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‘Legal highs’ ban in force

The ban on new Psychoactive Substances (NPS) – also known as ‘legal highs’ – is officially in force in Warrington.

Warrington Borough Council’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) – which prohibits legal highs in the town centre and nearby areas within Bewsey and Whitecross and Fairfield and Howley – became active on 14 July. It will be in place for a three-year period.

The PSPO means that police, PCSOs and enforcement officers can act against anyone behaving in a way that causes alarm or distress and can also confiscate any substances they may possess. A breach of the PSPO can be dealt with through the issuing of a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100, or a level three fine, £1,000, on prosecution.

Signage advising people of the Order will be put up in the designated areas, advising that ‘any persons within the Restricted Area will not ingest, inhale, inject, smoke or otherwise use intoxicating substances’.

Clr Judith Guthrie, executive board member for public protection, said: “The damage to individuals families and communities caused by these drugs is considerable. Warrington Borough Council is working with key partners like the police to ensure that we protect people from the dangers of these substances and from the anti-social behaviour that it can cause.”

The Psychoactive Substances Act was introduced in spring 2016, meaning none of the drugs are legal to produce, supply, or import or export for human consumption. In reality, many do actually contain controlled substances, which are illegal, or controlled substances whose side effects cannot be predicted.

A Warrington Borough Council consultation showed that 86% were in support of introducing a PSPO to deter people taking NPS and behaving erratically (in an anti-social manner) in Warrington town centre.

. Anyone aged 13 – 19 can get specialist support and intervention from the Young Person’s Drug and Alcohol Team, Orford Youth Base, Capesthorne Road, 01925 4424400
. Anyone aged 18 or over can access Pathways to Recovery, 14-16 Bold Street, 01925 415176
. Anyone affected by someone else’s substance misuse can get support from family support service Footsteps, the Gateway, Sankey Street, 01925 244524.

There is now a six week ”challenge” period, whereby any person can challenge the order through the high court.

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