A shop linked to the trade in legal highs has opened in Aberdeen city-centre, just weeks after its owners’ previous store was closed by police.
Harminasion in George Street was the first business of its kind in Scotland to be shut down after police were granted an antisocial behaviour closure order by Aberdeen Sheriff Court.
Now it has emerged that the team behind the enterprise have opened a new store on King Street, selling “research chemicals”.
Speaking yesterday, one of the owners, Scott Allan, promised to continue trading, even if the police move to close the new unit.
He said: “If the police want to shut us down again, they can go and start their investigation to get us an ASBO but we will open somewhere else because we are entitled to.
“I don’t know why the police are picking on us.
“They still have two to three months before they can do anything to us and by that time the George Street shop will be open again.”
The previous business was ordered to stay closed for three months after being linked to a number of offences – among them, shoplifting, breaches of the peace, and people pawning possessions for cash.
News of the King Street move has sparked anger among some in the community.
North East MSP Alex Johnstone launched a debate in the Scottish Parliament on legal highs and also sits on the ministerial group on legal highs.
He said: “I am of the view that there is no place in our communities for these products and I want to see an end to the so-called head shops on our high streets.
“We cannot get into a situation where the authorities close down one shop, only to see another one spring up somewhere else. It is clear that the Scottish and UK governments need to work together to address a situation that is causing so much concern. I intend to raise this latest development with the minister when the working group on the subject next meets.”
A police spokesman said: “We’re aware of the new premises and are monitoring the situation. There have been no reports of criminality to date.
“However, police will deal with any instances of social behaviour or related activity if required.”
Producers and suppliers of so-called legal highs could face up to seven years in jail under new legislation being proposed by the UK Government.