'Legal high' sellers ordered to pay back £500,000

image copyrightCity of Edinburgh Council via Press Association

Two drug dealers have been ordered to pay back more than £500,000 of profits from selling so-called "legal highs".

Financial investigators pursued the two men, Stuart Percival and James Powell, for the money raised from the sale of psychoactive substances online.

After a four-year pursuit, the men admitted the six-figure sum in their bank account was acquired unlawfully.

Percival, 33, paid £303,320 last year and Powell, 31, paid back £270,093 in 2018.

Legal restrictions meant the recovery could not be reported until now.

A ban on so-called legal highs came into force across the UK in 2016 when the Psychoactive Substances Act came into force.

'Reckless sale'

The money was recovered by the Civil Recovery Unit, a specialist team of solicitors and financial investigators instructed by the Scottish government.

Jennifer Harrower, procurator fiscal for specialist casework, said: "Stuart Percival and James Powell profited from the reckless sale of novel psychoactive substances, benefiting from money they were not entitled to.

"Civil recovery is a vital tool for disrupting crime in Scotland and one of the many ways we can target those who try to profit from crime.

"The large sum of money recovered from these individuals will be reinvested into our communities through Cashback for Communities."

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