Drugs amnesty in rave death inquiry

POLICE investigating the death of a man at the Hanger 13 rave club in Ayr, south- west Scotland, took the rare step yesterday of granting club-goers immunity from prosecution for drugs offences in an effort to identify dealers.

Officers leading the inquiry into the death of Andrew Stoddart, 20, who collapsed at a rave on Saturday night, said they hoped the amnesty would encourage people to come forward with information about pushers who are thought to have targeted the seafront venue, where three people have died this year.

It is only the fourth time that a drugs amnesty has been granted north of the border and the move reflects senior officers' determination to trace the source of the ecstasy- type tablets that Mr Stoddart is believed to have taken before he collapsed.

The funeral of the former van driver from Rigside, Lanarkshire, takes this place this morning. Four months ago, John Nisbet, 18, and Andrew Dick, 19, died after taking ecstasy at the club.

Detective Chief Inspector John Corrigan, who is leading a team of 30 officers investigating Mr Stoddart's death, said: 'We are only after the dealers.'

Officers are investigating the possibility that Mr Stoddart, and two other people who required medical treatment after taking drugs may have bought impure or adulterated tablets.

With dance-drug abuse rising sharply in Scotland - seizures of ecstasy and other amphetamines have risen by 58 per cent since 1992 - health officials say that dealers are selling 'rogue' pills to maximise profits.

Suppliers, they say, often 'cut' ecstasy tablets with asthma treatments, cold remedies, dog worming tablets and even hair lacquer.

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