A major incident has been declared over a bad batch of drugs said to be causing serious illness.

Police have said there is “significant concern for welfare” and advised anyone who thinks they may have taken the drug – believed to be heroin – to call 999 for advice.

The batch is circulating in North Devon and police are working with the South Western Ambulance Service to assess and manage the situation.

It is believed the drug is a particularly strong batch.

In an update that has been reshared by Cornwall Council, North and West Devon Police said: “Urgent. There is a bad patch of believed heroin going around North Devon. It is making people very ill.

“We have declared a Major Incident. Please check on any known drug users. Do not take any controlled substances.”

LPA Commander Toby Davies went on to add: “We are working with South West Ambulance to a number of concerns for welfare in our area.

“This is believed to be linked to a strong batch of heroin being taken by users.

“We are advising drug users to exercise extreme caution. If a drug user is concerned, call 999 and seek guidance.”

Devon and Cornwall Police has also issued a statement saying: “Police in North Devon are currently working with South West Ambulance Service following reports of a number of concerns for welfare in the area.

“These are believed to be related to the taking of illegal drugs, believed to be heroin, and the strength of the drug being circulated locally.

“While there is no wider concerns to the North Devon community, we are advising drug users to exercise extreme caution as there is significant concern for welfare.

“If any member of the community or any drug user is concerned, we would ask they call 999 to seek the appropriate guidance and assistance.”