Pair fined in first prosecutions for flouting legal highs ban
Two people have been taken to court for ignoring a ban on legal highs in what are thought to be the first prosecutions of their kind in Britain.
Lincoln City Council was the first authority in the country to ban the use of legal highs in public places in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour.
The Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) came into force in Lincoln on April 1 - ahead of a proposed wider ban on legal highs which is currently going through Parliament.
More than 200 people have been handed fixed-penalty notices in Lincoln and two people have now been successfully prosecuted for flouting the ban.
Kristofer McAllister, 32, of Lincoln, was caught with open packets of legal highs at an underpass the day after the new rules came into force, and failed to pay a fixed-penalty notice.
David Rhodes, 24, also of Lincoln, was stopped by a police officer on the same day and was found to have a tobacco tin containing legal highs. He was also fined but failed to pay.
Both appeared at Lincoln Magistrates' Court, with McAllister fined £150 and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge and Rhodes fined £200, as well as being ordered to pay costs of £200 and a £15 victim surcharge.
Sam Barstow, service manager for public protection and anti-social behaviour at the city council, said: "We believe the order has already had a huge impact in the city centre and these outcomes in court are very promising, showing that the consumption of legal highs is something the council, police and courts take very seriously.
"It's become extremely well-recognised now that legal highs can cause a lot of damage to individuals, families and communities, and we are pleased to have secured the first prosecutions of this kind in the country."
Inspector Pat Coates, of Lincolnshire Police, said: "We are pleased that the courts have supported the action the police and city council have taken using the Public Space Protection Order.
"We continue to enforce the order on a daily basis in the city centre and since the introduction of the order we believe we have seen a reduction in consumption of these substances and the associated anti-social behaviour it causes."