The father of a 12-year-old boy was “sick” to discover four tablets of what he believed to be ecstasy in the manual of a pre-owned copy of Grand Theft Auto 4.
Richard Thornhill of the U.K. said the plastic-wrapped pills were inside the game’s manual and fell out when he opened the package. He made the discovery after he and his brother each purchased a pre-owned copy of Grand Theft Auto 4 from his local Gamestation in Cheltenham.
“I was going to put it away and a felt a lump on the front cover. Inside the instruction booklet was a ball of shrink-wrap, or clingfilm,” he told the Metro. “I thought it was just a ball of clingfilm, but then I realized there were tablets inside. I instantly felt sick. They had Mitsubishi signs on them, which I recalled meant they were ecstasy pills. I wasn’t 100% sure though, so I checked online and sure enough I was right – it was ecstasy.”
When he contacted Gamestation, store personnel initially denied responsibility and told him to just destroy the pills. Eventually Thornhill called police instead, who took the pills but unfortunately destroyed them without testing them. “It was more than likely they were ecstasy pills,” a police spokeswoman said.
Gamestation has apologized to Thornhill and issued a statement saying, “We have rigorous procedures for accepting pre-owned titles and checking them before they are put back on sale. We have launched an immediate investigation and we will work closely with police to find out what happened in this instance.”
Thornhill has nonetheless called for stricter policies regarding used game sales. “What made me feel the most distraught was the fact we let our 12-year-old son play the game. Worst case scenario is he could have swallowed those pills,” he said. “He plays racing games as well, which have Mitsubishi cars in them, so he could have just thought they were something fun – like sweets.”