Man dies and eight treated in hospital after using 'unusually strong ' heroin

A man has died and four people have been arrested after taking an "unusually strong batch" of heroin in North Devon.

Devon police declared a major incident early Friday evening when they discovered the batch of class A drugs had been circulated.

By midnight, the man had died and eight others who were also believed to have taken the drug had been treated in hospital, police said. They said the drugs were circulated in Westward Ho!, Bideford and Barnstaple.

Police said the man died despite receiving medical treatment at the scene.

Two men and two women have been arrested on suspicion of being involved in the supply of a controlled substance and the major incident was stood down on Saturday morning, police added.

All currently remain in police custody. The condition of the eight people who needed hospital treatment was not immediately disclosed by police.

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North and West Devon 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."

He added: "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."