Police arrest 10 people after four drug deaths in the North East

5 October 2020, 06:14 | Updated: 5 October 2020, 14:27

Police have issued an urgent warning after four died
Police have issued an urgent warning after four died. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Police have arrested 10 people and issued an urgent drugs warning following the deaths of four young people in the North East.

Northumbria Police said drugs are suspected to have been a factor in the deaths of two women, both aged 18 and living in the same halls at Newcastle University, and a 21-year-old man, of Northumbria University, over the weekend.

The force said an 18-year-old man, who was not a student, has also died in Washington, Tyne and Wear.

A spokesman said that specialist officers are supporting the families of those involved.

Post-mortems are due to take place but officers want to warn the public about the danger of taking drugs, he said.

Assistant Chief Constable Neil Hutchison said: "First and foremost, our thoughts go out to the families and loved ones of those who have sadly died.

"Although our investigations are still at a very early stage and we continue to establish the circumstances surrounding the deaths, we are warning people against taking drugs.

"We would urge anybody thinking about taking drugs to please not take the risk. The consequences could cost you your life.

"If anyone has any information about who has supplied the drugs in question then we would also encourage them to contact us at the earliest opportunity."

He said that anyone who has taken these drugs and needs emergency medical attention should always call 999.

A Newcastle University spokesman said earlier: "We are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of one of our students and our welfare teams are offering support to those affected.

"This is not Covid-related and as this is an active police investigation, we are unable to provide further comment at this time."

Northumbria Police received the first report at 6:05am on Saturday of an 18-year-old woman, who was a student at Newcastle University, found unresponsive at a property in Richardson Road.

It is believed she took a quantity of ketamine and was pronounced dead at the scene. An 18-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of supplying a Class B drug.

At around 3:50pm on Saturday, officers were called to Coach Road Estate in Washington following reports of an 18-year-old man, who was not a student, taking MDMA and falling ill.

Seven people have been arrested in connection with this incident and have been released under investigation.

On Sunday morning a 21-year-old male student at Northumbria University was taken ill at an address in Melbourne Street, Newcastle, after he was suspected to have taken MDMA.

He was taken to hospital but died and a 20-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs.

At around 1:10pm on Sunday police were called back to the same address in Richardson Road where another 18-year-old woman had died.

Officers believe ketamine had been in the property and an 18-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug.

Northumbria Police have also confirmed they carried out a number of consent-based room searches at student accommodation with the force's drugs dogs, in collaboration with student wellbeing teams at Newcastle University and further patrols will be carried out on Monday.