Shop owner from Desborough who sold legal highs to under-18s ordered to pay back nearly £30,000

James Johnstone

James Johnstone

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A shop owner caught running a business selling legal highs to under-18s has been ordered to pay back £28,798.

James Johnstone, 59, of Alexandra Road, Desborough, was convicted in September 2014 of selling intoxicating substances to under-18s, when test purchases were carried out at his Misty Haze shop in Northampton town centre.

The shop in Northampton

The shop in Northampton

He appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Friday, February 27, before Judge Tayton who ordered that he had benefited from his criminal conduct and was ordered to pay back the money.

Last year, also at Northampton Crown Court, he was given a three-month suspended sentence, an 18-month supervision order and ordered to carry out 120 hours of unpaid work.

Det Sgt Wayne Preece, from the financial investigation unit, said: “This is a successful result for us.

“As financial investigators, our main aim is to always apply to the court for confiscation using the law of the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Those who commit crime will not only get sentenced but also lose their assets.

Det Sgt Wayne Preece

“Following a successful conviction we will seek to identify assets and let the courts recover them through the act.

“Those who commit crime will not only get sentenced but also lose their assets.”

DC Gareth Askew, who led the initial investigation, said: “The name ‘legal highs’ is misleading – these are dangerous chemicals, not fit for human consumption.

“They are linked to mental health issues and even death.

“Nobody can be sure what they contain or the effect they might have on their health.”

Confiscation of funds through the Proceeds of Crime Act is returned to the Home Office.