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Warning over Snapchat grooming ploy after man asks child to ‘test vape pen’

Jul 18, 2019

Parents are being warned of a new Snapchat grooming ploy where youngsters are asked to 'test vape pens' in exchange for money.

Ridgeway High School in Wirral has confirmed one of its students was targeted in the sick scheme last week.

The Year 8 youngster was contacted by a man on the popular app who then asked the child to test a vape pen for a period of time.

In exchange the man said he would give 'a large sum of money'.

Fortunately, the student's parents became aware of what was happening and informed the school, which has since contacted other relevant services.

In a letter sent by deputy headteacher Liz Williams, she wrote: "I need to share with you a safeguarding incident that took place in school last week.

"A Year 8 student was contacted by an adult male via Snapchat. He asked the child to test a vape pen for a period of time in return for a large sum of money.

"Fortunately, parents noticed this immediately and informed the school."

Ms Williams added: "We are currently focusing our character education sessions on keeping safe over the summer holidays, including revisiting the dangers of social media.

"Our advice to parents over the summer holidays has not changed; inform the police of any suspicious or unusual contact on social media. Any type of gifting is potentially grooming."

Meanwhile as we reported earlier this week, nine children collapsed after unknowingly inhaling Spice vape in Greater Manchester.

Two incidents in the Oldham area led to five school-age children being rushed to hospital.

Other incidents between February and June took place in Rochdale and Bury.

None of the youths suffered long-term health effects, but chief medics have issued a public alert to avoid buying or using a fake natural cannabis-based "THC vape".

Two different forms of the drug have been recovered – one came in a 10ml e-liquid bottle, while the other was a ready-filled e-cigarette cartridge.

The drugs have been sold as "THC vape juice", "THC vape pens", "THC oil", "cannabis oil" or "cannabis vape juice".

Tests conducted on samples used in two of the incidents confirmed the drug added to the vaping liquid are the same chemical compounds found in Spice.

The health warning has been issued on behalf of the Greater Manchester Drug Alerts Panel, which brings together police, NHS, local authorities and drug user support agencies.

Panel member Dr Prun Bijral said: "It is very worrying that we have seen half a dozen incidents of young people collapsing and having to be taken to hospital after vaping these products.

"Fortunately it does not seem likely they will suffer any long-term harm, but we don't want to see anyone else affected, particularly as we approach the school summer holidays.

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