Calls for Midlothian Council to seize ‘legal highs’

MSP Christine Grahame with a packet of White Stuff which can be easily bought on High Streets.
MSP Christine Grahame with a packet of White Stuff which can be easily bought on High Streets.

Senior politicians are calling on Midlothian Council to follow the action taken by City of Edinburgh Council to clamp down on the sale of ‘legal highs’.

Trading Standards officers from the capital were the first in Scotland to be granted Forfeiture Orders from the Sheriff Court declaring Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) products – known as “legal highs” – as unsafe.

Officers, supported by Police Scotland, used the orders to target 13 stores, which were known to sell them.

Eight stores voluntarily handed over their stock of NPS to Trading Standards. These products, which have a retail value of up to £50,000, will be destroyed.

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “Midlothian Council’s trading standards team will now look in detail at the action being taken by Edinburgh Council in relation to the sale of legal highs, before considering its future policy in this area.”

MP Owen Thompson and MSP Christine Grahame, who have been vocal against the sale of ‘legal highs’, have written to the council 
urging action.

Mr Thompson (SNP) said “I’m sure Midlothian Council will be working with partners through the Safer Communities Board to determine the best course of action. I have written to the council to ask what steps they intend to take following this court decision.

“This combined with the development of the NPS Bill should ultimately result in ‘Head Shops’ closing anyway as it will be illegal to sell and we can look forward to removing these lethal substances from our streets.”

Ms Grahame (SNP) said: “I encourage Midlothian Council to follow City of Edinburgh’s lead in this matter. I would hope their legal department has been in touch to learn how they succeeded. I have also written to the Council Leader Councillor Cath Johnstone.

“We all want to see an end to what in my view amounts to criminal recklessness when shopkeepers knowingly sell these ‘Highs’ fully aware of why they are being bought and the dangers and risk to human health and indeed life itself.”

Councillor Margot Russell (Lab), who has protested in Dalkeith town centre on the issue, added: “I have also contacted our Trading Standards officer requesting that Midlothian Council take the same action against the shop in the High Street. I would truly love to see that shop being forced to give up their dealings in ‘legal highs’.”