England

Suffolk ecstasy deaths: Police probe Telford death link

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Media captionA 27-year-old who died in Telford was the fourth person thought to have succumb to the dangerous batch of drugs

A suspected drugs death in Shropshire may be linked to a dangerous batch of ecstasy feared responsible for the deaths of three men in Suffolk.

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

Three similar deaths are being investigated by Suffolk Police.

Officers from the force have arrested three men, aged 19, 20 and 26, from Ipswich, on suspicion of being involved in the supply of controlled drugs.

'Superman' Dutch link

The arrests followed the deaths of three men aged in their 20s, thought to be the result of taking ecstasy.

One man, named locally as labourer John Hocking, 20, died after being found "seriously unwell" at an address in Rendlesham, Suffolk, on Thursday morning.

Shortly afterwards, Suffolk Police were called to reports of two other men falling ill.

One died, while the other remains in hospital.

Detectives have said they believe there may be a link with the death of another man at an address in Ipswich on Christmas Eve.

A fourth man, who has not been formally identified, was found dead by his girlfriend in Telford.

West Mercia Police believe his death could be the result of taking the same drug, which is described as being red with the Superman "S" logo.

West Mercia police urged the public to be "extra vigilant" and to be aware the drugs could be part of an "illegal dangerous batch".

The "Superman" logo drugs have been linked to pills with a similar appearance found in circulation in the Netherlands last month.

'Avoid temptation'

They contained a large concentration of PMMA, a substance with ecstasy-like effects but which is slower-acting than MDMA, traditionally the main component of the tablets.

Their slower effect causes people to take more of the pills because they think the drug is not working.

West Mercia Det Ch Insp Sean Paley said people should avoid the temptation to take drugs.

"You don't know what they are made of or where they have come from," he said.

Police urged people to hand the drugs in to a police station, accident and emergency department or fire station.

Supt Louisa Pepper, from Suffolk Police, said: "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."

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