Norfolk crackdown on products containing mephedrone

Mary HamiltonLaw enforcers in Norfolk are cracking down on products containing mephedrone in advance of an imminent ban on the drug.Mary Hamilton

Law enforcers in Norfolk are cracking down on products containing mephedrone in advance of an imminent ban on the drug.

Businesses selling products that may contain mephedrone - particularly plant food and bath salts - are being urged to stop selling the items and contact trading standards officers at Norfolk County Council.

The drug has been linked to several deaths and other health issues, and is soon to be classified as a Class B drug, meaning that being caught in possession carries a potential five-year jail term while dealers caught selling it, face 14 years in prison.

Norfolk police and the drug and alcohol action team are working alongside Norfolk County Council's trading standards' officers to ensure businesses comply with the new laws when they are introduced in the next few weeks.

It is already illegal to sell mephedrone for human consumption, but sellers have been known to try to get around the law by mislabelling it as plant food or as bath salts.

But guidance from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs says the substance has no use as a plant food or as bath salts and, therefore, trading standards' officers are advising businesses that selling mephedrone as either of those products is illegal.

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Two businesses in Norwich and Great Yarmouth have already handed over stocks of the drug to police, and officers are writing to other businesses to inform them about the options available.

Harry Humphrey, cabinet member for community protection, said: 'I would strongly urge any traders who have any products in stock that they believe may contain mephedrone to get in touch with our Trading Standards service.

'We want to work with businesses and help them comply with the law as it stands today and also prepare them for the legislation changes, which are likely to come in later this month.'

Bronwen Fox, trading standards team manager at Norfolk County Council Trading Standards, said: 'We are taking action to make sure traders in Norfolk do not unintentionally break the law and we're pleased that two businesses have already complied with our request to hand in any products believed to contain mephedrone.

'We will continue to seek co-operation from relevant businesses in order to help them avoid falling foul of the law and limit the availability of mephedrone until the ban comes into force.'

Anyone wishing to discuss concerns about products they are selling, or have in their possession, should contact Trading Standards on 0344 800 8013.