Norwegian police arrest Winehouse over drug offence

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The Independent Online

Amy Winehouse, the jazz and soul singer who is as well known for her life of excess as for her musical talents, was held overnight in a police cell in Norway for possession of marijuana.

The 24-year-old, her husband Blake Fielder-Civil, and another British man were released at about 7am yesterday after being caught with seven grams (0.25oz) of the drug, prosecutors in Bergen said. Police were said to have been acting on a "credible tip" when they raided the singer's room at the Radisson-owned Hotel Norge.

Winehouse, who was admitted to hospital earlier this year after a suspected overdose of heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, ketamine and alcohol, was in the city as part of her European tour.

She and her husband were released after paying a fine of €500 (£350). Their male companion was told to pay £240.

Lars Morten Lothe, a prosecutor in the western port city, said: "We had a tip from a good source which led to police checking up. They were in a hotel room in the centre of Bergen."

Police said the three were not carrying drugs on them but the stash was found in their room. They named the third person as Alexander Foden but gave no further details about him.

It was fortunate for Winehouse that she was caught with marijuana in Norway, where drugs laws are less strict than in many other European countries. "She has paid the fine so this thing is over for us now," added Mr Lothe. "This was a minor quantity of a light drug, so the size of this fine is normal."

Winehouse was expected to continue with her tour, performing in Bergen last night and Oslo tonight. She is scheduled to appear in the Netherlands on Monday.

Winehouse did not comment but her agent said: "She was released without charge and the Bergen show will go ahead as planned."

The singer-songwriter, who was named the best UK female artist at the Music of Black Origin Awards this year for her hits such as "Rehab", is regarded as a major British talent.

During the summer, she made headlines almost daily for her other great talent – partying. Allegations about her drug and alcohol abuse, as well as an eating disorder and self-harming, came in thick and fast.

As she appeared to spiral out of control, she cancelled several gigs, including two supporting the Rolling Stones. To make matters worse, she was often photographed in pubs after postponing appearances for "health reasons".

The US leg of her tour in September was shelved while she continued to address problems with her health. It is now expected to take place early next year.

Winehouse once admitted to spending £200 a week on cannabis. Her arrest comes after she made a shaky start to a comeback tour in Berlin on Monday.

During her first full gig since her suspected overdose in August, she tripped up and staggered as she walked on stage, triggering speculation that she was drunk.

She is due to perform a string of dates in Britain, starting in Birmingham on 14 November.

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