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Home   Ashford   News   Article

Legal highs believed to be from UK Skunkworks in Ashford put girls in hospital as pupil 'excluded' from Towers School in Kennington

09 January 2014
by Tim Collins

Three teenage girls from Ashford needed hospital treatment after taking legal highs.

The schoolgirls – all believed to be under 16 – are understood to have obtained the substances from a 17-year-old boy amid claims he bought them from a new shop in the town centre.

It is believed the boy – a pupil at the Towers School – has been excluded from the Faversham Road, Kennington, academy as a result of the incident.

The Towers School in Faversham Road, Kennington

The Towers School

Kent Police now say they will be visiting affected schools to advise pupils and staff on legal high issues and officers met Kent Trading Standards following several recent incidents involving a new UK Skunkworks shop in the town.

Concerned parents told how their children came home from school talking about the incident, believed to have taken place in the past few weeks.

The substances are claimed to have been bought by minors at the new UK Skunkworks shop in Bank Street.

The teenage boy is thought to have been excluded in relation to the incident, but the academy has refused to comment.

A Towers School spokesman said: "Our principal Richard Billings is new to the school, and is unable to make a comment."

UK Skunkworks shop in Bank Street, Ashford

UK Skunkworks shop in Bank Street, Ashford

The police drugs liaison officer for Ashford and Shepway, PC Jeff Treadwell, will be visiting affected schools in relation to incidents involving the shop, to advise students and staff on issues surrounding legal highs.

PC Treadwell said: "The vast majority of these substances have never been researched in the normal way a chemical substance for human consumption has to be.

"You take great risks if you ingest anything that has not been tested or states that it is not for human consumption.

"There are a number of potentially serious consequences of ingesting such substances."

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UK Skunkworks - which sells legal highs, also known as New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) - opened its 19th franchise in Ashford in December.

A spokesman for the shop was unavailable for comment.

Police have said they are currently in talks with Kent Trading Standards over the shop.

A spokesman said: "The lead prosecuting agency with regard to NPS is Trading Standards.

"Kent Police met with representatives from Trading Standards on Tuesday after several recent incidents involving the UK Skunkworks shop."

An array of legal high chemicals for sale in a UK Skunkworks shop

An array of legal high chemicals for sale in a shop

Legal highs are psychoactive chemicals yet to be criminalised which can give a high when smoked, snorted, swallowed or inhaled.

While it is legal for so-called "head shops" like UK Skunkworks to sell these products, along with paraphernalia associated with the consumption of cannabis and other illegal drugs, shoppers must be aged 18 or over.

They must also label all such products as "not for human consumption", and staff may not advise people on how they can be consumed.

The products sold in branches of UK Skunkworks, which start from £7.50, often come in bright and colourful packaging, with names alluding to drug use - including Charley Sheen, Euphoria, Go Gaine, Disco Biscuits and Jack & Jills, which are both slang terms for ecstasy pills.

Some stores may also stock "ethnobotanicals", plant-derived substances known to have a psychoactive effect.

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