Officers in Sunderland have issued a warning after seizing a large quantity of illegal drugs that may have caused the death of a woman.

Police were made aware of a possible batch of particularly strong drugs – believed to be blue diazepam tablets – being circulated in the Southwick area.

An investigation was launched after a woman in her 30s died and two other people became unwell in recent weeks.

After carrying out a number of enquiries, it is suspected that they had all taken the drugs.

A 58-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of drugs and has been released under investigation.

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A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "Today, we are warning anyone in possession of these tablets not to take them.

The Northern Echo: The blue pills seized by Northumbria Police The blue pills seized by Northumbria Police

"Our thoughts go out to the loved ones of the woman who has sadly died and we are continuing to establish the circumstances around her death.

"Although our investigation is still at a very early stage, we are warning people against taking these tablets.

"Unless you have been properly prescribed medication via your doctor or pharmacy, you can never be sure what substances contain and the impact they could have on you.

"The risks of taking illegal substances are well documented and we would urge people to think about the potential consequences and not to take them.

"It is important that any illegal drugs are disposed of safely and not left in public – and they can be taken to police stations.

"As our investigation continues, we would also encourage anyone with information about the drugs in question to contact us at the earliest opportunity."

Anyone who has information about the drugs should contact Northumbria Police using the ‘Tell Us Something’ page on the forece's website or by calling on 101.

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