‘We are powerless to act’

144403'The site of the new Greenworld shop on Falsgrave Road formerly a BMX shop.'Picture by Neil Silk'27/10/14
144403'The site of the new Greenworld shop on Falsgrave Road formerly a BMX shop.'Picture by Neil Silk'27/10/14

Scarborough Council admits its hands are tied to stop a shop selling ‘legal highs’ from reopening – even though they originally shut it down.

Controversial ‘head shop’ Greenworld is set to open up again at a new spot in Falsgrave, weeks after the council closed the Market Vaults unit over claims it breached its licence by selling the substances.

However the firm is set to open at a privately owned unit – meaning the council can’t stop it from reopening.

“We are aware that Greenworld is looking to open up its business in private premises elsewhere in the town,” said Cllr Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff, Scarborough Borough Council Cabinet Member for Democracy, Neighbourhoods and Stronger and Safer Communities.

“While we do not have the same powers to act on private property as we do on council owned premises, we are looking at all places where New Psychoactive Substances are sold and together with our partner agencies, will take action where appropriate on a case by case basis.”

The news comes after Scarborough Council revealed that it was to ‘ban’ legal highs from being sold on premises it owns or leases.

The move followed a campaign by The Scarborough News for action, and came as a report highlighted the devastating impact the substances were having on the town’s youth.

A report showed that police are dealing on average with around one case a day involving legal highs .

And children as young as 12 are getting their hands on them, according to the authority, with the toxic substances putting them in hospital.

By definition, it’s not illegal to sell them – but only to adults.

And in its report, the council states that it has reason to believe children have been able to buy them from ‘head’ shops.

The council also claims it has evidence to suggest adults have been buying them to then deal to children and teenagers, although Greenworld has previously maintained it only sells to adults.

We contacted Greenworld for a comment, but management has yet to respond.