A shop selling legal highs and drugs paraphernalia has started trading in Hyde Park.
Rudeboy Headshop opened on Hyde Park Corner in July and prides itself on its range of new psychoactive substances or ‘legal highs’ as well as products such as grinders and bongs.
LS spoke to the owner of the shop, Cian Murphy, who said: “The police have visited us several times…We had a very frank discussion with them about the possible misuse of some of our products and the ill effect this can have on customers, particularly young adults such as students.”
The opening of the new shop comes after a recent LS investigation into the prevalence of legal highs in the city. However, when questioned by this paper, Leeds City Council said that because the shop is classed as a retail outlet the Council “wouldn’t have been involved at all” in it being allowed to trade.
Mr Murphy said: “People and the authorities are intelligent enough to know that there is a demand for our products.”
When this paper exposed Kirkstall Market earlier this year as a hot spot for legal highs it found that no advice was being given to students about how to use the substances safely. Rudeboy Headshop also stated “unfortunately we cannot give advice on how to ‘use’ [our products]”.
Substances available in Rudeboy include Gogain, Race and Chillax which contain similar chemical constituents to cocaine, ecstasy and mephedrone.
When questioned on the safety and legality of the substances available in his shop Mr Murphy said: “The police did inform us of several updates in the law but luckily we are constantly informing ourselves of changes in legislation.“ He went on to insist that he did not stock hallucinogenics.
The Police who voiced their concerns to LS over legal highs and their side effects. They stated that their main focus is to deter students and educate them on the potential dangers.
Chief Superintendent Paul Money, Commander of City and Holbeck Division, said: “Just because they can be bought legally doesn’t mean they are safe for people to take. They are chemical substitutes for illegal drugs and by labelling them ‘not for human consumption’ or marketing them as ‘research chemicals’, businesses are not breaking the law.”
Police have found there are numerous side effects to these substances and are working to highlight the risks that include breathing difficulties, heart palpitations, paranoia, psychosis, hallucinations, coma, seizures and death.
Photo: Leo Garbutt