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Camden News - by PAUL KEILTHY
Published: 11 June 2009
Police officers make their only arrest of the day inside a ‘head shop’ on Camden Town high street during the operation
Police officers make their only arrest of the day inside a ‘head shop’ on Camden Town high street during the operation
High time ‘head shops’ were closed

Police and health officials swoop on Camden Town’s stores that sell ‘drugs paraphernalia’

A MAJOR operation by police and drugs enforcement agencies swooped on Camden Town’s famous “head shops” yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.
In a high-profile – and highly politicised – operation, police officers and inspectors from the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) raided 20 shops in Camden High Street searching for illegal or unlicensed drugs including club scene favourites such as “Funk Pills”, “London Underground” and “BZP” – or Benzylpiperazine.
For decades the shops have sold waterpipes, large cigarette papers, and a range of hemp-branded goods that police consider “drugs paraphernalia” as well as so-called “legal highs” – substances on the margins of the law, like magic mushrooms.
Sgt Neil Payn said: “The drug market is fuelled by the large number of head shops in Camden. These sell paraphernalia including pipes, seeds, growing equipment, legal highs and magic mushrooms. [The raid] is entirely proportionate to the problem we’re dealing with – it’s a large-scale problem in Camden, to prevent the issues of drugs.”
At least 30 retailers cash in on Camden’s reputation and the shops have long been a source of irritation and embarrassment to the police and the council, which has pledged to break what it calls the high street’s “aggressive cannabis market”.
The medical authorities have come under pressure from government to crack down on drugs produced to simulate banned narcotics.
Nimo Ahmed, Head of Intelligence at MHRA, said: “It’s a misconception that because these types of drugs are not Class A, like cocaine or heroin, they must be legal. These drugs have not been assessed in any scientific way and could be detrimental to the health of a user.”
But with just one arrest and a handful of products seized – none obviously illegal – traders were complaining last night of a “mob-handed” raid, driven by a police desire to please Home Office masters during National Tackling Drugs Week.
“You would think they would write us a letter telling us that they think some of our products are illegal, like they would any other shopkeeper,” said one, who asked not to be named. “We are not drug dealers.”

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Typical cheap police harrassment on law abiding shop owners created by scared politicians constantly trying to deflect the media awat from thier own wrong doing. Prohibition has been proven not to work but still they continue this ridiculous farce!
S. O'Connor

The drug market is fuelled by a social problem; kids with no brains and poor values (and where did they get those from?) Furthermore, it's ignorant to refer to the 'drug market' without being specific as to what substances we are talking about (a really old cookie, and so boring now, as every cleverdick mentions it). However, the dope and hallucinogens are far less harmful than speed and heroin, and seem to attract a different type of user; the former are usually gentle idealists; the latter will kill you for a few bob. Now then...
1. Which group do those shops cater for?
2. Which group should the police be prioritising?
Simples, innit?
D. Prothero


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