A MAN has been talked down from the top of two multi-storey car parks by police in two days after experiencing psychotic episodes while under the influence of an illegal drug nicknamed ‘Crystal’.
The 36-year-old man, who took four hours to calm down by officers while on top of Fleming Way car park on Thursday, caused chaos in the town centre yesterday when Farnsby Street was shut for almost two hours from 3.35pm while officers negotiated him down from Brunel West car park.
The man was said to be experiencing hallucinations including that people were chasing him, and once officers got him down he was arrested under section 136 of the Mental Health Act, allowing officers to take him to a place of safety.
A police spokesman confirmed he had earlier been bailed by Swindon Magistrates’ Court, having been arrested on Thursday.
Earlier this week Wiltshire Police’s Dedicated Crime Team (DCT) made two seizures of the drug, a white powder and suspected cathinone-compound nicknamed ‘Crystal’ due to similarities with the effects of the class-A drug crystal methamphetamine.
Sergeant Scott Hargreave said he believes officers have recovered the majority of the drug circulating in Swindon and warned people to stay away from the so called ‘legal high’, which is actually class B.
Sgt Hargreave, who heads up the force’s drugs team, said: “People are playing Russian Roulette with their lives by taking these unknown substances because they have no idea what’s in them.
“The guy was coaxed down from the car park and we believe we found the same white powder in a bag at the scene as that which we recovered earlier in the week. There was not much left, not even half a gram.
“He was suffering extreme paranoia and hallucinating that people were chasing him. He was completely chaotic - it was bizarre.
“We believe we have recovered the majority of it now but there may still be some out there and available on the internet so I urge people not to go near it.”
The substance, which police believe has been imported over the internet, is likened to crystal meth as it caused hallucinations and euphoria but it also causes users to re-medicate constantly. This can cause users to stay awake for five or six days and can lead to severe psychosis and paranoia.
There have been two other incidents involving individuals believed to have taken ‘Crystal’, including a 26-year-old man who was picked up by officers after experiencing hallucinations in Victoria Road at around 10pm on Wednesday and a 28-year-old man being talked down from 100ft scaffolding outside Aspen House at 2am on Wednesday.
Sgt Hargreave added: “People who have taken these can become violent and there have been threats of violence to officers – members of the public should call emergency services if they come across someone in this state and approach with caution.”
Anyone with information about illegal or legal drugs in Swindon is asked to contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.