Police and Trading Standards in mephedrone swoop at Chester shop
A LARGE quantity of the controversial legal high mephedrone has been seized following a raid at a shop in Chester.
Cheshire West and Chester Trading Standards officers and police raided city centre store Dr Hermans yesterday and removed a large quantity of the designer drug
The raid at the Eastgate Row shop was one of four in Chester.
Altogether a total of 148 units of mephedrone, which is also known as Meow Meow or MCAT, were removed from Dr Hermans.
No mephedrone was found at the other three locations.
The raids took place following a letter from the home secretary, Alan Johnson, to all local authority chief executives pointing out the responsibility of trading standards officers for enforcing offences under the Consumer Protection from unfair trading regulations.
In the letter, Mr Johnson stated that mephedrone is currently labelled for sale as a plant food or bath salt to bypass restrictions on products for human consumption.
But the Home Secretary has been advised by the chairman of the Advisory Council on The Misuse of Drugs that mephedrone has “no utility as either a plant food or bath salt”.
He added: “I would ask you to urgently consider with your trading standards officers, what enforcement steps you can take to ensure mephedrone is not advertised in this way in advance of the drug being controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971”.
Police have stated that the proprietor of the shop, Sean Ellman, will be invited to a “formal interview”.
Sean, the son of Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman, boasts Dr Hermans outlets on Bold Street, as well as in Warrington, St Helens, Chester, Manchester and Leeds. Cllr Lynn Riley, executive member for area and community services, said: “The dangers of mephedrone or ‘meow meow’ have been well publicised nationally.
“Indeed, the drug is believed to have been responsible for several deaths.
“I applaud the speedy action of our trading standards officers and the police in removing that unacceptable risk.”
Mephedrone could be banned by April 16 if Parliament approves a draft order presented by the Home Secretary calling for a ban on the designer drug and similar derivatives.
The decision came after the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommended they be classified as Class B drugs.
Pressure has been mounting over recent weeks to ban mephedrone, after media reports linked the substance to at least four deaths in the UK.
Apr 1 2010 by Janine Yaqoob, Liverpool Daily Post