Tributes paid to tragic Poppy Rodgers, 16

Two arrested after death of girl, 16, in Tang Hall

The scene in Tang Hall Lane, York

The scene in Tang Hall Lane, York

First published in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , jennifer.bell@thepress.co.uk

Updated: A 16-YEAR-OLD who died in York in an apparent drugs-related tragedy was a “popular” and “well-regarded girl”, said her former headmaster.

Poppy Rodgers was taken to York hospital in the early hours of yesterday after becoming critically ill in a house in Tang Hall Lane.

The York College student later died in hospital and a 23-year-old local man was arrested on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug.

A 26-year-old woman was also arrested in connection with the incident, which The Press understands to have involved amphetamine drugs.

A 21-year-old man was also taken to hospital where his condition last night was described as “serious, but stable”.

York College spokeswoman Jill Sissons said: “We are saddened to hear of the death of Poppy Rodgers.”

“The College was working with Poppy to engage her in education and our thoughts go out to her friends and family.”

Poppy formerly studied at Norton College and at King James’s School, in Knaresborough, where head teacher Carl Sugden described the news as “still very raw”.

He said Poppy was a “well thought-of” student who left the school last year,. He said: “We are all desperately saddened by this news, which is still filtering out in the school.

“Poppy was a well-regarded girl and was popular and had a good group of friends.”

Police were stationed at the house overnight and a police community support officer was on the scene throughout yesterday.

Neighbour Tom Gibson said: “It is tragic – absolutely appalling. We have three kids and the fact that this girl, just a little older than our youngest, could have died in this way is just so sad. She always seemed such a pleasant lass.”

He said he had heard loud music from the house at about 10pm followed by fireworks released in the garden, at the back of the property. He then heard an ambulance arrive just after midnight.

Simon Moss, who lives opposite the house and is the chairman of the Tang Hall residents’ association, also reported hearing “a lot of police activity”.

He said: “I heard police sirens just after midnight after an alarm went off. There are always sirens going off here.

“It seems there is some kind of trouble more often than not. The fact that it is connected to drugs does not surprise me in this area. You get all sorts of things going on – but you still don’t expect this thing to happen on your doorstep. I have seen the girl around and she always seemed pleasant. It is such a shame.”

The front window of the house was broken and local residents said a sofa had been hurled though the window about a week ago. Local councillor Neil Barnes said he and fellow Hull Road councillor Fiona Fitzpatrick were shocked by the news.

Coun Barnes said: “This is incredibly sad news to hear and a shock for the Tang Hall community. For someone’s life to end at such a young age is a real tragedy.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “Police were called by the ambulance service to a report of a critically-ill 16 year-old female who they had collected from an address in the Tang Hall area of the city. Sadly, this young girl passed away despite the efforts of hospital staff.”

The two people arrested remained in police custody last night. Police said a yellow/white paste was involved in the case which was undergoing tests to determine its content, although amphetamine is thought to be involved.

A force spokesman said: “Until this is confirmed, people are strongly urged not to risk taking substances matching this description or of a similar nature. One girl has already died and a young man is in a serious but stable condition at hospital, so the potential dangers are very real."

Police said Poppy’s next of kin had been informed and they were coming to terms with the 16-year-old’s death.

Anyone with any information is asked to phone police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

A spokeswoman for FRANK, the national drugs information service, said: “Amphetamine is addictive, cut with all sorts of chemicals. It is a stimulant, which keeps people awake and alert. Taking these drugs can lead to side-effects including anxiety, depression, irritability and aggression; and in a few cases can lead to paranoia and being suicidal.”

She said the FRANK helpline received 46,330 drug-related calls in 2010/11 – an 8.35 per cent decrease when compared to 09/10 when they received 50,553 calls.

Help on the end of phone

Anyone who has concerns about a child or young person who is vulnerable or at risk of harm can call City of York Council’s Youth Support Services’ Children’s Front Door on 01904 551900 or email: childrensfrontdoor@york.gov.uk. Young adults aged 16 to 25 can get free and confidential information, support, advice and counselling by phoning FRANK 24 hours a day on 0800 77 66 00, or visit talktofrank.com.

You can also text a question to 82111. Or drop in to Youth Support Services, 29 Castlegate, York YO1 9RN, phone 01904 555400 or go to 29castlegate.org.

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