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Legal highs raids seize 1,300 substances which could mimic class A drugs, trading standards officers reveal

By Claire McWethy

Around 1,300 substances were confiscated in county-wide raids on shops selling legal highs today.

Officers from Kent County Council’s trading standards and police have targeted up to 18stores in surprise visits from as far afield as Canterbury, Maidstone and Gravesend.

They included stimulants and hallucinogenics mimicking the effects of illegal drugs, including ones which are chemically similar to class A drugs.

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Packages were taken from 20 stores across Kent

They are now being sent to a laboratory for analysis.

In a press conference this afternoon, KCC’s trading standards manager Mark Rolfe disputed that the substances were legal.

He added: "It is important for shops and their customers to understand that these things, just because they are nicknamed legal, doesn't mean they are safe. They are not safe.

"People have died and people will continue to die unless something is done."

Rick Bradley of KCA, inspecting some of the haul
Some of the legal drugs seized in the raids

New psychoactive substances specialist at KCA, Rick Bradley, said: "It is very difficult to say how dangerous they are because there hasn't been a huge amount of research on the long term effects. "Reports we have had from young people using them are a mix of mental health and physical health problems, so paranoia, and experiences akin to psychosis, increased heart rate, and other people having seizures or collapsing."Because they are so new it is difficult to give exact information around dosages and harm reduction, all we can do is give general advice about the pills, powder and smoking issues."The raids are believed to be the first time in Britain that this area of the law has been tested - forcing sellers to clearly display all ingredients on packets or face prosecution.Video: Substances seized in raids across Kent

"People have died and people will continue to die unless something is done" - Mark Rolfe
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