Legal high takings '$7500 a day'

By Simon Hendery

23 comments
A CCTV camera showed about 140 customers entering the store in three hours.
A CCTV camera showed about 140 customers entering the store in three hours.

Customers of Napier's only legal high retailer were spending an estimated $7500 a day on psychoactive substances even before an "influx" of new shoppers when similar stores in Hastings were forced to close.

The estimated daily spend at the Adult Selections store was calculated by Napier City Council staff monitoring video footage of customers going in and out of the Dickens St shop.

In a report prepared for a meeting tomorrow of the council's community development committee, staff said monitoring of a CCTV camera, installed above a toilet block across the road from the store on January 23, showed about 140 customers going into the store during a three-hour period.

"This level of activity could result in around $3000 worth of sales within the three hour period - or around $7500 per day," the report says.

The monitoring was done soon after the CCTV camera was installed in January.

Just over a week ago, the Ministry of Health forced the closure of the two legal high stores in Hastings, temporarily suspending their licenses while it investigates potential breaches of the city's local approved products policy.

The closure of the Hastings stores has resulted in what police called "an influx of buyers" to the Napier store and it is generally believed its sales have increased significantly.

Police have increased their presence in Dickens St in response to the increased foot and vehicle traffic associated with the store, and amid concerns from nearby businesses about the behaviour of its customers.

In the report to be discussed at tomorrow's committee meeting, council staff outline a number of steps proposed to address concerns about Adult Selection's customers.

These include removing seating in Dickens St "to address loitering" and increasing the range of CCTV monitoring.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton has said he is concerned about the issue and the council will do all it can to reduce the impact of the legal high store on other businesses and residents.

The council's hands are tied however, in terms of forcing the shop to close. While Napier has a local approved products policy in place similar to that operating in Hastings, the Adult Selections store meets all the conditions it imposes.

Under the Psychoactive Substances Act, which became law last year, councils are not able to put policies in place that are so restrictive they prevent legal high stores from operating.

Meanwhile, a Hastings woman appeared in the Hastings District Court yesterday charged with selling synthetic cannabis without a licence.

Susan Margaret Sullivan, a 49-year-old kitchen hand, was remanded on bail without plea to re-appear in court again next month.

Police said they found a large amount of psychoactive substances and cash at her Heretaunga St East home last week.

She faces a maximum penalty of three months' jail and a $40,000 fine.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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