Hampshire Police chief calls for regulations on ‘legal high’ shops

Peter Stanley, 42, who has opened Gypsy King's Coffee Shop in Market Parade, Havant
Peter Stanley, 42, who has opened Gypsy King's Coffee Shop in Market Parade, Havant
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LAWS should be put in place to regulate and license ‘head shops’ that sell legal highs, the police and crime commissioner has warned.

The stern message from Simon Hayes comes as a new shop opens in the centre of Havant.

Mr Hayes said: ‘I have real concerns about this place opening and the potential risks it will pose, especially to young people, and because these shops don’t need licensing I believe they are dangerous.

‘It is my view that the mind-altering substances they sell are lethal, not legal, and parliament should urgently look at doing more to address this and not shy away.

‘There should be no leeway in the law when looking at anything that is mind-altering.’

He added: ‘If these mind-altering substances are not to be classified as illegal drugs, I’m of the view that government should without delay, introduce legislation that will provide powers to allow police, Trading Standards and local authorities to regulate them.

‘We have a moral obligation to protect the public, especially those who are more vulnerable.

‘We should therefore not allow those who trade in these unregulated substances to put profit before the public’s health and wellbeing.’

Gypsy King’s Coffee Shop opened in Market Parade on Monday.

The owner Peter Stanley has been running a cafe in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, since last summer.

He agreed that regulations needed to be tightened up.

He said: ‘If there was better regulation then they would be able to monitor it a lot better.’

The shop sells bongs, roll-ups and electronic cigarettes and Mr Stanley is legally allowed to sell cannabis plant seeds.

He said: ‘I’m not doing anything here that I’m not allowed to do.

‘I have styled it on a Dutch-style coffee shop but without any of the nasty bits.

‘I sell seeds because they are legal in the UK. We ID everyone who comes in the shop. I’m not doing anything wrong. In my opinion, we sell things less harmful than supermarkets sell in their drinks cabinets.’

Mr Stanley supported the legalisation of cannabis.

He said: ‘We are more about seeds and the whole cannabis movement. I deal with the local medical cannabis alliance. There’s a demand for herbal incense and research chemicals. If they were made illegal, then we would not sell them.’

To read The News’ view on this click here.