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Tributes to 'bubbly' Northern Ireland teen Caitlin after her suspected drug death

By Brett Campbell

The family of a teenager who died in a suspected drug-related incident in Co Armagh have been left devastated by the loss of their "bubbly baby girl".

Caitlin White (15) died on Saturday night shortly after being taken to Craigavon Area Hospital.

"We are all just devastated," her aunt Claire White told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Caitlin was a great girl.

"She was our world and had a heart of gold.

"She would light up any room with her beautiful smile and her bubbly personality and will be sadly missed by her entire family.

"Sleep tight our baby girl."

Emergency services responded to reports that the young girl had fallen unconscious in Corcrain Community Woodland, Portadown, at around 6pm.

The Craigavon Senior High School pupil had been out with a group of friends who regularly congregate in the newly developed area owned by the Woodland Trust.

Yesterday her friends gathered to leave flowers and messages of support at the scene where she collapsed.

Speaking to this newspaper, they described Caitlin as a "bubbly girl who knew and got on with everyone".

But they also expressed concern over how easy it is to get drugs.

"It only takes 10 minutes," they said.

Residents in Charles Park, directly opposite the woodland, expressed their shock following the tragic news but said they were not surprised. One couple explained how youths have been flocking to the area in droves, particularly at weekends.

"The kids go there to drink and the police know all about it - there's about 50 of them all aged between 11 and 15," they said. "Something like this was bound to happen sooner or later."

Other residents said children as young as 11 are known to be regularly smoking cannabis in the area.

Councillor and YMCA youth worker Darryn Causby is due to meet with the PSNI today to discuss what he described as a "severe drug problem" in the wider Craigavon area.

"We need to have a meeting of minds to end this scourge, our communities are being destroyed," he said.

"This needs to stop and people must bring information to the police."

DUP Westminster candidate for the constituency of Upper Bann David Simpson extended his heartfelt sympathies and prayers to Caitlin's family and friends after the "utterly tragic" incident and said he knows the community "will pull together and help where they can".

"To hear of a life ending in such circumstances is horrific for everyone but none more than family and friends," he said.

UUP Westminster candidate Doug Beattie also expressed his condolences to the family.

"Local people are shocked that something so awful could happen in their community," he added.

Police area commander, Chief Inspector Joe McMinn, confirmed that one of line of enquiry is "a possible link to drugs".

He also confirmed that police are aware of young people gathering in the area and of several incidents of anti-social behaviour.

Police are working with local agencies and community representatives to address the issue.

A post-mortem examination will be carried out to determine the exact cause of Caitlin's death.

Mr McMinn appealed for anyone who was in the area on Saturday and who has information which could assist the police to contact them on 101 quoting reference 994 of 20/05/17.

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