There is no clear evidence to show a link between six people who died in suspected-drug related deaths, police say. 

An investigation was launched in July after six people died in the space of three days – between July 28 and 30 - in the Westcliff, Leigh, Benfleet and Canvey areas.

Due to the closeness of the deaths, in both time and geography, and the possibility of Class A drug use, Essex Police launched an investigation to determine whether the deaths may be linked.

Whilst post mortems and detailed toxicology tests were carried out, and in the interest of public safety, Essex Police and partners in health and support services asked drug users within South Essex to refrain from Class A drug use to ensure their safety.

Following results of a toxicology report received on Friday 9 August, police confirmed that the death of a man in his 40s from Canvey on Tuesday 30 July was being treated as a potential medical episode and a file would be passed to Her Majesty’s Coroner.

Now, following a further toxicology report into the other five individuals, police have confirmed that there is no clear scientific evidence to show a link between the victims.

Police investigations, which have also been subject to a review by a criminal analyst, have also produced findings consistent with this.

The families of all of those concerned have been updated and files are now being prepared for HM Coroner.

Chief Supt Kevin Baldwin, South LPA Commander, said: “Given the high number of tragic deaths that occurred in such a short space of time and in areas of the county very close to one another, it would have been remiss of Essex police not to have carried out a full and robust investigation.

“As we suspected that a number of the deaths were drug-related we had to take every precaution to warn and inform those members of our community who do use illegal drugs. This was to ensure their safety and of course to prevent the possibility of further deaths or illness.

“We worked with our partners in health, support services and local authorities to ensure we did all we could to get our safety message out and protect our communities.

“Whilst the expert findings now show that these deaths were not scientifically linked, we must not forget that six people have sadly passed away and our thoughts remain with them and their families.

“Since our investigation begun we have not had any further reports of deaths in similar circumstances.

“We would continue to remind people that the taking of any illegal drugs will always bring risk as you can never really be sure of exactly what you are taking.

“Our officers, including our specialist Op Raptor teams, continue to do all we can to arrest those who think they can deal illegal drugs on the streets of our county.”

Files for all those who died will now be prepared for Her Majesty’s Coroner.

Two men, a 36-year-old from London and a 29-year-old from Grays, were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply Class A drugs in connection with the investigation.

They have been released on conditional bail until October.

If you have any information about drug-related crime in your community call us on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.