Cannabis sweets: the drugs danger that put 17 north London schoolgirls in hospital
- Credit: Metropolitan Police
Three men were sentenced this week for selling cannabis-laced sweets from north London, but no charges have yet been brought after an incident which saw 17 schoolgirls taken to hospital in 2020.
The issue of drugs-laced sweets has grown in recent years and in April a woman in Ilford died and another fell ill after eating suspected "gummies" branded “Trrlli Peachie O’s”.
Charities say there is a particular risk with the sweets as there is no way of knowing what they will contain, and that with packaging made to look like genuine confectionary, they can be eaten by mistake.
In October 2020, 17 teenagers at La Sainte Union Catholic School (LSU) fell ill after eating gummies containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive substance in cannabis.
At the time, the police and the school both said the students had eaten “what they believed to be sweets”, and although none fell seriously ill, 17 in total were taken to hospital "as a precaution".
Scotland Yard warned parents and guardians to “be vigilant” and said officers had written to schools and partners in Camden to raise awareness of the sweets. Pupils were shown how to “spot the dangers” of the counterfeit sweets, called Medicated Nerds Rope.
They were told the sweets “contain extremely high and dangerous levels of cannabis” and that “eating one sweet is the equivalent of smoking six joints of ‘high-strength Skunk-type cannabis’ at once”.
A presentation warned that the sweets were being sold over social media such as Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok.
A 41-year-old man and a 24 year-old woman were arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis and child neglect, and were released under investigation.
The Met said this week that officers do not believe the incident was connected to another investigation which saw three members of a north London crime group sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court after they were caught selling Cannabis sweets and drinks on social media.
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On Thursday (May 12), Reo Brandon Mangal, 24, of Nazareth Gardens, Southwark, was jailed for 30 months after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply class B drugs, supply of class B drugs and being concerned in the supply class B drugs.
Olivia Butler, 24, of Evan Cook Close, Peckham, received a nine-month sentence, suspended for 24 months, after pleading guilty to possession with intent to supply class B drugs and being concerned in the supply class B drugs.
Ceroan Mangal, 35, of Pemberton Gardens, Archway, was sentenced to eight months, suspended for 24 months, after pleading guilty to possession of class B drugs and being concerned in the supply of class B drugs.
When Butler was stopped driving a car without insurance in Fortess Road, Camden last January, officers found several boxes of sweets and drinks containing THC.
Officers analysed 114,629 text messages and 67,964 photos on Butler's phone, and linked her with Reo Mangal and Ceroan Mangal. They found the group used Snapchat and Instagram to sell to customers across the UK, with the products delivered by post.
DI Darren Jones, who leads a team investigating drug offences in Camden and Islington, said: "This group brazenly thought they could get away with selling dangerous substances in plain sight on social media. The hard work of our officers has put a stop to their criminality and closed a significant supply chain.
"The impact of these substances should not be underestimated – they can cause an adverse reaction. Edibles are typically stronger than other cannabis products and it's impossible for the customer to know what ingredients have been included.
"Removing drugs and other dangerous substances from our communities is key to reducing other associated crime that happen as a result of drug dealing, such as violence and anti-social behaviour."
A separate investigation into where the group bought the products from is ongoing.