Trading standards and police raid market for ‘legal highs’

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Milton Keynes Council’s Trading Standards team and Thames Valley Police have seized thousands of pounds worth of items in a swoop on suspected psychoactive substances commonly known as ‘legal highs’.

Last month, officers raided stalls in the Central Milton Keynes Market and the Agora Centre, Wolverton, after tip-offs from police that youngsters had been spotted using various pills and powders.

In total 220 packets of powders and pills, worth between £4,500 and £6,500, were seized from the market and eight packets were found at Wolverton Agora.

Although the items themselves are not illegal, for example some of them were being marketed as ‘room deodorisers’, officers still seized them because of health concerns under product safety legislation.

Head of Milton Keynes Council Regulatory Unit, Karen Ford said: “By themselves, these items, which were in a powder or pill form are not illegal and it’s not against the law for people to buy them.

“However, we received very good intelligence from Thames Valley Police, who were concerned that they were being misused by young people.

“Also, the content of these products have not been manufactured for human use.

“Just because something is currently legal doesn’t mean it’s safe. For example, you can buy glue over the counter, but people have died from sniffing the substance.”

Detective Inspector Simon Roberts, at Milton Keynes police station, said: “Psychoactive substances are synthetic drugs which do not sit under the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) 1971.

“These substances mimic both the effects and addictions of banned drugs, such as cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine and cannabis, and have been emerging at the rate of one a week nationally.

“Although these substances are often referred to as legal highs, the harm, both physical and psychological, they can cause mirrors those substances banned under the MDA.

“When one substance is banned or classified under MDA, another one is produced that has similar effects but which is designed to avoid the scope of the ban.

“Lack of knowledge, both from users and medical staff, is a danger itself. Since the drugs are new and there is no experience of using or treating, they are extra dangerous.“