Police seize £29,000 from former Northampton shopkeeper who sold “legal highs’ to children

James Johnstone
James Johnstone

A former Northampton shopkeeper who sold ‘legal highs’ that cause the same psychological effects as cannabis to schoolchildren has been ordered to hand over almost £29,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

James Johnstone, aged 59, was charged with five counts of supplying intoxicating substances to a person under the age of 18 after test purchases were carried out at his Misty Haze shop in the Drapery last year.

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Northampton Crown Court heard last September that Northamptonshire Police carried out five test purchases using 16-year-olds between October 11 and November 1 and the children were supplied with ‘legal highs’ on every occasion.

Gary Short, prosecuting, said the Misty Haze shop “flirted with illegality” by providing material that assisted with the growing of cannabis.

The court heard on Friday that police had seized £14,500 in cash from the Misty Haze shop and £14,100 from two of Johnstone’s bank accounts.

Judge Lynn Tayton ordered that the money, which he had made from selling the legal highs, be paid back within 12 months.

During the same hearing Johnstone pleaded guilty to two shoplifting offences from Morrisons in Northampton.

Despite the fact he was in breach of the three-month suspended prison sentence he was given last September, Judge Tayton decided not to send him to jail as he was progressing well with his community order.

Judge Tayton gave Johnstone, of Alexandra Road, Desborough, a conditional discharge for the two shoplifting offences and added an extra 20 hours to his unpaid work order for his breach of the suspended sentence.