Empty houses on a Cramlington estate have been branded a potential death trap as residents fear they could collapse at any moment.
Huge cracks have appeared in properties in Alderley Way on the Eastfield estate, which has led to tenants being moved to alternative accommodation in the town.
But a temporary fence erected to keep people out while work to establish the cause of the damage has been pulled down, and the area has been subject to vandalism and fly-tipping.
Now a local resident is calling for the buildings to be pulled down, and the area made safe.
Mark Swinburn said: “I was horrified to see the size of the cracks.
“This is not something that can be filled with Polyfilla, this is irreversible damage.
“These properties will have to be demolished from a safety point of view, as they could collapse at any moment.
“We have all seen it before, homes suddenly collapsing – and that is a real fear here.
“The temporary fencing has been pulled down and the state of the area is just enticing people to do more fly-tipping.
“All of the windows of one of the homes have been smashed, and the people living near to these houses are having to put up with the vandals and the fly-tipping.
“The properties are not safe and it is not acceptable, I want to see the area made safe until these houses can be demolished.”
Officials say they have had to increase security at the site and install CCTV following complaints about violence towards workers carrying out work.
Ian Johnson, director of property services at Homes for Northumberland, said: “We take complaints like this extremely seriously and are doing all we can to address these issues.
“We are aware that there are a small number of properties which have external cracks.
“We are working closely with Northumberland County Council and the Coal Authority to find out the reasons why these have occurred; this has included digging a number of bore holes.
“Unfortunately a minority have vandalised the site and caused damage to the property.
“We are working with the police to combat this and protect our property; this has resulted in the installation of CCTV.
“At this stage we are awaiting the results of the investigation before deciding on the next course of action.
“If residents have any concerns I would urge them to contact the police or ourselves on (01670) 542424.”