(File photo) Police said the have never seen crystallised version of Spice before Wikimedia

Police have made an "extremely worrying" discovery that 10 people who were hospitalised after taking what they thought was MDMA had in fact ingested a new and more potent crystallised form of the synthetic drug Spice.

Nine men and one woman were taken to hospital after falling ill after taking the drug in Oldham, Greater Manchester on 24 June. Police believed at the time that they had consumed a form of the Class A drug known as Pink Champagne.

Police now believe the drug was in fact a synthetic cannabis like the "zombie drug" that is mistakenly being sold as MDMA.

Chief superintendent Neil Evans from GMP's Oldham and Rochdale boroughs, said: "This is the first time we have seen Spice in crystalised, and much more potent and unrefined form and it's now being mistakenly taken as MDMA. This is extremely worrying.

"Anyone thinking of taking MDMA must seriously consider what they are doing.

"You may feel that you know and accept the risks of taking MDMA, but you never know what you are actually taking and the reaction your body could have to it.

"Last weekend a number of people suffered life-threatening side-effects after they took what they believed was MDMA. This weekend, before you think about taking MDMA or 'Spice', think, is your life really worth it?"

A 26-year-old man arrested on suspicion of supplying Class A drugs has since been released under investigation.

Anyone with information can call police on 0161 856 9063 alternatively via 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

spice homeless
Man seen suffering the 'catatonic' effects of the psychoactive drug Spice