A warning has been issued to teenagers and young people about the dangers of taking the diet pill Dinitrophenol (DNP).

The unlicensed drug is freely available to buy on the internet.

West Sussex Coroner Penny Schofield has issued the warning following the inquest of Rachael Cook, 25, from Worthing.

The inquest found Miss Cook died of fatal Di-nitrophenol toxicity and ruled that Rachael's death was an “accidental consequence", of taking DNP in relation to her eating disorder.

Ms Schofield said: "I know there is pressure on young people to be slim and many will take drastic action to achieve this but this is not the way to do it. I would urge them to look at the almost inevitable fatal consequences of taking this fatal drug.

"Let not another family lose a young person to such painful and unnecessary death."

Miss Cook died at Worthing Hospital on 15 May 2015 after taking the tablets to lose weight.

In her ruling, Ms Schofield said: "Rachael Cook died aged 25 years old having ingested the slimming drug Dinitrophenol (DNP). DNPis a poison and can lead to fatal toxicity.

"The drug is marketed as a slimming aid, fat burner and food supplement and is readily available on the internet.

"However, Public Health England in October issued warnings to the public about the use of this drug. It is a poison.

"There have been 24 cases of DNP toxicity since January 2007, five of which have been fatal. Three of which took place in 2013 alone.

"There was a reduction in 2014 but this year there has been a rise. Some 20 cases have been referred to National Poisons Agency of which five have been fatal. Most have been teenagers and young adults.

"DNP is not a licensed drug. DNP is an industrial chemical unfit for human consumption. It is illegal for use in foodstuffs.

"One of the dangers of DNP is that it accelerates the metabolism to a dangerously fast level. Speeding up the metabolism may burn fat but it can trigger a number of dangerous side effects and may be fatal.

"Other Coroners have tried to alert the Public to the danger of this drug. I urge those currently taking the drug or considering doing so to think again."

DNP, which is also available as a powder, is not a controlled substance despite being linked to several previous deaths in the UK and overseas.

The industrial chemical, which is unfit for human consumption, was the subject of an Interpol warning notice issued to 190 countries in May this year.