Outcry over drug abuse after photo shows 'spice zombies' slumped on bench in town centre

Police say fighting substance use is a 'priority' amid fears of endemic sweeping Britain

Saturday 16 June 2018 15:48 BST
The image of alleged spice users has been shared almost 2,000 times on social media
The image of alleged spice users has been shared almost 2,000 times on social media (Media Wales)

A widely-shared photo showing three men slumped in a zombie-like trance in a Welsh town centre has prompted fears that use of the drug spice is getting out of control in parts of Britain.

The image – taken in Bridgend – shows the trio sprawled on and around a bench. One is semi-naked.

All three appear to have taken the psychoactive substance, which can leave users in a catatonic state for hours at a time.

The picture – taken on Tuesday afternoon – has been shared almost 2,000 times on social media. A second later emerged showing a fourth man unconscious on another town bench.

Widely-shared image shows apparent spice users in Bridgend (Media Wales)

The person who took it but asked not to be named told walesonline.co.uk: “It's terrible…There was kids in the background and walking past."

It appears to add to growing concerns that use of spice in Britain is turning into an epidemic. Similar photos from Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool, Wolverhampton, London and Cambridge have all been shared in the past. In March, a 14-year-old died in Stockport after taking the drug. Just last month, health officials warned that abuse of the drug in prisons was creating a health crisis.

As the latest picture was eliciting horrified reactions online, South Wales Police moved to reassure residents that fighting the drug was a priority.

Detective Inspector Dean Taylor said the force was aware of the photo.

“Tackling the illegal drug supply on our streets is a priority for us as this kind of criminal activity has a hugely detrimental impact on our communities,” he said.

He added: ““We recently held Operation Pacific in the town centre which targeted county lines and the supply of drugs. This led to a number of arrests.

“The number of incidents of spice use reported to us remains very low. I would encourage anyone with concerns relating to drug supply including spice to contact us.

“I would ask that that the community continue to work with us and make a stand against the drug dealers who impose this misery upon others."

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