ESSEX police say there is a dedicated team of officers who are "working round the clock" to investigate the circumstances around six drug deaths in south Essex.

Tests to identify exactly what substance or substances involved have still not been completed but police say they are well underway.

The investigation was launched after three men and three women died in south Essex between Sunday July 28 and Tuesday July 30.

Ch Supt Kevin Baldwin said: “Our dedicated team of officers are continuing to work around the clock to establish the circumstances around these deaths and this investigation is progressing well.

“Our focus continues to be on what if any link there is between these deaths and what substances these people have taken which could have caused their deaths.

"Specialist tests are being carried out to establish what substances are involved. But these tests are complex and may take some time to complete.

“We continue, as we do every day, to target those supplying illegal drugs.

“We are also working with our partners including the NHS, Public Health England, Southend and Castle Point and Rochford CCG’s to ensure we are all doing all we can to protect our communities.

“We are also continuing to work with colleagues in drug and alcohol support and advisory services to ensure drug users have received alerts and information about the situation to protect them.

“We continue to urge people not to take, buy or sell Class A drugs. - this is for your own safety.

“We know that people may increase their drug useage over a weekend so it’s really important people are taking all the steps they can to make sure they are protecting themselves.

“Until we have the results of these tests we’re not going to speculate about what might or might not be involved.

“Speculation is not helpful to our investigation and could lead to people being misinformed about the situation which could cost further lives.”

If you have any information about the deaths or the sale of Class A drugs - in south Essex or elsewhere across the county - please call Essex Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

The force continues to advise anyone who has taken Class A drugs and feels unwell or concerned to seek medical advice.