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Plans to tackle legal highs unveiled

A Home Office minister says that swifter Government action is needed to tackle the problems posed by so called legal highs.

Powers for year-long bans that can be put in place quickly will help take new substances off the market while a comprehensive review of their potential harm is carried out, Crime Prevention Minister James Brokenshire said.

The ban will send a clear message to users that these substances carry a risk and will prevent new chemicals becoming widely available, the Home Office said.

Under the proposals, police will be able to confiscate suspected substances and the UK Border Agency will seize shipments entering the country.

Anyone caught supplying a banned substance will face a maximum 14-year jail sentence and an unlimited fine.

It comes after the legal high Ivory Wave was blamed for the death of chef Michael Bishton, 24, whose body was found in the sea in Whitecliff Bay, near Bembridge, Isle of Wight, on Saturday.

His girlfriend Sammy Betts, 21, said he had started to become paranoid at his mother’s home after taking the substance.

Ivory Wave is sold legally for about £15 a packet and is advertised as relaxing bath salts. But the product has become popular as a legal alternative to illicit drugs.