Telford Man Dies In 'Ecstasy' Alert

3 January 2015, 07:15 | Updated: 3 January 2015, 07:19

A man has died in Telford after taking drugs which may be linked to three previous deaths in Suffolk.

The 27-year-old was found at a property in Woodside Road in Ketley on New Year's Day.

Officers believe his death may be linked to a particularly dangerous batch of ecstasy.

A spokeswoman for the force said: "Police believe the death could have been a result of taking an illegal drug which is described as a red triangle shape with a superman sign on it. It has also been described as a round shape.

"Similar incidents are being investigated by Suffolk Police, which have occurred over the past few days.''

The latest death comes in the wake of three other men dying after taking drugs police suspect may have come from a rogue batch.

A labourer named locally as John Hocking, 20, died after being found seriously unwell in Chestnut Close in Rendlesham, Suffolk, at 7.10am on Thursday.

He is believed to be a former student at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham in the county.

A second man, also in his 20s and originally from Lithuania, died in Provan Court, Ipswich, at 9.40am the same day.

Another man from the same address was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

Detectives believe those cases may be linked to another drugs-related death on Christmas Eve - that of a man in his 20s in Bramford Lane, Ipswich.

Members of the public have been told they should have nothing to fear in surrendering rogue drugs to the authorities.

Detective Chief Inspector Sean Paley, from West Mercia Police, said: "It is not only illegal to buy and sell drugs but can also be very dangerous. We are urging the public not to be tempted to take illegal drugs - you don't know what they are made of or where they have come from.

"We are eager to hear from anyone who has been offered drugs in the Telford area recently. Alert police so that we can remove these dangerous drugs off the streets.''

Superintendent Louisa Pepper, from Suffolk Police, said that anyone in possession of the tablets, believed to be red, triangular and embossed with an "S'' Superman emblem, should hand them in at a police station, accident and emergency department or fire station.

She said: "We view this particular drug as especially dangerous and want to prevent further deaths and save lives. If you have got any further drugs, please surrender them because they are dangerous.

"I can fully understand people's reluctance in this situation, but we are not looking to arrest or prosecute people - they are really dangerous and we are talking about saving lives.''

She added that the force would be targeting the eastern European community in the town with translated leaflets to ensure they receive the message.

"Our hearts go out to the families involved but there is something we can all do to prevent further harm,'' she added.

The force has drawn a link between these drugs and dangerous pills with a similar appearance which were in circulation in the Netherlands last month.

Those tablets had a large concentration of PMMA, which acts more slowly than MDMA, the main component of ecstasy. This causes people to take more pills because they think they are not working.

PMMA can cause high body temperature and an increased heart rate.

Chief Inspector Steve Denham said: "As well as it being illegal to sell and buy drugs, it can also be very dangerous as we have sadly seen with these tragic deaths.

"We would urge everyone not to be tempted to take illegal drugs - you don't know where they have come from, what they are made up of, or how your body will react to them.

"If you have been offered drugs in the Ipswich area over the past few weeks, in particular ecstasy, we'd urge you to contact us with any information so that we can find those responsible and remove these dangerous drugs from the streets.''

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.