A man and a woman have this week been arrested following the seizures of legal highs at an industrial unit in Harworth which could run into millions of pounds.
The arrests of the male, 32, and female, 30, in the London area, were part of an operation involving officers from the London Regional Organised Crime Unit including the National Crime Agency.
The breakthrough comes as the National Trading Standards Scambuster Team East Midlands and officers from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), supported by the Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) in both the East Midlands and London regions, investigates the activities of a group responsible for the manufacture and nationwide distribution of the products.
The specialist Scambuster team – hosted by Notts County Council – work across the region to target organised criminals who set out with the intention of preying on the most vulnerable in communities across the East Midlands.
These latest arrests follow the execution of a warrant on Wednesday, August 12 by officers from Notts Police, EMSOU and the Scambuster team at an industrial unit in Harworth. The unit was being used to manufacture significant quantities of legal highs and enquiries have revealed that they were being distributed on a nationwide basis.
The estimated value of the raw material and finished product seized could run into millions. Two workers from Lincolnshire who were present at the unit were also arrested on the day of the warrants.
A further individual from Lincolnshire has subsequently been arrested and interviewed by Scambuster investigators. All three have been bailed.
The investigation into these activities continues and further arrests are expected.
Earlier this year, Notts County Council welcomed proposals for a blanket ban on so called legal highs as outlined in the Queen’s Speech.
Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, chairman of Notts County Council’s community safety committee, said: “Notts County Council Trading Standards team is working with Notts Police, National Trading Standards Scambuster Team East Midlands and other local partners to use the legislation currently in place to tackle the sale of NPS and will continue with our efforts to remove them from circulation.
“We are concerned that people are putting their lives at risk by consuming untested chemicals, that unscrupulous traders continue to sell.”
Lord Toby Harris, chair of National Trading Standards, said: “These so-called ‘legal highs’ would be better called ‘potentially lethal highs’ and this investigation sends a strong signal that we will not sit back while criminals manufacture and supply products that put people in harm’s way.
“Consumer safety is a top priority for National Trading Standards and that is why these arrests are so important. I commend the National Trading Standards Scambuster Team East Midlands and all other parties involved in this operation.”