THREE school children were taken to hospital by paramedics after taking a ‘legal high’ at Beamont Collegiate Academy.

The teenagers - all believed to be 16 - fell ill after smoking ‘Happy Joker’, a kind of incense blend ‘not for human consumption’.

An ambulance was called at 11.46am on Monday by staff at the school on Long Lane.

All three male pupils were discharged quickly from Warrington Hospital.

Following the incident, principal Andrew Moorcroft called for ‘tighter controls’ over the sale of ‘legal highs’.

Mr Moorcroft said: “We operate a zero tolerance policy to any legal or illegal substances of this type.

“These boys have been dealt with via our disciplinary policy.

“This is only an isolated incident, however I would call for much tighter controls over these products and I would urge any retailer to consider the sometimes tragic consequences of supplying this product in the future.”

Letters have been sent to parents to warn over the misuse of legal or illegal drugs, he added.

Following an inquiry from the Warrington Guardian, officers from Cheshire Police spoke to school officials.

Sgt Jackie May, of Warrington Central NPU, said as ‘Happy Joker’ is not a controlled substance, nothing criminal had occurred.

She said dealing with the issue internally was ‘appropriate’, but also warned against the dangers of ‘legal highs’.

Even though chemicals have not been outlawed, they can still pose a serious health risk, police say.

“We discourage anybody from taking a legal high,” said Sgt May.

“We are working with the school to minimise this kind of incident in the future.”

Ste Leah, from Orford, is a parent to one of the boys involved in the incident.

He said: “When I heard he had gone to hospital, I didn’t know if he was still with us, because of what I’d seen on the news.

“He said it made him feel lifeless.”