Legal highs ban welcomed by South Yorkshire MPs

File photo dated 10/02/11 of Dan Jarvis, the former Army officer turned MP will become the first serving politician in more than 60 years to be awarded a military honour when he receives an MBE from the Prince of Wales. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 14, 2011. Mr Jarvis, an ex-Parachute Regiment Major, will be recognised for services to the Armed Forces and also designing and delivering a training system that teaches troops to spot tell tale signs of improvised explosive devices. See PA story ROYAL Investiture. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire
File photo dated 10/02/11 of Dan Jarvis, the former Army officer turned MP will become the first serving politician in more than 60 years to be awarded a military honour when he receives an MBE from the Prince of Wales. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 14, 2011. Mr Jarvis, an ex-Parachute Regiment Major, will be recognised for services to the Armed Forces and also designing and delivering a training system that teaches troops to spot tell tale signs of improvised explosive devices. See PA story ROYAL Investiture. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

A ban on so-called legal highs which are sold and cause problems across South Yorkshire has been welcomed by county politicians.

The Government has published the Psychoactive Substances Bill to prohibit and disrupt the production, distribution, sale and supply of new psychoactive substances.

Under the bill it will be an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, possess with intent to supply, import or export psychoactive substances - with a maximum sentence of seven years in prison for offenders.

A campaign for legal highs to be banned has been run by Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis in the past year.

He said an increase in the sale had caused a ‘surge’ in anti-social behaviour’ with people collapsing, vomiting and urinating in the streets.

Mr Jarvis added: “I welcome the Government’s announcement to bring forward legislation that will ban the sale of so called ‘legal highs’.

“I look forward to looking more carefully at these plans. “Having met with concerned residents on countless occasions, I know that simply banning ‘legal-highs’ will not be enough to eradicate the level of anti-social behaviour that has been generated around the Sheffield Road area.

‘With this in mind, I will continue to work with South Yorkshire Police and Barnsley Council to clamp down on unacceptable behaviour on our streets.

“I am determined that no-one in our community feels too intimidated to walk down their own road, or too afraid to send their children to buy a pint of milk from the corner shop.

“It’s time we reclaimed our town.

“And it’s time those who have been selling ‘legal highs’ packed up and left.”

In Sheffield, Heeley MP Louise Haigh said she had also been approached by constituents about problems with the sale of legal highs.

She said: “People do just assume that if you can buy it from a shop or market then it is reasonably safe - I did have a school and a community group raise problems with me.

“I was told that one man had died from taking it and another had a stroke and he was paralysed.

“As with all drugs there needs to be much more education and much greater awareness because a lot of young people assume that if you can buy it down the shop then it will be fine.”

The Home Office said the new bill would create powers to seize and destroy psychoactive substances as well as powers to search persons, premises and vehicles for them.

Mike Penning, minister for policing, crime, criminal justice and victims, said: “The landmark bill will fundamentally change the way we tackle new psychoactive substances - and put an end to the game of cat and mouse in which new drugs appear on the market more quickly than Government can identify and ban them.”