Illegal drugs with a street value of around £170,000 have been seized in raids across Leeds since new legislation came into force.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards has now secured court orders for the destruction of the New Psychoactive Substances – formerly known as legal highs – which were taken off the shelves of four shops.
David Lodge, head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said: “The term legal highs is both incorrect and misleading. These drugs can have a devastating effect, whether you are a first-time or long-term user.
“All drugs are potentially dangerous and I hope the new law will convince society at large to take this issue seriously.”
Officers from trading standards and police visited a number of shops in April before The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 was introduced. It made it illegal to produce, supply, import or export any psychoactive substance that is likely to be used to get high.
Return visits in May revealed legal highs still on sale, so more than 16,000 packs were taken away using suspension notices while samples were tested.
The shops involved were Redeye Headshop in Headingley, Dr Herman’s in the city centre, Rudeboy in Hyde Park and High Rollaz in Harehills.
Leeds Magistrates’ Court granted the last of the necessary forfeiture orders for the destruction of the drugs on Wednesday and full costs of £19,154 from all four headshops.
Mr Lodge said: “This operation has been a success, with the removal of approximately £170,000 worth of dangerous products from the marketplace.”
Coun Pauline Grahame, deputy chairwoman of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, added: “They are misleadingly marketed as ‘research chemicals’ and labelled as ‘not for human consumption’, to try circumvent the legislation.
“The products forfeited for destruction today are dangerous and present a significant risk.”