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Chester police say legal highs could be linked to man's death and hospital admissions

Warning issued by police following 'dramatic increase' in number of incidents

A CCTV screengrab showing a man collapsed on The Rows after taking psychoactive substances

Police say a dramatic increase in incidents involving psychoactive substances in Chester could have led to a number of people ending up in hospital and may also be linked to one death.

Officers are warning residents about the dangers of the highly addictive drugs that are known to leave users in a ‘Zombie’-like state.

Formerly known as legal highs, it became illegal to deal or make psychoactive substances from May last year.

Chief Inspector Mike Evans, of Chester Local Policing Unit, said: “Over the past month we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of incidents in Chester involving psychoactive substances.

A CCTV screengrab of a man being taken to an ambulance having collapsed on The Rows after taking psychoactive substances

“We are extremely concerned these substances could have led to a number of people being hospitalised and may also be linked to the death of one man.

“I would strongly urge people not to take these drugs and for people to be aware of the dangers of taking these substances.

“If people have taken any psychoactive substances and have concerns about their health they should contact the medical services as soon as possible.”

It is believed psychoactive substances have been linked to hundreds of hospital admissions across the UK.

Chief Inspector Evans added: “Enquiries are currently ongoing to trace the source of the drugs and we are also working closely with partner agencies, the local community and a number of charities to address the issue.

“It is also worth reminding people that a public space protection order exists in Chester City Centre meaning consuming these drugs is an offence.

“I urge anyone with any information in relation to the incident to contact the team here at Chester on 101 quoting incident number 408 of 3 July.”

Adam Dandy, co-founder of charity ShareShop

Adam Dandy, co-founder of charity ShareShop in Northgate Street, Chester, has noticed an increase in the number of homeless people suffering from the effects of the drugs branded as Spice and Black Mamba over the last four weeks.

He said: “These drugs are very strong, very addictive and also very cheap in comparison to other better known drugs, which make them very appealing to the most vulnerable in society. In just one day last week we received reports that 10 people had been admitted to the Countess of Chester Hospital after taking these drugs with one unconfirmed fatality.”

Share is calling for more action ‘to clamp down on the supply chain’ and drug dealing in the city as well as quicker access to addiction services for users.

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