A man suspected of swallowing class A drugs has today (Saturday, February 10) broken the British record for spending the most days in custody while police wait for him to go to the toilet.
Essex Police said there was "no update" on the 24-year-old suspected gang member as he entered the 23rd day held under constant supervision.
Medical experts say there is a small chance of his bowels bursting but a force spokesman refused to provide daily updates.
Followers from as far afield as Holland have been logging on to the police's Twitter feed for updates.
Day 21/3 weeks for our man on #poowatch still no movements/items to report, he will remain with us until Friday when we are back at court where we will be requesting a further 8 days should he not produce anything before that hearing #opraptorhttps://t.co/SqeD9keiyA
— Op Raptor West (@OpRaptorWest) February 7, 2018
Police say there won't be an update on his condition "until he has done what we need him to do".
The man who police have not named was arrested on January 17 on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs.
He is alleged to have swallowed the drugs while trying to avoid being arrested and cops are keeping him locked up until the evidence naturally leaves his body.
Following his arrest, policing team Op Raptor West tweeted to say: "London gang nominal arrested for failing to stop for police and possession with intent to supply class A drugs, male doesn't think we have the power to keep him until he removes said items from his bottom."
But more than three weeks later, the team based at Harlow police station, Essex, are still waiting.
They took to Twitter again earlier this week to say: "Day 20 is coming to an end and still no movement, sorry for the delay in updates the team are busy covering this and other ongoing investigations".
— Op Raptor West (@OpRaptorWest) February 6, 2018
Operation Raptor West is Essex Police's gang and urban street crime unit for Harlow, Epping Forest, Brentwood and Thurrock districts.
The unnamed man is undergoing daily medical tests but research shows that holding back on going to the toilet for a long time might not be as bad as you think.
Trish Macnair, from the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology said: "There's only so long you can hang on.
"You won't get a devastating build up of toxins that can poison the body in such a short space of time.
"You're just going to get a lot of uncomfortable stretching of intestinal tubes.
"This is an acute situation, not chronic.
"Ultimately, things will move through the bowel and it'll empty itself. Most people have been there."
She explains the longer you go without excreting the more uncomfortable it is going to be.
Trish said: "The suspect will feel his bowel moving, trying to empty. He'll be holding his sphincter tight."
Officers have claimed the man is also refusing to eat, but Trish has explained that fasting will not prevent the suspect from doing what is natural.
Trish said: "Even if you're not eating, the bowel will still move. That's because only about a third of what you find in faeces is food debris.
"A lot of it is dead, friendly bacteria and the lining of the bowel which is constantly shedding, like skin. Plus, lots of fluid.
Trish says there is a small risk of the bowel swelling and bursting.
But in a young, healthy person, you'd expect the bowel to empty itself before that happened.
Trish adds: "I'm amazed he's held on for so long. It's only a matter of time."
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