Statement on legal high closure order applications

A shop in Plymouth selling ‘legal highs’ (Novel Psychoactive Substances) has been ordered by Plymouth Magistrates to stop selling them.

Plymouth City Council originally applied to Magistrates, supported by Devon and Cornwall Police, for a Closure Order on The High Life Shop, 66 Cornwall Street.

Instead, following a hearing on Thursday 9 July, High Life has agreed to remove all legal highs from sale immediately, and ordered to pay £2,500 court costs.

In addition, they have agreed to close the shop for two weeks from midnight on 9 July.

In addition, High Life has agreed to set up clear signage in the shop clarifying that the shop no longer sells legal highs, the wording of which is to be agreed with Devon and Cornwall Police. They must also not advertise legal highs, and they must allow officers from both Plymouth City Council and Devon and Cornwall Police to access the premises without notice to ensure no legal highs are kept anywhere on the premises.

Councillor Philippa Davey, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities for Plymouth City Council, said: “In many ways this is better than the closure order because that would only be a temporary, three month measure, whereas today’s decision means High Life will stop selling and advertising legal highs on a permanent basis. So effectively one of the main outlets for legal highs in Plymouth up until now is no longer available.

“Whilst we welcome the Court’s decision today, we are mindful of the risks legal highs still pose to vulnerable people in Plymouth and we will continue to work with our partners in Devon and Cornwall Police and the local community to tackle this issue.”

A separate Closure Order applied for against the Dam Good Head Shop has been withdrawn by Plymouth City Council prior to evidence being heard. This was down to a legal argument that the Council would not be able to win, and in the interests of public funds, it was decided it was better to withdraw at this stage and reconsider enforcement options, than proceed and risk an expensive crown court appeal. The Council was ordered to pay Dam Good Head Shop £3000 to cover legal costs.