Drug factories become Britain's new illegal cottage industry

POLICE CHIEFS are warning of a flood of new synthetic drugs - including super-strong ecstasy, fake Prozac and Viagra - both manufactured in Britain and imported from illegal "factories" abroad.

A survey by the international police association Interpol has found record numbers of illegal laboratories being set up throughout Europe, producing ever increasing quantities of synthetic drugs. In Britain, at least 22 illicit drug factories manufacturing amphetamines, ecstasy, and the anaesthetic GHB, have been discovered in the past three years.

Vincent Harvey, director of United Kingdom operations at the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), has also warned of new types of chemical stimulants being sold by dealers in Britain. Traffickers are increasingly manufacturing and buying up stocks of Prozac and Viagra to sell in nightclubs along with ecstasy tablets.

He told a national drugs conference in Blackpool last week that the abuse of the two new wonder "lifestyle" drugs, was extremely dangerous and one of the most significant recent trends. "We have know for some time of ecstasy users supplementing the drug with Prozac to enhance the effects. Drugs dealers are seeking supplies of legitimate drugs such as Prozac and Viagra or even attempting to manufacture them for themselves," he said.

"Of course such combinations could easily have unexpected results as different outcomes are combined. As users look for particular effects, they are increasingly attracted to designer variants of legitimate drugs."

The attempted manufacture of copies of the anti-depressant drug Prozac and the impotence remedy Viagra are part of a boom in designer synthetic drugs being used by clubbers. Viagra is sold in clubs to be used along with ecstasy, the side-effects of which can include the diminishing of sexual abilities. Prozac is supposed to counter-balance the depression and "down" people feel after taking stimulants, although this is a sales trick, because it takes several weeks to work.

Mr Harvey added that thanks to the Internet, "criminals in Europe can order tons of chemicals from anywhere in the world". He added: "We have established that some UK criminals travel the world to source the chemicals, the popular destinations at present include China, the Russian Federation and throughout most of Eastern Europe. Most individual purchases are entirely legal."

He highlighted a publication available on the Internet that provides recipes for 179 ecstasy type drugs. Most could be made with "anybody with an A-level in chemistry", he said.

Europol has also discovered that ethnic Chinese criminal gangs - known as Triads - from Hong Kong but now based in the European Union, were switching some of their trade from the trafficking of heroin from South- east Asia to the production of ecstasy for Europe.

Jurgen Storbeck, the acting director of Europol, said that illicit laboratories making synthetic drugs, particularly amphetamines, have been found in most member states. "Some had a capacity of producing up to a million pills a day, some were mobile, whilst others were abandoned every few weeks to avoid detection. This type of large-scale production is controlled by organised crime," he said.

The number of seizures of amphetamines in the UK in 1997 reached a record 18,600, more than six times greater than in 1987.

Mr Harvey also disclosed that earlier this year NCIS made the first commercial seizure in the UK of a drug called DOB or "golden eagle", an ecstasy substitute reputed to be 33 times stronger than normal doses of the drug.

In February, the service found 800,000 tablets hidden in fibreboard that had been sent from the Netherlands. Last December, a further 350,000 tablets believed to be destined for the UK were seized in France. A nationwide alert has been issued on the use of DOB along with a series of ecstasy- type drugs now being manufactured.

Another drug, 2CB, also known as nexus, spectrum or bromo, is related to ecstasy and is becoming increasingly popular at festivals and out-door raves.

Suggested Topics
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Life and Style
fashionAlexander Furyon London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late on stage in Brixton show
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
News
people''Women's rights is too often synonymous with man-hating'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam