ELEVEN suspected drug dealers have been arrested by police investigating the deaths of three men who died after apparently taking Spice.

Officers launched an extensive investigation into the supply of drugs in Newcastle following the deaths in the city over the bank holiday weekend.

Northumbria Police said all three deaths are thought to relate to the drug Spice and the investigation to find those believed to be responsible has already seen 11 people arrested and a haul of drugs taken off the streets.

Nine males, aged 14, 23, 26, 27, 27, 35, 36, 43 and 44, and two women, aged 25 and 33, were arrested yesterday - one of them on suspicion of manslaughter.

Investigating officers also seized a quantity of drugs and paraphernalia.

The region's police forces issued a warning at the weekend of the likelihood of a 'bad batch' of the drug Spice being in circulation, following the deaths in Newcastle and after 11 people from the Cleveland area were taken to hospital.

Superintendent Barrie Joisce, of Northumbria Police, said: “Through our role, unfortunately we often see the devastating and sometimes fatal effects drugs misuse can have on some of the most vulnerable members of society, their families and the wider community as a whole.

“Thankfully, through the hard work of our officers, we have now made eleven arrests in relation to this investigation and taken a haul of drugs off the streets.

“There may be others who have taken or purchased Spice in recent days and we continue to be concerned for their wellbeing.

"If anyone has taken Spice then they should seek medical attention at the earliest opportunity.

“We will continue to do all we can to keep our communities safe and ensure those who look to exploit others are ultimately brought to justice.”

Ten of those in custody have been arrested on suspicion of drug offences and one man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

Anyone who suspects criminality or drug supply in their area is asked to call police on 101 or get in touch via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of Northumbria Police's website.

Alternatively, you can contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.