Fears grow over contaminated ecstasy tablets, after three people die and dozens more are hospitalised

Police link deaths to possible contaminated ecstasy batch

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The Independent Online

Three people have died and dozens more are in hospital after taking contaminated ecstasy tablets, police have said.

Greater Manchester Police were investigating whether a batch of contaminated ecstasy pills were responsible for the death of "apparently fit young men" Gareth Ashton, 28, who died at Wigan infirmary on Sunday, and Jordan Chambers, 19, who died at Oldham hospital on Monday.

The men, from the Wigan area, had complained of feeling unwell and displayed the same symptoms after taking the heart-shaped tablets over the weekend.

A third man, who has yet to be named, collapsed at a guest-house in the Tuebrook area of Liverpool on Sunday morning. The 26-year-old had said he felt unwell after taking ecstasy pills. He was treated by paramedics at the scene then taken to hospital, where he died.

A number of people across Greater Manchester and Merseyside were admitted to hospital with similar symptoms. Police are also reportedly looking into three other recent drug-related deaths to see if they are linked.

An unnamed 26-year-old man from Glasgow died in Liverpool on Sunday after taking what was believed to be ecstasy-type tablets.

The deaths of art student Charlotte Woodiwiss, 20, from Chapel-le-Frith and Dale Yates, 18, from Buxton, who died just before Christmas on December 22 and 23 respectively, are also being studied for links.

Manchester police said the two men who died in their area had taken four or five tablets each.

They also warned anyone who may be affected to look out for symptoms including loss of sight and bumping into walls.