Deaths spark ecstasy pills warning
Police are warning that a contaminated batch of ecstasy tablets could be circulating following the deaths of two young men from the same town.
Gareth Ashton, 28, who died at Wigan Infirmary on Monday, and 19-year-old Jordan Chambers, who died at Oldham Hospital on Sunday, were described as "apparently fit young men".
The pair, both from Wigan, were admitted to hospital after complaining of feeling unwell and suffered the same symptoms. Greater Manchester Police are investigating where the men had been socialising and if they were out together when they took the pills.
Several others went to hospital suffering similar symptoms but no one is still being treated, said Superintendent Andrea Jones.
A third man, a 26-year-old, died in Liverpool on Sunday and is believed to have taken tablets - possibly ecstasy - before he collapsed. Greater Manchester Police are not currently linking his death to the two in their region, but said they could not discount a connection.
The drugs thought to be contaminated are brightly coloured heart-shaped ecstasy tablets which come in purple, green, red and yellow. Ms Jones urged anyone with information on such pills to come forward to help them with their inquiries. Toxicology tests are due to take place to establish how Mr Ashton and Mr Chambers died.
Ms Jones said: "Both had taken drugs, admitted to taking drugs, prior to being admitted to hospital, and our concern is that in circulation in the Wigan area, there could be these contaminated drugs."
She said Wigan is not thought to have a particular drug problem and that Greater Manchester Police are liaising with other forces. Members of the public were warned of the risks of taking illegal drugs.
"These illegal drugs - nobody knows what poisons they contain, what toxic chemicals they contain," added Ms Jones.
The 26-year-old who died in Liverpool is not thought to be from the Merseyside area.