FIVE schoolchildren from Oldham have been taken to hospital after inhaling fake vaping liquids which contained the drug "spice".

Police and health bosses have warned parents and youngsters not to buy or use liquids that dealers are wrongly selling as a natural cannabis-based “THC vape” but which contain spice instead.

It comes after the NHS revealed that a five youngsters were hospitalised in two separate cases in Oldham, with the drug causing dangerous and unpredictable effects.

There have been a further four confirmed incidents across Bury, Oldham and Rochdale since February leading to at least nine young people receiving hospital treatment.

Although none have suffered long-term health effects, experts are warning that the effects of using spice may prove fatal.

Tests conducted on samples used in two of the incidents confirmed that the drug added to the vaping liquid are the same chemical compounds found in spice - a synthetic compound which can cause users to become like "zombies".

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

Dr Prun Bijral is a member of the panel and medical director of CGL, a national drug charity that supports young people in Greater Manchester.

He said: “Inhaling even a single vape of this type of drug in this way for a young person with no tolerance is highly likely to lead to negative physical and mental effects.

“Young people who buy this product thinking it will have an effect similar to natural cannabis are not only being ripped off, they are also putting themselves and their friends in real danger.”

Michael Linnell, a drugs use expert who coordinates the multi-agency Greater Manchester Drug Alerts Panel, added: “The risk of vaping ‘spice’ is far more dangerous than from a natural cannabis product.

“It is difficult for even experienced spice users to judge dosage and unintentionally administering a toxic dose is common. Severe poisoning is far more common with synthetic cannabinoids than with cannabis and in some cases, the poisoning may even be fatal.”

Anyone considering using this product is strongly advised not to. Using drugs alone is also more dangerous than with friends who are able to call an ambulance if necessary.

Anyone who is with a person who has collapsed as a result of taking this drug should call an ambulance and place them in the recovery position in order to avoid them choking on their own vomit.

Two different forms of the drug have been recovered. One came in 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’ or ‘cannabis oil’. This product is also sometimes sold as “cannabis vape juice”. THC is a reference to the main chemical in the cannabis plant that leads to the “high” from the drug.

Greater Manchester Police are investigating but no arrests have been made at this time.

Anyone with information in relation to where these “THC vapes” are being created or stored is encouraged to contact GMP by reporting it via the LiveChat function on the GMP website or by calling 101, and always dial 999 in an emergency.