DRUGS officers swooped on Langlee this week following a deadly batch of heroin hitting the streets of Galashiels.

A 52-year-old man was arrested an appeared in private at Selkirk Sheriff Court yesterday (Tuesday) afternoon accused of dealing in the class A drug.

John Tunnicliffe is alleged to have been concerned in the supply of heroin from his Hawthorn Road home between Monday, November 1 and Monday, December 4.

He is also charged with possession of cannabis and breaching a bail order.

Tunnicliffe made no plea and the case was continued for further examination.

Sheriff Derrick McIntyre refused a motion for bail and Tunnicliffe was remanded in custody.

He is expected to appear in court again next Wednesday.

The arrest comes after a potent blend of heroin and lethal painkiller hit the streets over the weekend.

Fentanyl - which is used in skin patch or nasal spray form for the terminally ill - is 50 times more potent that heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

And it has already been responsible for the deaths of around 100 heroin users in the UK this year.

Health chiefs and police believe a batch of heroin which came into the Borders last week either arrived with the painkiller already mixed, or was cut before being sold on.

Fenantyl is so lethal that it can be fatal even to touch.

And investigating officers required protective clothing on Monday as they forced their way into the property on Hawthorn Road and raked through outside bins.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Police are have carried out a search warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act at an address in Galashiels on Monday.

"There is no threat to the public, however to ensure officer safety, officers have entered the property in protective clothing as a precaution."

Tests are being carried out on recovered samples of heroin from the weekend for traces of Fentanyl.

Dr Tim Paterson, joint director of public health in the Borders, told us: "Tests are currently underway to establish the active ingredients in a batch of opiate like drugs which are thought to have led to the admission of a number of people to the Borders General Hospital over the weekend.

"There are significant risks associated with this batch which is believed to have been circulating in the Galashiels area.

"Those in contact with injecting drug users should be alert to the increased possibility of overdose arising from opiates."

Symptoms of overdosing include trouble breathing, tiredness, extreme sleepiness or sedation, inability to think, walk, or talk normally, and feeling either faint, dizzy, or confused.

Chris Faldon, nurse consultant in health protection at NHS Borders, added: "Be prepared to call 999 immediately for an ambulance if someone overdoses and administer Naloxone - the drug used to reverse the effects of heroin overdoses - if available and competent to do so."

Police don't believe the death of 33-year-old David Connolly at a house in Winston Place on Friday was connected to the Fentanyl cut heroin.

A Police Scotland spokesman added: "The death is being treated as unexplained but not suspicious and a report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal."