'Superman' ecstasy pills in Ipswich contain PMMA tests show

Ecstasy with Superman logo
Image caption The drugs contain PMMA, tests have shown

Ecstasy tablets believed to be from a batch linked to the deaths of four people contain PMMA, a "much stronger" substance than is usually found in ecstasy, Suffolk Police has said.

It is thought the deaths of three men in Suffolk and a man in Telford, Shropshire, were caused by a batch of red pills carrying a Superman motif.

Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police have warned the same drugs may also be in circulation in their areas.

Two people have so far been charged.

Police are linking the drugs to the deaths of two men from Ipswich who have been named locally as Justas Ropas, 22, and Gediminas Kulokas, 24.

Image caption John Hocking's death had "hurt a lot of people", his friend Jack Harrison said

The deaths of John Hocking, 20, from Rendlesham in Suffolk, and a 27-year-old from Telford, have been "potentially" linked to the drugs.

One man is still recovering in Ipswich Hospital after taking a tablet, and another man has been discharged after he claimed to have taken one.

'Serious harm'

More than 400 pills bearing the logo were found hidden "in a public place" near Norwich Road in Ipswich on Sunday.

Tests showed they contained the substance PMMA.

Det Insp Fran Jones, from Cambridgeshire Police, said: "Paramethoxymethamphetamine, commonly known as PMMA... has different effects to the common ecstasy pill, MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine).

"PMMA can take different times to take effect which often results in users taking more of it, often resulting in serious harm."

Image caption Friends of John Hocking released lanterns in his memory

Supt Louisa Pepper, from Suffolk Police, said: "We're urging anyone who has tablets matching this description not to take them or pass them on, and to hand them in to us or one of the agencies listed."

A 28-year-old man has been charged with being concerned in the supply of ecstasy over the Telford death.

A 19-year-old from Ipswich has been charged with being concerned in the supply of controlled drugs (ecstasy) and possession with intent to supply a Class B drug.

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