CUMBRIA has seen a dramatic rise in drug deaths during lockdown, new figures have revealed.

The county’s police force has reported a marked surge in drug-related tragedies, with fatalities being reported across the county at four times the usual rate during the lockdown months of May and June, compared to the same period last year.

So far in July, there have been six drug-related deaths.

Last year, there were three drug deaths in July.

The figures were released as police disclosed a raft of crime figures in response to a data request from the News & Star, The Mail’s sister paper.

The police force confirmed how the lockdown drove down offending in most areas of crime - though assaults on emergency workers were markedly up.

Senior officers said they were particularly concerned about the number of non Covid-related deaths, including county-wide incidences of violence.

Andy Slattery, the county’s Assistant Chief Constable, said: “In terms of demand on the police, there’s a significant demand there.

“We are concerned about number of deaths occurring in the community outside of coronavirus.”

The latest crime figures, covering from the start of lockdown on March 23 to July 10, show there were: 1,402 reports of domestic violence, compared to 1,415 last year; 148 assaults on emergency workers, compared to 95 last year; 107 fraud offences, compared to 164 last year; 183 house burglaries, compared to 302 last year; 750 violence with injury offences, compared to 1,139 last year; 767 criminal damage offences, compared to 1,319 the year before); and drugs possession offences were up, with 229 recorded compared to 150 last year.

The total number of crimes for all six local authority areas was 1,402, down slightly from the previous year of 1,415.

The number of road accidents fell during the lockdown but have now returned to a figure comparable to last year.

Reported rapes were down slightly, with 90 reported, compared to a previous figure of 95.

Ged Pickersgill, from third-sector Barrow group The Well, which supports people with addictions, said: “Our experiences in the south of the county don’t match up to the picture painted by these stats.

“As an organisation we haven’t noticed any death spikes in Barrow or the South Lakes, or anything on the scale these figures suggest. The partnership organisations here are working to do their best to help lives that have been hit by addiction, at a time when everyone is struggling.”