Trader ‘understands’ why legal highs were raided - but wishes officials had talked to her first

Julie Simmons, who runs Kathmandu EMN-141009-161503001
Julie Simmons, who runs Kathmandu EMN-141009-161503001

A trader who had legal highs seized from her shop in Boston says she can understand the reason behind the action - but says she would gladly have taken the items off the shelf if she had been asked.

Julie Simmons has been in charge at Kathmandu in West Street for 18 years, the shop which has seen 586 packets of the New Psychoactive Substances taken off sale by officials amid fears they may cause health issues.

She says accepts the reason behind the action – but feels trading standards officers could have had the courtesy to come to her with her fears and, if they had, would have removed the items from sale of her own accord.

She told The Standard: “I have always worked with the police and trading standards.

“I do understand where they are coming from but I do think with all the years I’ve been here they could have spoken to me.”

There has been a national debate over ‘legal highs’ - which as the very name suggests are not banned substances.

The Kathmandu owner says she buys the legal highs she sells from trusted suppliers and if a substance is ever re-classified or banned she would take it off sale with no qualms.

She said: “Everything I do is within the law.

“They need to be talking to the Government and the people who make the laws. There’s no point coming to people like me.”

Julie, who runs Legends on Emery Lane, feels the trading standards raid was prompted by a desire by politicians to show they are being ‘tough’ on such issues ahead of next year’s General Election.

She added: “Absolutely, there’s no two ways about it. This was all over the country. It was a Government initiative.”

The trader stressed that the legal highs she sells are consumed by people from all walks of life – and feels it was a craze that became popular out of the desire to take people off illegal drugs.

She said: “We have people who work in banks, solicitors. Everybody thinks it is just druggies but it’s not. People class it like going out for a drink at the weekend.

“It’s society that they want to look at. If everybody needs something to escape then there’s an issue.”

She also feels that there are many untested ‘legal highs’ being sold on the streets of Boston ‘under the counter’ from disreputable outlets and believes she has been an easier target for the authorities because she is open about what is on her shelves.