Police seize consignment of poppers as MPs approve Government legal highs ban

The Psychoactive Substances Bill is close to becoming law

Police have seized a consignment of poppers during a blitz of legal high retailers conducted as the Government’s Psychoactive Substances Bill moves towards becoming law.

The legal drugs were taken by Trading Standards officials and officers from West Midlands Police who visited dozens of premises across their force area.

The day of action, described as an “intelligence gathering operation” by police, comes as MPs voted to approve the Government’s blanket ban on legal highs at its third reading in Parliament. 

The new law, which does not specify bans in particular substances but will give the police powers to seize anything they believe to be a “legal high”, is close to becoming law. 

Amendments to the Bill will now be considered by the House of Lords.

The proposed has been criticised by some MPs and the Government’s own scientific advisors for banning Poppers, practically harmless and play a significant role in mainstream male gay culture.

Tory MP Crispin Blunt described the ban as “manifestly stupid” and said he sometimes used Poppers himself. A Conservative Home Office minister, Mike Penning, has written to MPs to say the substance could be un-banned later pending a review of evidence.

It is already illegal to sell poppers for human consumption but the ban will give police powers to forcibly remove them whatever the circumstances. They are currently sold are “odourisers” to get around existing rules. 

Officers removed the Poppers for sale from an e-cigarette shop in Birmingham. The owner of the shop told local newspaper the Express and Star that he had voluntarily given the substances to offers ahead of the ban and would not sell them again.

Trading Standards officers and police however notified all shops they visited selling the items that they would return once the ban was in place and take the items using “the full force of the law”.

Similar raids have taken place across the country in recent months. In July Greater Manchester Police visited over 100 retailers in a series of raids where legal products were confiscated for alleged breaches of trading standards.

West Midlands Police chief inspector Simon Inglis said: “Today will be also be a significant intelligence gathering opportunity in order that we can support our further message that once the legislation changes - we’ll be back.

“Any person still offering these products for sale will face the full force of the law.”

Both the Home Affairs Select Committee and the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs have told the Government that Poppers should be exempt from the ban, however.

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