Posted: 23.02.21 at 15:35 by Rory Poulter
Twickenham MP Munira Wilson has demanded an immediate “clampdown” on the sale of illegal Spice vape liquid in shops in the area.
As we reported police have recently launched investigations into the distribution of the cannabinoid replicating substance known to some as the ‘zombie drug’ for its intense effects.
These businesses have flourished during lockdown, operating on a click and collect basis through WhatsApp or Snapchat and charging as much as £50 for a 10ml bottle.
The substance, which was made illegal in 2016, is highly addictive and often mis-sold to teens as cannabis vape liquids.
The Twickenham MP, who is the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Health and Social Care, said: “I am extremely concerned by reports that these illegal substances are being sold by a number of vape shops in the local area. These substances are dangerous and people can become seriously ill.
“Police and trading standards must look into this issue as a matter of urgency and take all necessary action to clamp down on the supply of this illegal trade.
“We must do everything we can to protect people from these illegal and harmful substances and I encourage people in the community to come forward and alert the police if they have any further information.”
The issue of spice is a national crisis with these illegal bottles shipped in batches from as far away as Manchester to London to supply either shops in bulk or in singular Snapchat dealings.
The police have confirmed that sales of spice vape liquid is a growing problem. National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Drugs, DCC Jason Harwin, said: “Irrespective of where they come from, illegal drugs are harmful, and it is an offence to possess or sell these substances.
“We remain committed to enforcing drugs laws and protecting the public. We work with all levels of government, health and businesses to tackle new and emerging ways of supplying harmful drugs.”
Both the police and Trading Standards are investigating the illicit trade amid concerns for safety of young people in south west London.
Health experts warn the black market vapes may cause psychosis, trigger convulsions and result in unconsciousness and even death.
There have been instances around the UK of children being taken seriously ill, requiring hospital treatment. At the same time, the addictive chemicals can have a devastating impact on individuals, their personalities, relationships, and education.
A police spokesman for South West Command, which covers the boroughs of Richmond, Kingston, Wandsworth and Merton, said: ‘We have received reports regarding the sale of controlled substances on sale at shops in Kingston and Twickenham. Work is underway to establish whether any criminal offences have taken place.
‘We are liaising with our partners in the local council and in Trading Standards on this issue.’
The police are keen to receive any evidence of the trade from worried parents and others.
The spokesman added: “If someone is aware of the suspected criminal sale of controlled substances, they should contact police on 101, or on our website.
“You can also speak to your local neighbourhood team, visit a police station or report crime anonymously to 0800 555 111 and on the Crimestoppers website.”