TWO people have died after taking what police believe to be a ‘lethal’ batch of drugs.

Officers said 44-year-old James Hacking was found dead at his home in Victoria Street, Church.

Just hours later, a 36-year-old woman was also discovered dead at her flat, in Wellington Court, Accrington.

Officers believe they may have taken a strong, or contaminated, batch of a Class A drugs, which could still be circulating in East Lancashire.

Now they are urging anyone who has taken heroin, or cocaine, recently to contact their doctor.

Neighbours of Mr Hacking said they were shocked at the news. One Victoria Street resident said: “Jimmy was a lovely, friendly neighbour. He helped my husband with some work on our shed roof and he wouldn’t accept any money.

“I know he had a girlfriend who visited now and then, and recently he was delighted because he had got himself a job in a factory. This is terrible news.”

Police said they were last night still in the process of informing the next of kin of the 36-year-old woman.

Officers said they had been called by the ambulance service to Mr Hacking’s home shortly after 10.40pm on Monday.

Then, at 1.30am yesterday, they were called to Wellington Court, again by the ambulance service, where they found the body of the woman.

Although the deaths are currently being treated as unexplained, at this stage police say they are believed to be drugs related.

Detective Inspector Jill Johnston said: “We are investigating two deaths at separate locations, where drugs may have been a factor. It is too early to say whether the cause of the deaths are connected, but we are concerned that there could be a particularly strong, or contaminated, batch of Class A drugs in the area. I would urge anyone who uses drugs like heroin, or cocaine, and who may be concerned, to contact their local health-care provider.

“We have circulated a warning to our partners in the health-care agencies, and those that offer support to drug users."

Anyone who has information about the supply of Class A drugs, or knowledge relating to this particular batch, should call police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

  • A 51-year-old woman from Accrington has been arrested on suspicion of supplying class A drugs and was yesterday being questioned by detectives.