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Drugs at Leeds Festival 2023

417 pills and 236 grams of ket: Here’s exactly which drugs police seized at Leeds Festival 2023

It was a big year for weed confiscations


Police seized over 1,257 grams of substances and an assortment of 461 pills at Leeds Festival 2023, figures obtained by The Tab reveal.

This included 417 MDMA pills and 236 grams of ketamine as well as 160 grams of cocaine.

There were, in total, 39 drug-related arrests at Leeds this year. Of these arrests, 13 were due to possession with the intent to supply cocaine.

One arrest was due to the taking of a drug with intent to commit an indictable offence. This means that the drug was taken with the intention of committing a more serious crime that will be tried in court such as murder, robbery, rape, or death by dangerous driving.

A Freedom of Information request by The Tab reveals that West Yorkshire Police confiscated:

  • 799 grams of weed
  • 417 MDMA pills
  • 27 grams of MDMA
  • 160 grams of cocaine
  • 236 grams of ketamine
  • 31 pills of 2-CB
  • 13 diazepam pills
  • 6 grams of 2-CB powder
  • 29 grams of magic mushrooms
  • 4 weed edibles

These figures don’t include people who had a small amount of drugs and were simply kicked out.

In total there were 110 arrests at Leeds Festival 2023. Besides drug arrests, nine people were arrested for sexual assault as well as arrests for arson, grievous bodily harm and robbery.

In the festival’s drug policy it says: “This festival does not condone the use of drugs. It is illegal to buy, sell or take drugs. Drugs enforcement laws are as applicable onsite as anywhere else in the UK.

‘We want our festival-goers to know above all else that we are here to help and you can come to us for help without fear of getting in trouble.”

“Ecstasy deaths appear to be rising year on year. There appears to be a link with the amount of MDMA found in tablets more recently. In 2005 each pill contained around 80mg of MDMA. Some recent pills have tested upwards of 250mg MDMA. This could be firmly in the fatal overdose range. A combination of factors are at play such as bodyweight, hormone levels, mixing with other drugs including alcohol, underlying health and so on. There is no safe dose.”

Sniffer dogs were used at the entrance to the Bramham Park festival this year after a teenager died from taking ecstasy he bought at the festival in 2022. 16-year-old David Celino died in hospital on the 28th August 2022. His cause of death was recorded as serotonin syndrome and drug intoxication.

Drug testing was also employed at Leeds Festival this year. Head of Festival Republic which owns Leeds Fest, Melvin Benn, told BBC Radio Berkshire he was “confident” Leeds and Reading’s testing arrangements “meet all the government requirements”.

West Yorkshire Police said: “Please not that we do not deploy resources on routine patrol of public areas at the Leeds Festival site. Leeds Festival is a commercial event that takes place on private property and is licensed by the local authority. The Promoter employs a large number of private security staff and stewards and is able to satisfy the requirements of the licensing authority.”

Leeds Festival has been contacted for comment. 

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