Soldier death probe arrest

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A teenager has been arrested on suspicion of supplying drugs as part of an investigation into the death of a former Bentham soldier.

Police are investigating the possibility that Simon Wilcock, 24, may have taken small blue pills which are circulating in the area before his death at a house on Hillside Road, Low Bentham, shortly before midnight on January 5.

An 18-year-old Bentham man has been arrested on suspicion of supplying class A and B drugs and has been released on bail while the inquiry continues.

And police are warning drug users in the Craven area against taking the small blue pills after a number of people suffered severe reactions.

Simon, a single dad of one who lived with his mum in Grasmere Drive, Bentham, served in Iraq in 2007, but fell into a spiral of depression after breaking his ankle back in the UK in 2011.

The injury meant he was unable to fly out with the Royal Dragoon Guards to Afghanistan. and he got involved with the wrong crowd.

Simon, who grew up in Brookhouse was kicked out of the army in 2011 after getting caught with drugs in Morecambe, deepening his depression.

A post-mortem examination into his death was inconclusive and police are awaiting toxicology test results.

Simon was laid to rest on Wednesday at the Methodist Church in High Bentham.

Ms Wilcock said she would now make it “her mission” to ensure that no other local family had to go through the same heartache.

“I want to make sure people know the signs – even smoking weed can lead to something else,” she said.

“Simon used to be so anti-drugs he used to say ‘look at those losers’.”

She added that drugs were ‘rife’ in Bentham.

“You would be amazed, but people come from Lancaster to get drugs in Bentham,” she said.

“The police will say they have not got the evidence, that they haven’t got the manpower and the funds, but they need to do more.”

Det Insp Pete Martin of Skipton CID, insisted that Bentham had “no greater problem” with drugs than any other town or city.

Calling on the community to work with police to tackle the problem, he said: “The stark reality is that drugs are present in our communities and, worryingly, are often not far from our own doorsteps.

“The secretive nature of drug use and drug dealing means that drug crime is rarely reported to the police in the way other crimes, such as burglary and assault are.”

Insp Will Scarlett, of Craven Rural Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “It is not known exactly what these small blue pills are at this stage, and they are currently being analysed to find out what they contain. However we do know that they can be extremely harmful. The pills may be passed off as a well known drug to the unsuspecting buyer.”

Insp Scarlett urged anyone with knowledge of the pills to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers in confidence on 0800 555111.

Anyone who feels unwell after taking the pills should contact their GP or hospital and show them or describe what they have had immediately.