By Chris Udochukwu
A 16-year-old boy has died after taking a suspected ecstasy tablet and falling ill at Leeds Festival, police have said.
The teenager is believed to have taken a pill containing MDMA which police said was grey or black and oblong in shape on Saturday night at the three-day event.
He soon became unwell and was taken to the medical tent on the site at around 10pm, before being taken to hospital where he died on Sunday, West Yorkshire Police said.
It is believed to have been an isolated incident, according to the force.
The boy’s parents have been informed.
Assistant Chief Constable Catherine Hankinson said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the boy who has died, and we have officers supporting them at this very difficult time.
“While the exact cause of his death is yet to be established, one line of inquiry is that he had taken a particular type of ecstasy (MDMA) tablet, which was described as a grey or black oblong shape.
“At this moment in time this is believed to be an isolated incident as we have not received any similar reports.
“Users of any drug which is not professionally prescribed can never be sure of their contents and the risks involved with taking the substance.
“Anyone who does feel ill after taking any substance should seek urgent medical attention.”
“We are continuing to conduct inquiries on site and are liaising closely with the event organisers.”
Festival forced to delay plans for drug testing
Earlier this year, the organisers of Leeds Festival said they had been forced to delay plans to provide drug-testing facilities on site after failing to get “sufficient support” from the city council.
A scheme is run by The Loop, a drugs safety charity, allowing festivalgoers to hand over a sample of their drugs to a tent for the substances to be tested.
They are told what their drugs actually contain, which the charity says often deters individuals from taking them. The sample provided by festivalgoers is destroyed.
The charity is testing at eight other festivals this summer.
Melvin Benn, the managing director of Festival Republic, which organises the Reading and Leeds festivals every year, said in March he had not received “sufficient support from Leeds City Council” and, consequently, “without adequate testing people don’t know what they are buying”.
Leeds City Council responded at the time by saying no formal application had been made by organisers, but a discussion had taken place between Festival Republic and a group that advises on safety at public events.
‘No safe way to take prohibited drugs’
Following news of the teenager’s death, Festival Republic said it was “working closely” with police to help with their investigation and that they “take all reports of incidents where drug use is suspected seriously”.
Mr Benn said in a statement: “We are truly saddened about this tragedy and our sincerest thoughts are with the family at this time.
“We are working closely with West Yorkshire Police to assist with their investigation and take all reports of incidents where drug use is suspected seriously.
“The safety and wellbeing of all our festival goers is always our absolute priority and we remind all festival goers that there is no safe way to take prohibited drugs and there are no safe prohibited drugs.”
Saturday’s headliners at Leeds included Dave, Little Simz and Megan Thee Stallion.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police or security on site, call 101, or visit the West Yorkshire Police website.(Telegraph)