THIS shocking picture captured on a police body camera shows two ‘legal high’ users slumped almost unconscious on the floor of a public loo beside a busy square where people were enjoying their lunch in the sun.
The men had crashed out after injecting themselves in the Castle Green public conveniences in Taunton town centre at around 2.30pm on a Monday afternoon earlier this month.
A pensioner with no connection to them was filmed casually walking out of the premises moments before the PCSO went in and police say they fear a child using the toilets could have picked up a syringe with dire consequences.
Police say one of the men appeared groggy as he came round, while it took ten minutes to rouse his friend before they were moved on.
Acting Inspector Neil Kimmins said: “Our fear is that if people are injecting in public toilets in broad daylight, then children could go into the toilets, pick up a used needle and accidentally stab themselves. I can see it’s only a matter of time.
“If people want to take legal highs in a private house, society says they can do that.
“But here they’re stepping outside the normal rules of society, sticking their fingers up and saying, ‘We’re going to do what we like’.
“The public who pay their taxes shouldn’t have this experience coming into Taunton.
“It’s not right that people in that lovely area sit down to have their lunch and before they leave go into the toilets to see this.”
PC Jim Breakwell said most of the 20 to 30 regular legal high users in Taunton buy their products in the Hush store, in Bridge Street – it is not illegal to sell legal highs so long as it is not suggested they are for human consumption, but Hush owner Simon Tomlin refuses to comment on the issue.
PC Breakwell added: “We’re trying to educate users by talking to them when they aren’t under the influence.
“But they can’t remember what they’re like when they take them. They don’t know what they’re doing. The message isn’t getting through.
“We don’t know how it’s going to affect people long term.”
LEGAL HIGH CHAOS CASE STUDIES FROM TAUNTON POLICE A TEACHER, who is non-drug user and has no criminal record, took a £25 legal high in his parents’ garden at 4.30pm. He was convinced he was going to die but was unable to summon his parents’ help, even though they were yards away inside the house. He was eventually able to phone his mother at 10pm and she helped bring him round with coffee.
PC Jim Breakwell said: “A few friends told him legal highs are OK and he wanted to try it. He’s a normal guy and not a drug user. The first time he took it he was left scared physically and mentally. He’s still suffering psychologically and his self-esteem is low because he can’t understand how he allowed himself to get dragged into it.”
A FATHER fears he could face financial ruin as he funds his daughter’s legal high habit. He has forked out £3,000 over the last four months buying the highly addictive substances for her daughter, who is in her early 20s, so that she does not become homeless or turn to crime.
Acting Inspector Neil Kimmins said: “He just doesn’t know what to do and has turned to the police – but there’s not a lot we can do as the law stands.”
POLICE checking on a man and a woman sleeping rough in Taunton’s Vivary Park area discovered 60 used needles in a public area.
The pair, who do not work and do not claim benefits, are both taking four legal highs costing £12.50 a hit every day. PC Breakwell claims they fund their habit through crime, including begging.
ONE man told officers he mixes his legal highs with methadone – prescribed to help wean addicts off heroin – because it helps him get much higher than using heroin.