Editor’s note: This story is the subject of a legal complaint from Savers.

A man who opened a box of aftershave he received as a Christmas present was surprised to find a bag of white powder he suspects could be illegal drugs.

Darren Swankie said he was given the gift, Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million Lucky, by his mother and opened it when she visited on Boxing Day.

But instead of the scent, the 31-year-old found an Ikea food bag filled a large quantity of the suspicious substance.

The Northern Echo: Darren said the box contained the bag of white power but no aftershave Darren said the box contained the bag of white power but no aftershave (Image: Sarah Caldecott)

Read more: Free Darlington parking extended in shopping destination bid

Mr Swankie, from Shildon, said: “I am not sure what it is. I am gobsmacked to be honest.

“It was in the cellophane, and I opened it in front of my mam and dad.

“It looked legit but when I opened it up I thought: ‘There is something wrong here’.

“It was an Ikea bag full of white powder, no aftershave.”

Darren, who lives in Sturrock Court, Shildon, said he mentioned it to his neighbour who is a police officer and was advised to report it to Durham Constabulary.

He added: “Now I have looked at the wrapper a bit closer it looks like it has been burnt to be resealed.

“There are so many unanswered questions. It could be salt or sugar. I would be surprised if it was drugs because who would give up that amount?

“The bag is massive. It would be worth thousands.

“I have not tried any. I daren’t, but I have smelled it and it has not odour at all.

“It doesn’t smell of anything.”

The Northern Echo: Darren Swankie with his bag of white powder Darren Swankie with his bag of white powder (Image: Sarah Caldecott)

Darren, a father-of-one, works as a pastoral mentor at a pupil referral unit in Ferryhill.

He said: “My concern is that aftershaves are not just given to adults.

“They could be given to teenagers and their first instinct  might be to try whatever this is and it could have any effect.

“The worst-case scenario could be absolutely horrendous.

“The best one it is just a bag of sugar, but still I am owed a bottle of aftershave.”  

Darren, who has a two-year-old daughter, said his mother made the purchase at Savers in Bishop Auckland and has the receipt.

Read next:

If you want to read more great stories, why not subscribe to your Northern Echo for as little as £1.25 a week. Click here

The powder has now been handed in at Bishop Auckland Police Station to be tested.

A spokeswoman for Savers said: "We can confirm that we do not stock the fragrance Paco Rabanne 1 Million Lucky in any of our stores and that the receipt sent to us by the customer shows the purchase of an entirely different fragrance, Paco Rabanne 1 Million.

"We want to reassure customers that this item was not purchased in one of our stores.

"We cannot comment further as this is currently a matter for the police."