Concerns as three Colchester heroin deaths in four days linked by police

Police in Essex have made three arrests over the deaths. Credit: PA

Three drug-related deaths in four days are being linked by police, who have arrested three people as part of their investigation.

Two people died in Colchester over the weekend, with a third reported to Essex Police on Tuesday.

A fourth man also fell ill on Tuesday, but was treated by paramedics and survived.

Police believe that the deaths are linked to the use of heroin, but are awaiting full lab analysis of samples.

Investigating officers identified a wooded area near the city centre where drugs were being dealt. They were then led to a residential area nearby, where they arrested a man.

When police forced entry to a nearby address and found two other people, who are being treated as victims of cuckooing - a technique used by drug dealers in which they take over the homes of vulnerable people to sell drugs.

A 20-year-old man from London has since being charged with two counts of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs and possession of a knife. He was due to appear before magistrates in Chelmsford on Wednesday.

Two other people were traced through communications data, and arrested on suspicion of drug supply offences during a planned warrant on Tuesday in Wanstead in east London.

Insp Mark Jones said: “The speed at which this investigation progressed as a result of three tragic deaths in Colchester has led to three very significant arrests and the seizure of a number of items which will be central to our investigation.

“These arrests – and the one charge secured at this stage – of course in no way make up for the loss of life in Colchester."

He added: “Those who sell drugs cause significant harm in our communities. They may think they can get away with it but we will relentlessly pursue anyone who tries to sell drugs in Essex.”

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