Ipswich shopkeeper pleads guilty to trading ‘New Psychoactive Substances’

Published 13 Apr 2016

Ipswich Magistrates Court heard Ali Reza Zarei, owner of the Stop Press shop in Ipswich plead guilty to selling a range of new untested psychoactive substances.

In the case, brought by Suffolk County Council’s Trading Standards, Ali Reza Zarei pleaded guilty to all 7 charges brought against him.

He was given a 12 week prison sentence per charge, suspended for 12 months as well as a £1000 fine. He was also ordered to pay £2100 in costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Amongst the charges brought against Mr Zarei include ‘placing an unsafe product on the market’, ‘supplying an unsafe product’ and failing to correctly test and label products sold in the shop.

The Trading Standards investigation began when the shop was visited and advice was given jointly by trading standards and Suffolk police with regard to New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), so-called ‘legal highs’.

Police advised Mr Zarei that these items could contain substances under the Misuse Of Drugs Act, whilst Trading Standards repeatedly advised that under the General Product Safety Regulations, NPS are unsafe for various reasons, including a lack of testing and insufficient information on the labelling.

Mr Zarei initially waived over his stock of NPS but was later found to be selling again when Suffolk Police led a raid on the premises in November 2014.

All the NPS and associated paraphernalia were seized but found to not contravene the Misuse of Drugs Act. The case was referred to Trading Standards to investigate potential breaches of safety legislation.

Welcoming the outcome of the prosecution case, Councillor Sarah Stamp, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for communities said:

“I would like to pass on my sincere thanks to Suffolk Trading Standards for all the work they have done in this case.

“The supply of untested and dangerous substances in our community is of enormous concern and cannot be tolerated. Products available from this shop were unsafe; there is no way of knowing what damage could be done to people buying these substances.”

Robin Pivett the Suffolk Police Controlled Drug and Chemical Liaison Officer said:

“These substances mimic the effects of controlled drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis and can take the form of powders, pills and herbal. They are not all covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act as their chemical structure has been slightly altered, which makes them very dangerous as it is impossible to predict the side effects or long-term health risks that they may cause.

“The dangers of ingesting or smoking many of the substances that are being openly sold as safe are really unknown. Suppliers are trying to hide by giving messages such as not to be sold to those under 18yrs, not for human consumption or used for chemical research only, but what they are really doing is circumnavigating the law in order to make a financial gain for themselves, giving little or no thought of the health implications to the user.

“Risks of legal highs include reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, psychosis, hallucinations, coma and seizures. Many have been directly linked to emergency hospital admissions and, in some cases, deaths. One type of substance can also be much stronger than another, in some cases, ten times stronger and this can lead to accidental overdosing”

Suffolk Police are working with Suffolk Trading Standards to try and continue raising awareness of chemical highs and their dangers.

Anyone with concerns about the supply of ‘psychoactive substances’’ can report these anonymously to Trading Standards:

  • phone: 03454 04 05 06

About suffolktradingstandards
Suffolk Trading Standards is working towards creating and fair and safe trading environment. By creating empowered consumers, that are armed with the knowledge to stop 'rogue traders'.

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