POLICE swooped on two shops in a crackdown on the recently-outlawed party drug mephedrone.
The substance was reclassified as a Class B drug last month after it was linked to a number of deaths. Police vowed to stamp down on retailers who continued to sell it.
Yesterday afternoon, drugs squad and uniformed officers burst through the doors of two Barrow shops suspected to be selling the outlawed drug.
Briefing officers before the raids, Detective Sergeant Jim Bailey, who led the investigation, praised the way different policing teams had worked together.
DS Bailey said: “The intelligence unit, response staff and neighbourhood policing teams have been working together so that we can ensure the message to the public is ‘We want you to be encouraged to speak to your PCSO, ring Crimestoppers or the local police station. As long as the information comes to us, we can work together and do something about it’.
“That is what this operation is all about.”
The two search warrants were executed simultaneously at Living World pet shop, in Duke Street, Barrow and the Simply Pleasure sex shop in Dalkeith Street, Barrow. Both sold mephedrone when it was legal.
Cash in the region of £3,000 and a large quantity of powder in wraps and in bulk, suspected to be a controlled drug, was seized from Living World.
Police searched amongst tanks containing live animals such as snakes and tarantulas in their hunt for any suspicious substances.
Between 300 and 400 sachets of powder, suspected to be a controlled drug, were seized from the Simply Pleasure sex shop in Dalkeith Street, Barrow. The seized substances will now be tested to determine if they contain mephedrone.
Officers also searched two residential properties linked to the operation.
Following the raid, DS Bailey said: “It was a smooth operation and the officers worked in a controlled and orderly fashion and worked well so they ensured all the detail was recorded.”
When mephedrone, also known as Miaow Miaow and Mcat, was legal to buy and sell, it was marketed as bath salts or plant feeder. But following a number of deaths, the reclassification of the drug was quickly pushed through Parliament and outlawed in April.
Symptoms associated with taking mephedrone can include reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid state and coma seizures.
Anyone with information about illegal drug use or supply in their community is asked to contact Cumbria police on 0845 330 0247 or pass on details anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
l A 49-YEAR-OLD man from Barrow was arrested on suspicion of supplying a controlled drug. A 43-year-old man from Ulverston was arrested on suspicion of possessing a controlled drug.
By Amy Fenton
May 29, 2010
North-West Evening Mail