Man dies and four arrested after ‘unusually strong’ heroin circulates in Devon

A man has died and four people have been arrested after an “unusually strong batch” of heroin circulated across North Devon, causing police to declare a major incident.

A further eight people were treated in hospital after they believed they had taken some of the drug across Westward Ho!, Bideford and Barnstaple, according to Devon and Cornwall Police.

On Friday evening, emergency service partners in the area declared a major incident because of the threat posed to the drug-taking community after police became aware at around 5pm that the batch of the Class A drug was circulating locally.

Following police investigations, two men and two women were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the supply of a controlled substance.

The major incident was stood down on Saturday morning.

North and West Devon local policing area commander Superintendent Toby Davies said: “As soon as we were made aware of the issue this substance was likely to cause on Friday evening, we did everything possible with partners to reach out to the drug-using community to warn them of potential danger they were facing.

“We continue to work with health partners to warn those who may be substance users to exercise extreme caution.

“However, we would reassure the community we believe this is now contained.

“If anyone fears they are in danger or are in the company of someone suffering a medical episode, we would ask they contact 999 to seek appropriate medical help.”

The College of Policing defines a major incident as “an event or situation requiring a response under one or more of the emergency services’ major incident plans” and one that “will usually include involving large numbers of people, either directly or indirectly.”