A POLICE inspector has urged people to stay away from legal highs after the latest incidents involving users under the influence.

Insp Bob Muckett says a large percentage of cases being dealt with by police in Taunton can be “tracked back to legal highs”.

His comments come after Dec Insp Ray Hulin told the County Gazette that psychoactive substances have claimed at least one life and are worse than heroin and crack cocaine.

Insp Muckett said a woman called the police when she spotted a 33-year-old local man injecting himself with a legal high in Wood Street Car Park last Thursday.

“He tried to run off when he was approached by a PCSO, but turned round and brandished an uncapped syringe at her,” said Insp Muckett.

“She called for back-up and it took six officers to restrain him.”

Another known legal high user, aged 37, was arrested on suspicion of a number of crimes in the early hours of Saturday, days after being released from prison, said Insp Muckett – he was bailed by magistrates until October for a deferred sentence.

He added: “Police resources are being soaked up with this issue.

“People using legal highs have no regard for members of the public or their safety and they run the risk of potentially life-threatening reactions.

“I don’t know how the people in the shops selling this stuff sleep at night. It’s despicable knowing what it’s going to be used for and not knowing the effect it can have on people.

“It’s taking up so much of our time.

“My real worry is we know people who use controlled substances are experimenting with legal highs.

“And I’m worried that other people who haven’t engaged with recreational substances of any kind are going to see legal highs as OK for them to take – the tacit implication from the shops is that it’s fine to take these things.

“I’d urge anybody contemplating using legal highs not to. It’s a time bomb.”