Norfolk banned drug warning

Mary HamiltonNorfolk police are encouraging anyone who still has the class B drug mephedrone in their possession to hand it over as owning the substance is now illegal.Mary Hamilton

Norfolk police are encouraging anyone who still has the class B drug mephedrone in their possession to hand it over as owning the substance is now illegal.

From yesterday, the drug and other related substances are now controlled, and police urged businesses and individuals to take any mephedrone left in their possession to their local police station.

'The advice we are getting is that we should concentrate of those who deal in the substance, but that's not to say we won't take action against possession,' said drugs liaison officer Colin Pearce.

'We are not in the business of criminalising young people, but young people have a responsibility to be careful about what substances they take when they are enjoying a night out.

'What was legal on Thursday is illegal today and people should be mindful of that when making choices about how they enjoy themselves, and be willing to take the consequences of those choices.'

By yesterday lunchtime the police had not collected any mephedrone from individuals, but a joint effort with Norfolk County Council's trading standards officers to speak to businesses about the substance had resulted in several businesses surrendering their stocks to be destroyed.

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There were fears that people would stockpile mephedrone in the weeks leading up to the ban, buying it cheaply and legally to sell after the ban.

But the ban has been pushed through before the general election, and police say Norwich is not facing a flood of black market mephedrone.

Det Ch Insp Pearce said: 'There is no evidence in Norfolk that the substance was a widespread problem.

'There is anecdotal information that it is used among young people but no more so in Norfolk than anywhere else in the country.

'It is difficult to gauge how much of a problem it will become.'

Mephedrone, also known as M-cat, meow meow and bubbles, is normally a fine white or yellow powder and is one of a group of chemicals called cathinones.

It can cause palpitations, rises in blood pressure, sudden changes in body temperature, sweating, dilated pupils and dizziness, along with feelings of euphoria, talkativeness, and empathy.

As it is now a class B drug in the same category as speed, it carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment for possession or 14 years for supply, and unlimited fines.

Norfolk police advise anyone taking mephedrone to a police station to call ahead to ensure they do not get into trouble if they are stopped on the way.

If you know or suspect someone is dealing drugs, you can speak to Norfolk Constabulary on 0845 456 4567 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter Mary Hamilton on 01603 772418 or email