“POVERTY porn” could be coming to Middlesbrough as it emerged producers of Channel 4’s controversial Benefits Street programme have been scouring the town offering residents money to appear.

The bosses of Love Productions, which makes the series for Channel 4, have remained tight-lipped about whether they are considering the Teesside town – but locals have reported producers offering them cash.

Residents of two streets in particular – Milbrook Avenue in the Brambles Farm area, and Beaumont Road in North Ormesby – have been approached, according to local councillor Len Junier, who spoke to those involved with the programme.

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He said he was concerned that they would just exploit people and make the East Middlesbrough area seem worse than it was.

“I bumped into them in the street – a woman who was a producer and a man taking notes,” he said. “They went into a couple of houses with a shoulder camera.

“I think they were looking at North Ormesby and Brambles Farm because they are on the police website as hotspot areas in East Middlesbrough.

“I am concerned because I saw the show and I couldn’t watch it after the first one – they were just painting people in such a bad light and I really don’t want that to happen here.

"East Middlesbrough is much better than it was a few years ago. We have got enough people wanting to knock the area and we have had that before – the southern media coming up and having a go.”

He said at least one woman had been offered money to appear in the show but he knew of three more who had turned it down.

But he said: “If they knock on enough doors offering incentives then they’ll get enough people.”

He said he would strongly oppose any licences producers might ask for, including road closures for filming, in a bid to stop the area being “exploited”.

The first series of Benefits Street saw almost 2,000 complaints to Ofcom, with thousands of people signing petitions asking for the show, which was filmed in Birmingham, to be scrapped, calling it “poverty porn”.

But it gave Channel 4 the highest viewing figures since 2012 and the rights for the show were sold across the world.

A spokeswoman for the show said they were looking at a “number of locations” around the UK for the next series.