Drug raid nets £6m `wobbly eggs'

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The Independent Online
Evidence of the growth of a new drugs craze emerged yesterday after police seized 1.5 million sleeping capsules during a raid on a lock-up garage.

The cache of Temazepam, a prescribed drug, is believed to have been destined for sale to addicts and youngsters in Scotland and the North of England. Worth an estimated £6m on the street, the north London seizure is the largest yet of the substance.

Drug agencies and police are becoming increasingly concerned about the growing number of people using Temazepam - particularly teenagers attracted by prices as low as 50p. Children as young as 10 are taking the drug, which is a tranquilliser that slows down the body and mind in a similar way to alcohol.

Some addicts heat the substance, which comes in a gel or a tablet, and inject the liquid. Gangrene can result if it resolidifies, while mixing it with alcohol can be fatal.

Eight men were arrested in connection with the police raid on Tuesday afternoon. Seventeen South East regional crime squad officers raided a garage in north Finchley where they found 180 boxes of the drug. The shipment was tracked from a warehouse in Hackney.

The Temazepam is understood to have been obtained legally from a pharmaceutical company in England for export. But police believe it was destined for resale in Britain.

Last August, police seized 350,000 Temazepam capsules from a warehouse in Surrey.

Known as "wobbly eggs", because one effect is to make the user stagger, or "jellies", the capsules are a category C drug. That means it is illegal to supply but not an offence to possess. The Home Office is considering whether to reclassify the drug.

Mike Goodman, director of Release, the national drug help line, said: "There has been a steady increase in the use and availability of Temazepam, particularly among hardened drug users and young people."