West Yorkshire Police have called for vendors selling plastic bottles of soft drinks, Bic biros, copper tubes, sellotape and rubber bungs to be prosecuted if they knowingly sell them for the purposes of making improvised smoking paraphernalia to administer or prepare controlled drugs.
The announcement came after a West Yorkshire Police crackdown on so-called ‘legal highs’ following the successful prosecution in a Magistrate’s Court of a shop owner for supplying articles used to administer or prepare controlled drugs.
According to the Yorkshire Post, the court heard goods including bongs, plastic bags and grinders – all decorated with cannabis leaf motifs – were sold from the store.
While it is not illegal to sell the items in themselves, prosecutor Robert Campbell argued that store owner Hassan Abbas and fellow defendant, shop assistant Owen Allerton, would have known that they would be used by cannabis smokers.
Mr Campbell successfully argued that paraphernalia should only be sold if the vendor is absolutely certain they are to be used with legal tobacco (that contains chemicals such as tar, arsenic, benzene, cadimium, formaldelhyde, polonium-210, chromium, 1,3-butadiene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrosamines, and acrolein).
Following the successful prosecution of a legal VAT registered business, a spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said they would like to expand the initiative.
“Rather than put too much police resources into trivial matters such as murder, rape, burglary and the trafficking of Vietnamese slave children, we intend to crack down further on the vendors of any items which can be easily made into a DIY bong.
“It’s come to our attention people have been using empty bottles of Sprite, plastic tubing from Bic biro pens or copper pipes, to make their own homemade bongs with which to smoke cannabis. We are working with the Home Office to come up with new and innovative ways to stop people from smoking cannabis. The message needs to be sent out that bongs and pipes are only meant for smoking deadly tobacco.”
A spokesman for the Home Office said they welcomed the initiative and were considering new legislation, but accepted it might prove rather difficult, conceding there were some people who bought Mr Matey bubble bath for legitimate reasons.
The Home Office spokesman said, “We applaud this initiative by West Yorkshire Police and the message needs to put across that if people wish to fill their lungs with an intoxicating substance, then it must only be smoke from a substance that is manufactured by big multinational corporations, sold by all major supermarkets and generates billions in taxation for the Government.
“We are working closely with drug charities, neighbourhood watch schemes, Police Commissioners and law enforcement agencies, to ensure smoking paraphernalia is only sold in the UK for the purposes of smoking tobacco. Vendors who knowingly sell biro pens, plastic bottles or even packets of Pringles that are used to make improvised bongs for smoking cannabis can expect to feel the full force of the law.”