Calls to ban 'dangerous' legal high available in town

By Steve Hayes 13/03 Updated: 16/03 11:57

Buy photos » Figures in Stratford are calling on the Government to ban the legal high Black Mamba (s)

THE GOVERNMENT is being urged to ban a 'life-threatening' legal high following incidents in which teenagers have been taken ill after allegedly buying the substance in Stratford.

Stratford police sergeant, Rich Thomas, raised the issue with MP Nadhim Zahawi after officers in the town became aware of a problem with a legal high called Black Mamba.

It followed two incidents in the last few months involving teenagers in the town who claim to have taken the substance.

Black Mamba, sometimes referred to as Bliss or Bombay Blue, is taken by smoking and is supposed to give a similar high to marijuana but is understood not to show up on drug tests and is currently completely legal.

Speaking to the Observer this week, Sgt Rich Thomas, of Stratford police, said the force were eagerly awaiting a decision by the Government on the substance.

He said: "It is a rather unusual situation for us to be in really, we weren't aware of the substance until there was a problem with it.

"But the concern is people might want to use it but they don't know what is in it or whether or not it is safe.

"We'd urge people not to do so and we are waiting to see if the Government is going to use its powers to ban it."

Last week a 13-year-old boy was rushed to hospital in an ambulance after being found in public toilets in the town.

While earlier this year police were called by bystanders concerned about a disorientated 15-year-old boy found in the town who was rushed to hospital and claimed to have taken Black Mamba.

He was severely disorientated and had blood shot eyes suggesting his heart rate had increased considerably.

Representatives of a local radio station were able to purchase the substance at a Stratford store during an investigation this week.

But police and health officials have warned the substance may not be safe.

While the police can't act as long as the substance is illegal Sgt Thomas said they were looking into whether it is illegal to supply it to under 18s and trading standards are investigating allegations labels had been removed from bottles containing it.

MP Nadhim Zahawi raised the issue in the House of Commons during Prime Minister's Questions last week and David Cameron made a pledge to look into banning the substance.

Mr Zahawi urged the Government to take action.

He said: "I think it's disappointing a shop in Stratford is actively selling something that is known to be dangerous and has put lives at risk.

"I am extremely pleased that the Prime Minister confirmed on Wednesday that a decision will be made swiftly on the banning of this substance, a move that would give our hard working police significantly more power to tackle this growing problem."

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