300 legal high packets seized from Doncaster business in landmark case

Legal highs come in a range of types and packaging.
Legal highs come in a range of types and packaging.

A Doncaster businessman, who contested an order to have hundreds of packets of legal highs he owned seized, has seen his appeal rejected after a judge branded them ‘unsafe and dangerous’.

The council seized close to 300 packets of NPS, sometimes known as ‘legal highs’, from town centre premises Heads of Donny, following partnership work between the council and South Yorkshire Police.

The business, owned by Mr Gorton, was closed this year following complaints of anti-social behaviour by customers. ​

Mr Gorton is the first business owner in the country to have contested a legal highs forfeiture order.

The council worked with an expert witness from Liverpool John Moores University, Professor Harry Summall, who is also a member of the Government’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

Professor Summall provided a statement supporting the council’s position that the products were unsafe and dangerous, which ultimately proved vital in the council gaining the forfeiture order.

The owner of the business, Mr Gorton, was in court where Judge Bennett presided over proceedings.

In a short hearing, the judge agreed to the order to forfeit all the products seized due to their unsafe and dangerous nature.

The council is now set to have the products destroyed.

Cabinet member for Communities, the Voluntary Sector and Environment, Cllr Chris McGuinness, said: “We are all very pleased with the outcome which has seen these dangerous substances finally being destroyed.

“Every packet of NPS destroyed is one less on the streets of Doncaster, and that can only be a good thing.

“As part of our zero tolerance policy, we are committed to stamping out all forms of illegal trade as we strive to make Doncaster a safer and better place to live.”

Cabinet member for Public Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Pat Knight, said: “NPS are extremely dangerous to the public’s health, as there is no way of telling the strength of the drugs you are taking. Work will continue to educate people about the dangers of drug-taking, and I am glad that a large amount of NPS are now off our streets.”

Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton, who has campaigned for a complete ban on legal highs, said: “So-called legal highs have been a blight on Doncaster’s communities for too long. They can be incredibly dangerous and often pose serious health risks to the people taking them, so it is good news that the substances seized from ‘Heads of Donny’ are to be destroyed.

“I’ve repeatedly urged the government to take action against legal highs and will be supporting plans to introduce legislation to ban them completely.”

If you have any information with regard to the sale of Novel Psychoactive substances (NPS) or ‘legal highs’ please do not hesitate to contact Trading Standards on 03454 040506.