Tuesday 9 February 2016

COUNCIL and police officers have seized so called legal highs after raiding a shop last week.

In a joint operation, Sheffield City Council’s Trading Standards Officers and South Yorkshire Police Officers raided a store selling illicit cigarettes and New Psychoactive Substances or NPS.

Organised by Sheffield New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) Working Group, the search saw the seizure of cash, illicit cigarettes and 99 packets of NPS which had an estimated street value of around £2,000.

Cllr Terry Fox, Cabinet member Transport and Environment, said: “These products create immense harm to individuals and communities and we will not tolerate their sale in Sheffield.

“We took decisive action to protect residents last year to clear them from shops and we will continue to do so whenever and wherever they are sold, from private or commercial premises. If someone is harmed or dies as a result of a sale, the seller will face grave consequences.

“Together with the licence that was removed from a mini market last week for underage sales, we hope that we are sending out a very strong message that we will work relentlessly to protect our communities and keep people safe.”

The harm caused to users of so called ‘legal highs’ was deemed so great by the NPS Working Group, whose members include organisations who provide help to drug users, that it was decided that action needed to be taken.

Young people are at particular risk of experimenting with a product they think is ‘legal’ when bought from a shop.

Following the decision made by the working groups, council officials say they will not tolerate the sale NPS in Sheffield and seizure will become easier when a new law is passed supporting operations of this nature.

The New Psychoactive Substances Bill 2016 is currently in parliament and is expected to come into force springtime this year. The bill will ban the sale of so called ‘legal highs’ outright, as well as products known as ‘poppers’ and other substances with psychoactive effects.

This operation followed successful raids last year where Trading Standards Officers cleared NPS from all shops across the city by arguing that under consumer protection legislation the onus was on sellers to prove that they were safe. None could, so the products were destroyed.