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Legal high shops Skunkworks in Mill Street, Head Shop in Union Street and 59 in Week Street raided by Trading Standards and police

By Claire McWethy

Raids on three legal highs shops took place in Maidstone this morning - more than anywhere else in the county.

KCC Trading Standards officers and police entered 420 Head Shop in Union Street, 59 in Week Street and Skunkworks in Mill Street simultaneously at 10.30am.

Around 40 products were seized from Skunkworks in Mill Street.

Police officers supported Trading Standards in the raid
A Trading Standards officer examines a cabinet displaying incense

The shop had several bags of herbal incense blends confiscated, including ones with names like Go Gaine and Synthacaine.

Bags of herbal extracts, the packets of which described their psychoactive effects, were also taken.

The stores had been sent letters warning them of the potential visit if they did not adhere to trading regulations.

Up to 14 stores were targetted in surprise visits from as far afield as Canterbury, Maidstone and Gravesend.

It is part of efforts to stamp out the substances and the dangers they pose - after the KM Group mounted a campaign to crack down on their sale.

Some of the suspected 'highs' seized from Skunkworks
A warning notice to customers

Trading Standards were operating under General Product Safety Regulations which dictate that all wares should be safe for their intended and forseeable uses.

It was explained to staff that substances advertised as research chemicals were unlikely to be used in that way by customers.

The Skunkworks shopworker, who was only in his second week in the job and had not received full training, said the risks of ingesting the substances were clearly pointed out on the packaging.But he was unable to explain what was in many of the products.

A police officer with a bag of seized products

The seized items have now been suspended from sale both in the shop and online, while testing is carried out to determine how safe they are.

Meanwhile two police officers and one member of Trading Standards exited 420 Head Shop with one bag of substances just after midday.

Two police officers were present in 59 during the raid but the owner decline to comment on the situation.

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