In the Media

Police operations to reduce the numbers of ?legal highs? on our streets

PUBLISHED December 10, 2013

Police, National Crime Agency (NCA), Border Force, Her Majesty's Prisons and Trading Standards have taken part in a week of enforcement on new psychoactive substances (NPS) - so called legal highs - from 25 November to 1 December.

The week has targeted those suspected of supplying new psychoactive substances such as mephedrone, benzofuries and synthetic cannabinoids; 73 warrants have been executed and 44 arrests made.

Police made personal visits to 274 people who'd bought NPS online and wrote to a further 574 to warn them of the dangers of using products labelled legal highs.

The NCA arrested suppliers in Huddersfield and Oldham seizing half a kilogram of controlled NPS.

Unidentified white powders have been sent for testing and police also found large amounts of controlled drugs such as ecstasy and cocaine.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service recovered a firearm at one address, £6,000 was recovered from a search in Cumbria and a drugs factory was found in Hampshire.

Police across the country visited head shops, stores selling drugs paraphernalia, to send out a clear message that legal highs cannot be assumed to be safe or legal. Many of these products either contain controlled substances which are illegal or uncontrolled substances whose side-effects cannot be predicted.

A number of head shops handed over legal highs for analysis; one shop in Kent handed over nine kilograms for testing as they had no proof of origin or content of the products on their shelves. Other shops in Avon and Somerset removed all their products.

National Policing Lead for New Psychoactive Substances Commander Simon Bray said:

"Those supplying NPS very often have no idea what they are selling and don't care about the health and safety of those buying the products. Many of the products advertised as legal highs contain controlled drugs and, in some cases, their production and supply is linked to organised crime groups trading in illegal drugs, firearms and weapons.

"These results show the action that we can take to restrict the availability of these drugs on our streets and tackle the criminality involved in the industry."

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said:

"I am pleased with the success of these operations to disrupt the market in new psychoactive substances.

"We want to send the clearest possible message that the trade in these so-called legal highs is reckless and dangerous and those involved in breaking the law will be brought to book.

"These substances cannot be assumed to be safe or legal."

Detective Chief Superintendent Dermott Horrigan, the head of TITAN, said:

"Across the country, we have had some significant arrests and recoveries sending a clear message to the suppliers of these dangerous drugs that the police and other agencies are coming for you.

"We will now be analysing the information and intelligence we've gathered over the week so we continue to tackle this serious threat to our communities."