of prescription drugs.

Everyone can report illegal activities anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111, or by filling an online form at Crimestoppers website.