Report: Dad Finds Ecstasy Tablets in Used Copy of Grand Theft Auto

A British man who purchased a pair of used Grand Theft Auto games discovered what appeared to be ecstasy tablets wrapped in plastic and hidden in one of the game manuals.

The Telegraph reports that Richard Thornhill, 34, bought the second-hand games at a GameStation in Gloucestershire:

When I opened the box up, the cling film wrap fell out. I could not believe it. I have two children and my son plays Xbox all the time. He could easily have opened the box and found them.

I dread to think what the consequences would have been if he had. He is only 12. He could have died. It was a pre-used game, but that should not make a difference. My wife is beside herself over this because she keeps thinking about what could have happened and so do I.

The retailer and local police are investigating.

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  1. Stealthguy says:

    Hey, you too? Well lets go then! I don’t know about you but I don’t think I’d make it through the front door with all my "knowledge"!


  2. mdo7 says:


    That’s true, after watching CSI (all series) for three years.  Now I can lift fingerprints.  Do complicated forensic sciences, wearing a cool sunglasses, quote famous quote from famous character like how Grissom do it, able to track down character, and other stuff that no one can do.  Sign me up to be a detectives/Crime Scene unit investigators. 

  3. Stealthguy says:

    Whether he’d have the knowledge or presences of mind to even look for those on the other hand…

    Could of been a knee jerk reaction, "Ohnoes! Drugs, in my videogames?!"

    On a completely unrelated note, do you know what Rabbit Transit and Stampead where?

  4. garrett says:

    So this was reported to the police, telling us that Dad doesn’t do drugs, or at least "what appears to be ecstasy."

    Things he wouldn’t have reported would have been a large wad of cash, jewlery, a sealed a jar of trans-fat, or a screener copy of Wolverine.

  5. G-Meister says:

    Ah, the old "Happy Meal, with extra happy" gig, eh? Maybe the dad inadvertently gave a wink or a nudge and walked away with a little more than he was expecting?

  6. chadachada321 says:

    Now hang on, I was playing M-rated games at 12 years old, and this father seems very in-depth in the raising of his child. He would know better than anyone what is appropriate for his children. He surely knows that GTA has killing and yada yada in it.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  7. Nocturne says:

    I prefer second-hand after those incredibly annoying Pre-Owned GameStation adverts.

    But pre-used…. yeah never heard that one. Maybe it’s Gloucetershire thing?

  8. Wormdundee says:

     Yep, I’ll have to agree with you, that’s pretty idiotic of you to say that.

    What’s up with the people asking why he got this game for his son, and left it lying around for his son to find? Nowhere in the article does it state that he bought the game for any of his children. And really, he’s 12 years old, he should know not to be shoving random pills down his throat.

    It’s a little thing called natural selection.

  9. Saxy says:

    Call me a conspiracy theorist, but what if the dad is only using the box as an excuse for why there’s ectasy in his house? Maybe he was worried he’d be found out, so he set up a plot to take the suspicion off of himself.

  10. Monte says:

    Heh, well joking aside… the article doesn’t mention when he realized what kind of drugs they were, but it does say that he brought them down to the police station

  11. TK n Happy Ness says:

    If it was Chinatown Wars, that would make some sense since ecstasy is one of the drugs you can sell.

    When Jack Thompson runs his mouth, does anyone really care what he has to say anymore?

  12. MrKlorox says:

    Would be great to find stuff like that in used games.

    WTF is he doing leaving GTA4 where his 12 and younger sons could get it?

  13. Sharzai says:

    I would advise not shopping at the store again, at least for used games. Seems like the kind of thing that a store employee would catch when checking to make sure the game works. Congrats to the dad for checking out the game before letting his children play the game.



    Life doesn’t always make sense. If it did it would be boring.

  14. mdo7 says:


    English are different in US, Britain, Ireland, and Scotland.  They don’t usually say the same word as we do.


    Subway in America, Tubes in England

    Guys is used in US, Chaps is used in England, and Lads are used in Ireland.


    This is an example of how language all though the same can be different in other countries.  Spanish spoken in South America and Spain are not exactly the same.  Come on, people  this is how geography and culture works.

  15. Icehawk says:

    Joke aside it could all to easily have happened at an EB/GS.  Many of their used games do not come with the manuals (some without the boxes for that matter) so the .docs tend not to get checked as carefully as they should.    Methinks that will change here shortly. 

  16. RonnieBarzel says:

    Had this been at an EB/GameStop, the sales staff would’ve asked him if he wanted to trade in those tablets toward a reservation of ‘Madden 10.’

  17. Monte says:

    Maybe he didn’t know but took them down to the police station out of concern… at the station there would be likely to be somebody who could identify what kind of drugs they were and inform him.

  18. HarmlessBunny says:

    I have no doubt he will. I’m somewhat surprised he hasn’t blamed the global economy problems on video games. 😛

  19. Badluck1313 says:

    I just have something to say to the multiple people who made comments along the lines of ‘Why is he buying GTA for a 12 year old?’ Look at how he worded the sentence, "I have two children and my son plays Xbox all the time. He could easily have opened the box and found them." Doesn’t it sound like the games wasn’t intended for the kids? I’m under the opinion that he bought the games for himself.

  20. Overcast says:

    Yeah, I agree – I wouldn’t have really thought there were illegal right from the start – I would have just tossed them out.

  21. NovaBlack says:

    nah, im from the UK n i never say (or have actually ever heard anyone say) ‘pre-used’.

    Everyone says ‘pre-owned’, the stores sell as ‘pre-owned’ (visit – listed as ‘pre-owned’).

    Think its just this person who says ‘pre-used’.

  22. jccalhoun says:

    How does the dad know what ecstasy pills look like? 

    If I would have found pills in a game I would have been like, "Weird." and thrown them away.

    The article states that they don’t even know that they were ecstacy.  Watch them turn out to be asprin.


  23. DigiTekh says:

    He should not have been buying this game for his kids in the first place. But really do most parents follow the ratings systems?

  24. RevenChrist says:

    My uncle used to hide his weed in his Cream records, nothing new.  I think that it is good that the parent was so invloved with the purchuse of the game.  I think that a parent can decide whether a child is mature enough for an M rated game, just like an R rated film.  Also, major stupidity on the behalf of the retailer.

    "Who I am is not important… my message is" -Reven

  25. CyberSlammer says:

    The ecstacy is packaged with the game so you can go into a fantasy world where Jack Thompson is one of the pedestrians you run down in GTA.

  26. Zero Beat says:

    "Pre-used" in England is the same as "pre-owned" in the States.  It’s a simple case of British English vs. American English.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  27. Shoehorn Oplenty says:

    This is a retail issue, not specifically a games one I think. What if they had been found in a Blockbuster rental case? Or in any kind of second hand or rented container/machine/product?

  28. Zerodash says:

    I wonder if Keith Vaz will jump on this one.  He’s done crazier things.


    I used to use Genesis game cases to hide all kinds of stuff from my parents when I was in High School.  Good times.

  29. PeterWDAwson says:

    Hmm… sounds like the place where he got the game might be similar to the old pizza place in town near where I live. They did something similar, save it was in a napkin that came with a slice of pizza.

  30. NovaBlack says:

    if a kid is too young to understand that he shouldnt eat random pills…

    then he is DEFINITELY too young to be playing GTA.

  31. GoliathWon says:

    Ok, he’s only asking for the store to be stricter when checking their used copies, which is actually really reasonable. But for gawd’s sake teach your 12 year old kid to not just eat any unidentified pills he finds in other people’s stuff.

  32. JustChris says:

    Reminds me of what an editor overheard from a clerk at a game store. "Grand Theft Auto III? That’s the game where you can do ecstasy and s***, right?"


  33. Vake Xeacons says:

     The point is the store should have checked. They make sure the game’s usable, and that’s it. Maybe it’s time for used-game stores to be a little more thorough.

  34. chadachada321 says:

    No no no, Mephisto is the lord of hate, Baal is the lord of destruction, he’s the one you’re after.

    -If an apple a day keeps the doctor away….what happens when a doctor eats an apple?-

  35. HarmlessBunny says:

    Ugh sadly I think everyone sees that one coming… and Jack is a big enough moron to do it too.

  36. Kincyr says:

    it’s also possible the drugs were behind the manual and didn’t fall out when the retailer checked the disk

    岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

  37. beemoh says:

     >which they should be doing anyway so they can make sure the game works


    If I bought pre-owned, I’d think twice about going to this particular store simply because I can’t be too sure they’d have checked to see if the game worked.


  38. -Jes- says:

    The dad bought the games, the dad opened the games.

    He miiiiight just be a little more tech-savvy than the dinosaurs who still believe games are the product of beelzebub.

  39. Father Time says:

    Cue the inevitable chorus of ‘what was he doing giving GTA to a 12 year old?’ It’s entirely possible his kid could handle GTA.

    Anyway I can’t imagine how this would happen, I mean wouldn’t you take better inventory of your contraband?


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  40. Zero Beat says:

    Going to have to disagree with you a bit there.  This is a colossal failure on the part of the retailer for offering the product for resale without even opening it.  Judging by the wording of the article, all they had to do was open the box, which they should be doing anyway so they can make sure the game works, and they would have found the drugs.  Either that, or this is some cashier’s idea of a prank.

    Either way, it is a huge relief that the parent was being responsible and found the drugs and took care of it properly.


    "That’s not ironic. That’s justice."

  41. Praetorian says:

    A parent checked the box like a parent should have…

    crisis averted…

    kids safe…

    police investigating…

    GTA not to blame…

    world at peace….

    nothing left to see here…

    you can go about your business…

    move along…


    "If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the body of your enemy floating by."

  42. mdo7 says:


    Jack Thompson claiming that Rockstar is shipping free drugs with GTA and still saying drugs and murder simulator can make somebody violence in 3…2…1

  43. Chaltab says:

    Not surprising in the least. My brother used to hide his weed of choice in his case for NCAA Footbal 07.

    These idiots just forgot to take the pills out before they sold it.

  44. SilverMelee says:

    You’d think the retailers would have paid more attention when checking the game in at the time.

    Nevertheless, it is good news that the parent discovered this – who knows what could have happened otherwise…

    — I do more than just play games. I draw, too:

  45. Icehawk says:

    So there is now a concrete connection between gaming in general and GTA in specific and drugs.  Sigh.   Though I find myself curious what playing GTA 4 under the influence of ecstasy would be like. 

    BTW kiddies let this be a reminder for you. Be more careful where you stash your drugs. 

    I am missing the point your say?  What point is that?  Drugs exist; games exist; these are given facts.  There is no common thread between them other than that. 

Comments are closed.