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Chester shop loses appeal in legal highs ruling

Court backs Cheshire Police for issuing a Community Protection Notice preventing sale of psychoactive substances

A shocking police video - which has no connection with Dr Herman's - showing a man collapsing in Chester after apparently having taken one of the substances obtained from an unknown supplier.

Cheshire Police is heralding a landmark legal victory that means an order preventing a Chester shop from selling so-called legal highs remains in place.

The constabulary issued a Community Protection Notice (CPN) against Dr Herman’s in Eastgate Row last October which prevents them selling, offering or exposing for sale any psychoactive substances in the Chester area.

Dr Herman’s, part of a chain owned by Sean Ellman, challenged the notice but District Judge Wyn Jones, sitting at city magistrates yesterday (March 16), ruled against the appeal and in favour of the police’s action.

Sean Ellman
Owner Sean Ellman outside Dr Herman's

Emergency services and Cheshire West and Chester Council have been growing increasingly concerned at the number of people collapsing in the busy streets of Chester city centre, on occasions appearing lifeless, after taking legal highs.

Related story: Three Chester city centre shops targeted by police over legal highs

Victims of this addiction often suffer these adverse effects in full view of passers-by, including young children.

That’s why a number of CPNs were served on different premises in the city as the Constabulary took action to protect people against the dangerous – albeit legal – substances being sold over their counters.

A CCTV screengrab of a man being taken to an ambulance having collapsed on The Rows after taking a legal high.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Roberts said: “Public safety is at the heart of everything we do and we welcome this ruling as it supports the positive action that officers in Chester have taken to tackle the dangers of so-called legal highs.

Related story: Legal highs targeted in proposed Chester anti-social behaviour policy

“Our action has been supported by the public, who recognise the dangers of the substances and often are on the receiving end of the anti-social behaviour of users of legal highs.

“Since we’ve issued these notices in Chester, we’ve seen a reduction in the public use of new psychoactive substances. The decision taken by the court will also help to protect vulnerable people who may not know the impact that these drugs can have.

A CCTV screengrab showing a man collapsed on The Rows after taking legal highs.

“We will continue to work hard to ensure that we’re here for the local communities, when and where they need us, keeping them safe.

“It seems clear to me that some suppliers of legal highs put profit before people’s safety. We will continue to work hard to tackle psychoactive substances and are very happy the court has supported our action to keep the public safe. The public would expect us to take action and this is a welcome development.”

The Chronicle is attempting to contact owner Mr Ellman for a comment.

Sean Ellman, son of MP Louise Ellman, leaving Chester Magistrates Court
Sean Ellman leaving Chester Magistrates Court in April 2014 during the failed case brought by CWaC

CWaC was praised for bringing a prosecution against Mr Ellman and his company Salsa Enterprises Ltd in 2012 in relation to the sale of the legal high Gogaine but the case collapsed because trading standards forgot to test the chemical substances involved.

Related story: Case collapses after Cheshire West and Chester Council fails to test ‘legal high’ drugs

National legislation targeted at those who produce and distribute psychoactive substances is due to be introduced later this year which will ban the sale of psychoactive substances.



David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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