Police investigate drugs link after fourth rave death

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The Independent Online
POLICE investigating the death of a 21-year-old man at a rave in Saltcoats near Glasgow are examining links between the incident and recent drugs-related deaths at the Hanger 13 club in Ayr.

James McCabe, from the Dennistoun area of Glasgow, collapsed at the Metro club in the town early yesterday after taking an amphetamine-type drug, believed to be ecstasy.

He is the fourth person in four months to die at a rave in Ayrshire after taking drugs, prompting speculation that 'rogue', high- strength ecstasy tablets are being sold in clubs in the area.

Three other people needed hospital treatment after taking drugs at Saturday night's rave. A 17-year- old girl from the Scotstoun area of Glasgow was under observation yesterday at Crosshouse hospital in Kilmarnock.

Det Chief Insp Bob Lauder of Strathclyde police, who is leading the inquiry into Mr McCabe's death, said he could not confirm the cause of death until a post- mortem examination and toxicology tests were completed.

But, he said, he would meet officers in Ayr to 'examine whether there are any similarities with the fatalities at Hanger 13'.

Last month, Andrew Stoddart, 20, a van driver from Rigside in Lanarkshire died at the Ayr club after taking drugs.

In May two teenagers, John Nisbet, 18, from Ayrshire, and Andrew Dick, 19, from Glasgow, collapsed after using ecstasy. Mr Lauder said: 'There have been a number of incidents in Ayrshire in recent months. We are keen to talk to our colleagues to see if we can uncover anything that might help us with our investigation.'

The Metro is only 10 miles from Hanger 13 and some ravers speculated local drug dealers targeted the club after the operators of Hanger 13 announced they were tightening security in the wake of the recent deaths there.

Others suggested a batch of concentrated ecstasy was circulating in Ayrshire, which is the centre of Scotland's burgeoning hardcore rave scene.

Mr Lauder dismissed the speculation as 'pure guesswork'. Police had no evidence that dealers had singled out the Metro or that 'dodgy gear' was being sold to unsuspecting ravers, he said.

John Fox, manager of the Metro, urged ravers to 'wake up' to the dangers of drugs.

'They should realise that you can go to nightclubs and have a good night out without taking drugs,' he said. 'They should try to fight it. I hope that club goers will now realise the risks of getting involved in drugs.

'I would have thought that the previous incidents would have woken them up, but obviously it hasn't'