Five arrests as two legal high shops raided in Cwmbran and Newport
6:26pm Thursday 24th October 2013 in News
Police officers from Gwent Police executed 3 warrants in relation to a legal high business operating from premises in Maindee and Pontnewydd, picture shows officers entering the premises in Pontnewydd (1769999)
FIVE people were arrested this afternoon after police raided two shops which sell legal highs.
The two stores, known as head shops, were raided by officers using a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Nearby residents cheered and youths gathered outside as police entered Chill on Commercial Street in Cwmbran, which opened in April.
At the same time, its sister shop, Chill two, on Church Road, Maindee, was also being raided in an operation involving more than 50 police officers.
Officers were instructed to remove any legal highs from the premises, as well as bongs tills, computers and books that will all be studied for evidence.
The legal highs seized will be sent away for analysis.
A 23-year-old man who runs the shops was arrested on suspicion of supplying drugs and money laundering. His girlfriend was also arrested on suspicion of being concerned in supply of drugs and money laundering.
One assistant was arrested at the Cwmbran shop and two shop assistants at the Newport shop, all on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of drugs.
At the Newport shop, two police vans and a police car pulled up outside the premises at around 1.45pm as a number of police officers made their way in.
Shortly after a police dog was also taken into the shop with officers also taking large plastic boxes and brown evidence bags inside.
Around 40 minutes later two more police officers turned up in another police van and two men were brought out of the shop in handcuffs and put into the back of the van.
Two police community support officers stood outside the store during the incident breaking away to knock on doors in the street and speak to residents and also, later on, to fetch some more brown evidence bags.
Police were still at the shop bagging items up more than two hours after their arrival.
Sgt Catherine Davey, who led the operation with PC Jennie Tinsley, said: “We have been experiencing problems since the shop opened, as well as an increase in anti social behaviour and crime. There has also been an increase in reports from the public with concerns about legal highs.
“We want to send the clear message out that Gwent Police is prepared to test the legislation on shops selling legal highs. Also that owners of these shops need to be fully aware of what they are selling.”
Neighbourhood Inspector for Cwmbran Neighbourhood Policing Team, Catherine Hawke, said: “We are concerned about the health of the people taking the substances and we know that under 18s use it.
“The key message is that legal does not mean safe.”