PSNI seize psychoactive substances in city centre raids

Items seized by the PSNI in raids on retail premises in Londonderry city centre.
Items seized by the PSNI in raids on retail premises in Londonderry city centre.

The PSNI raided a number of retail properties in Londonderry city centre on Monday (January 13) seizing a range of psychoactive substances including synthetic cannabinoids and sage.

Police were assisted by Derry City Council officials and seized the substances (commonly known as ‘legal highs’) in the operation.

Sergeant Cathal Pearce, of the City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “A number of retail properties were searched in Derry and the products were seized for destruction. Some products marketed as legal highs actually contain ingredients that are illegal to possess.

“These products can carry serious health risks as the chemicals they contain have in most cases never been used in drugs for human consumption nor tested to show that they are safe. Users can never be certain what they are taking and what the effects might be.”

Chief Inspector Tony Callaghan, Area Commander for Foyle, said; “The sale and use of psychoactive substances is an issue of community concern in the local area and this operation was carried out as a result of these concerns.

“We continue to work with residents, retailers, the local council and health authorities to ensure that anything which could compromise the safety of the public is taken off the streets.

“Do not be fooled by the term ‘legal high’ – with any mind altering substances you can never be sure of exactly what you are taking, or what possible side effects they could have.

“Everyone has personal responsibility, therefore I would encourage anybody to seriously think about any potential consequences. Is it really worth the risk?”

Amongst the items seized were products labelled ‘Shaman Trance’ and ‘Herb of the Gods: Alice’s Wonder Mix.’

Another item branded ‘Super Skunk’ was labelled a “legal intoxicating smoking mixture.”

But the PSNI warned: “Many drugs that were previously sold as legal highs are now controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act, including mephedrone (meow meow/mcat), naphyrone, BZP, GBL, and synthetic cannabinoids (such as those found in Spice products). This means that they are illegal to possess or to supply to others.”