First arrests made following psychoactive substance legislation Date published: 14th June 2016 1.05pm

Officers have made four arrests in relation to the supply of psychoactive substances in Warrington town centre – the first in the county since new legislation was introduced.

One man and one woman, aged 69 and 61 from the St Helens area, and two men – a 38-year-old from Bolton and a 29-year-old from Warrington, were arrested in connection with supply offences on Friday, June 10 after they were reported to police behaving suspiciously near the B&Q store in Winwick.

The four suspects are currently on police bail, pending further enquiries and forensic examinations.

It is the first case of psychoactive substance supply that Cheshire Constabulary has dealt with since it was made illegal last month.

Detective Inspector Matt Durcan, of Warrington LPU, said: “This is an excellent result and sends a really strong message that the introduction of legislation was not a token gesture – we take it extremely seriously and will take robust action against those determined to carry on supplying psychoactive substances.

“We have seen the damage these substances can do to those who take them, as well as the knock-on effect their supply and consumption has on the wider community. I’m sure the community will be reassured by this action.

New legislation banning the supply and purchase of psychoactive substances – or so-called legal highs – was introduced on May 26. A six-day amnesty provided people with the opportunity to surrender existing stocks, with no questions asked.

Psychoactive substances are often referred to as legal highs and used as an umbrella term for products that are intended to mimic the effects of controlled drugs. The term ‘legal’ implies that these substances are not as dangerous as controlled drugs, but are in fact designed to mimic their effects. In reality many do actually contain controlled substances, which are illegal and whose side effects cannot be predicted.

This legislation will fundamentally change the way forces tackle psychoactive substances and will make new drugs that appear on the market illegal quicker than ever before. It will give police the power to shut down shops that are trading in legal highs and it will also be an offence to import them, for instance buying them from a foreign website.

Possessing a psychoactive substance will not be an offence, except in a custodial institution. However possession with the intent to supply, import or export a psychoactive substance is now an offence.