UPDATE: Two men aged 26 and 30 have been arrested in connection with the death of Mr Halpin. Northumbria Police said the men were arrested on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug. They have been bailed pending further inquiries. Comments have now been turned off this entry for legal reasons.

A young filmmaker is believed to have frozen to death after spending a night sleeping rough for a Channel 4 application in which he intended to explore what it was like to be homeless.

Lee Halpin, 26, had planned to spend a week living on the streets in his home city of Newcastle and eventually make a documentary about it.

He embarked upon his project on Sunday but he was apparently found dead three days later in a derelict building in the West End of the city.

How he died has not yet been confirmed but due to the freezing temperatures it is believed he may have succumbed to hypothermia.

Speaking on a YouTube video, he said the project was part of an application for an investigative journalism course to give an example of fearless reporting.

He said he had spoken to a homeless charity about the rise in the number of people on the streets and the possible repercussions of the bedroom tax.

"I'm about to go and spend a week being homeless in the West End of Newcastle. I will sleep rough for a week, scrounge for my food, access the services that other homeless individuals use," he said.

"I will interact with as many homeless people as possible and immerse myself in that lifestyle as deeply as I can."

He concluded the video by saying he hoped it showed his willingness to get to the heart of a story.

Mr Halpin's friend Daniel Lake told the Evening Chronicle: "No-one knows how he passed away, but we think it could have been hypothermia.

"He made the ultimate sacrifice trying to raise awareness about what was happening to other people."

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "Police were informed the body of a man believed to be in his 20s had been found in a derelict building in Westgate Road.

"A report will be prepared for the coroner."

A Channel 4 spokesperson said: “We are saddened to learn of the tragic death of this aspiring young journalist. Our thoughts are with his family”