Warning issued over use of '˜legal highs' ahead of Portsmouth Mutiny Festival

POLICE are warning about the use of '˜legal highs' ahead of this weekend's Mutiny Festival in Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 10:17 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th May 2016, 11:21 am
Packets of legal highs

Hampshire Constabulary says it has been working closely with the organisers of the dance spectacle, taking place on King George V Playing Fields, in Cosham, on Saturday, to make sure those attending have a ‘safe and enjoyable experience.’

Up to 15,000 people are expected to attend and officers have worked up a policing plan to ensure the festival runs smoothly.

And they’re reminding guests about the dangers of taking pyschoactive substances, commonly referred to as legal highs.

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In the past month, Greater Manchester Police has spoken of the death of a 17-year-old girl who suffered an adverse reaction after taking the so-called Mastercard ecstasy ill.

The force also issued a warning after two people fell ill after taking ecstasy which was in the shape of a Lego brick.

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 comes into effect from Thursday, giving police powers to arrest and prosecute, amongst other offences, anyone suspected of supplying or offering to supply a psychoactive substance.

The organisers of Mutiny have a zero tolerance policy on all controlled drugs and so-called legal highs.

Those attending will be searched on the gates and drugs dogs will be in use.

Superintendent Paul Bartolomeo, Hampshire Constabulary Mutiny Festival police commander, said: ‘Our priority is to keep the event running as smoothly and as safely as possible and we have been working with the organisers to achieve this aim.

‘We would like to remind those aged 18 and over that they will be required to have photocard identification to attend the festival. They will then be issued a wristband, and will need to show the wristband and photographic identification when attempting to buy alcohol on site.

‘Anyone deemed unfit through drunk or drugs can expect, at the very least, to be ejected from the site and arrested where necessary.

‘Attendees will surrender to a search for such items and if found entry will be refused.

‘Even just dabbling in controlled drugs and psychoactive substances can have catastrophic and fatal consequences.

‘We would also remind those attending to respect the local community when they leave they leave the site.’

Officers will patrol on site during the festival and can provide assistance if required.

Crime prevention messages will be issued on @FestivalCop throughout this week and during the festival.

For crime prevention advice on how to stay safe at festivals, visit the festival section of Hampshire Constabulary’s website: hampshire.police.uk/internet/advice-and-information/general/festivals.