Nottinghamshire dealers imitate popular snack brands to sell cannabis laced with rat poison

The force said it had incinerated a record £90m of seized drugs this year Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

Drug dealers are imitating popular snack brands in a bid to lure young people to take cannabis, police have warned.

Nottinghamshire Police warned tests on some of the snacks had shown they were laced with traces of rat poison and detergent.

The force said criminals were increasingly lacing or injecting the drug into chocolate, cookies, cakes and sweets to try to evade arrest.

Some dealers have also manufactured their own packaging including 'Zoot Pastels' and 'Dorweedos' which look just like a popular brand of sweets and crisps.

Police said cannabis was still the "number one recreational drug" in Nottinghamshire and they were clamping down on dealers who target young people.

The force said it had incinerated a record £90m of seized drugs this year.

Criminals have been increasingly lacing or injecting the drug into sweets Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

David Richardson, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: "There is a current trend where they are putting cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) into cookies, cakes, chocolates, and sweets but they have been mixed with other nasty things such as fly spray and one test came back with traces of rat poison.

"We are getting what we describe as cannabis edibles on a weekly basis.

"People have started doing their own and are more aware of how to do it through social media.

"We had one case where a woman from Nottinghamshire was making cannabis cakes for her own circle of friends.

"The cannabis market is evolving and those who sell this drug are trying to get one foot ahead of us."

Nottinghamshire Police said the combined street value of all the cannabis seized was around £6m in 2016 - and that this has now risen to more than £20m a year.

On average 300 to 500 drug items pass through the force's archive and exhibits department a week, including heroin, crack cocaine, amphetamine, cocaine, cannabis, cannabis edibles and cannabis plants, police said.

Mr Richardson added: "We thought we might experience a dip during the pandemic, but we have not had that.

"We have just got busier."

Some dealers have also manufactured their own packaging including Danky Milk Credit: Nottinghamshire Police

What should parents do?

Police have said the sweets often contain high levels of drugs, and it can be easy to overdose on them, making them particularly dangerous. The full list of side-effects includes:

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Disorientation and confusion

  • Hallucinations

  • Nausea/vomiting

  • Lethargy

  • Heart problems

  • Anxiety and paranoia

  • Changes in perception

Police said anyone who suspected their child had eaten some should seek medical help immediately.

They should then find out as much information as you can: what packaging was the edible in, how many they have taken, when they took them, and if they have taken any other substances such as alcohol.

If the child is conscious and responsive but unwell, ring 111 for advice.

If the child is unconscious or very unwell, for example if their speech is slurred or they are unresponsive, call 999 immediately.

County lines is a term used to describe gangs and organised criminal networks moving drugs from big cities to more rural areas using dedicated mobile phone lines or other form of "deal line".