MORE than 40 hours of CCTV footage and 20 witness statements have been taken for a probe into six suspected drug related deaths.

Three men and three women died between 28 July and 30 July in Southend, Leigh, Benfleet, Westcliff and Canvey.

Police are investigating whether they are linked and our focus remains on Class A drugs.

Tests to establish what substance or drugs are involved have been sent to an external organisation and the results are expected in the coming days.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Baldwin said: “Enquiries into the circumstances around the six tragic deaths last week are continuing and we have a dedicated team working around the clock.

“To date we’ve taken more than 20 witness statements and recovered 40 hours of CCTV.

“We’re examining more than 15 weeks-worth of data from more than a dozen mobile phones.

“We’re expecting the results of the tests to identify which substances or drugs may be involved in these deaths in the coming days.

“Until we have those results we won’t be speculating about which substances or drugs may or may not be involved or how they might have been administered.

“Speculation is not helpful to our investigation and could lead to people being misinformed about the situation which could cost further lives.

“We continue to work with our partners including the NHS, Public Health England, Southend and Castle Point and Rochford CCGs, and our local authority partners to ensure we’re doing all we can to protect our communities.

“Our work to tackle drugs and drug dealing in south Essex and across the county never stops. Our Operation Raptor teams are prolific in targeting, disrupting and bringing to justice those who are targeting vulnerable members our communities and selling.”

A Public Health England spokesman said: “We are urging drug users to be extra careful about what they are taking. We strongly advise them not to use alone and to test a small amount first.

“They need to look out for each other and be alert to any signs of an overdose, such as lack of consciousness, shallow or no breathing, ‘snoring’, and blueing of the lips and fingertips.

“They should immediately call for an ambulance and use any available naloxone if someone overdoses on opioids. We strongly advise all dependent drug users to get support from local drug services.

A spokesman for NHS England said: “Anyone who is concerned about a medical problem and isn’t sure what to do, can get help online or over the phone using NHS 111.

“Visit or call 111 from your phone for advice. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“If it is a medical emergency – if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk – call 999.”

Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.