Drug users have been warned over a dangerous batch of cocaine after a 22-year-old man died at a birthday party in Essex.

Police arrested three men, two aged 20 and one aged 35, on drugs offences following the death.

The 22-year old man and a 20-year-old woman were at a property on Egerton Green Road in Colchester​ on Friday night when they became ill, police said.

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The pair were taken to hospital shortly before 3am on Saturday, where the man died.

Essex Police said the death was being treated as unexplained, but warned drugs could be circulating that “pose a direct threat to the safety of those who’ve bought them and are using them”.

The woman remained in hospital in a stable condition and was assisting officers with their investigation, the force said, adding there were a number of other people at the address who were also helping with their enquiries.

Two of the men who were arrested, aged 20 and 35, were questioned then released under investigation.

The third man to be arrested remained in custody after being arrested on suspicion of supplying drugs.

Detective Inspector Kev Hughes, of Colchester CID, said: “We are concerned there may be a potentially dangerous batch of drugs being sold in the area which pose a direct threat to the safety of those who’ve bought them and are using them.

“We understand members of a birthday party were out drinking in the Shrub End area of Colchester yesterday, at some point during the evening cocaine was purchased and taken by some people at the party.

“I have concerns for the safety of anyone whom may have bought cocaine in Colchester or surrounding areas in the last 24 hours or so, and would appeal to you not to take it. If you have taken any drugs and start to feel unwell please seek medical attention.

“Please dispose of your drugs in a safe manner, or better still, tell us where you purchased them, so we can find those responsible and remove these drugs from circulation. Please call us to help get these drugs of our streets.”

Members of the public can call Colchester CID on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.