A TOP detective has branded a Taunton business “a disgrace” as evidence of ‘legal highs’ devastating people’s lives emerges.

Detective Inspector Ray Hulin says at least one man in the town has died after taking psychoactive substances, which he claims are worse than heroin and crack cocaine.

In incidents linked to the Hush shop on Bridge Street, DI Hulin says: *a “fully functional” man on prescription drugs who took legal highs called Green Goblins died after repeatedly banging his head against a wall; *a professional nearly died after taking Red Devils – he described feeling a substance crawling through his veins towards his heart.

Selling legal highs is not a crime provided the buyer is not told they are for human consumption.

“How the shop owner sleeps at night, I’ve no idea – it’s a disgrace,” said DI Hulin.

“What these people are doing is taking money and risking people’s lives. Morally what’s happening is wrong.”

DI Hulin said most of the legal highs are synthetically produced in China and users don’t know exactly what they’re taking.

He added: “When people buy it, they don’t know how much to take.

“If they have friends in the drugs scene, they know how much heroin to take and can offer some sort of private care and support if there’s a problem. This stuff is just a lottery.”

DI Hulin estimates around a person a week takes an overdose.

“Paramedics are unsure what medication to use because they don’t know what the patient has taken,” he said.

“This isn’t a recreational drug – it’s horrific, worse than crack cocaine and heroin.

“There are real dangers as people don’t know how to cope with what they’re taking.”

Hush was raided before Christmas by police, who seized £250,000 of stock, although no evidence of any illegal activity was found.

Hush owner Simon Tomlin, who accuses the County Gazette of “biased and sensationalist” reporting on legal highs, declined to comment apart from saying he has co-operated with all police inquiries into his business.




*Police say intelligence reports indicate some legal high users are taking crack cocaine to come down from legal highs.

*Three burglary suspects were arrested this month – DI Hulin said their lifestyle is “commit crime, sell stolen goods, buy legal highs”.

*A queues of drug users formed outside Hush recently when it failed to open on time and “caused carnage”, banging on windows and acting in an anti-social way towards passers-by because they were desperate for legal highs, DI Hulin said.

*A 37-year-old man was rescued by firefighters from the roof of a building at Taunton’s County Ground on Saturday evening. He was taken to hospital to be treated for the effect of legal highs, according to Insp Bob Muckett, who said the man had been reported for causing a public order offence in town earlier that day.

*DI Hulin said he estimated 80% of Hush customers were drug users, the occasional businessman went there and some children visited later in the day.