DETECTIVES have raided a legal high shop in Edinburgh – less than three days after the tragic death of Alex Heriot at Rock Ness music festival.
A team of nine officers entered the Apothecary, in the city’s Clerk Street, at 3pm and took away dozens of items.
The squad could also be seen taking photographs inside the store, which describes itself as “your local headshop” and sells pipes, bongs, herbs and legal highs.
Lothian and Borders Police today confirmed they were involved in an operation at the store and working with Northern Constabulary, which is taking the lead role in probing the death of Alex.
The 19-year-old, from Portobello, Edinburgh, collapsed and died on Saturday night after taking the legal high Benzo Fury at the festival near Inverness.
The Apothecary was recently reported to be selling bags of Benzo Fury for £10, although there is currently nothing to suggest they sold the product to Alex.
Police had already been at the store for several hours today when a marked van arrived containing three uniformed and six plain clothes officers.
Officers then filled the van with around 40 packages, bags and buckets in five minutes.
Three bin liners appeared to hold clear individual bags containing a herbal substance.
Other packages were carried out wrapped in dark green plastic approximately 1.5ft wide and about 8inches thick.
There was also a sealed white bucket which read “White Vein” on top of it.
Onlookers stopped and stared at the dramatic scene which was over in a matter of moments. One shouted: “Aye quite right – shut the s***hole down!”
Police refused to comment on the nature of the packages that were confiscated as they drove off with their lights flashing.
The owner of Apothecary could not be seen during the removal and remained inside.
The shop’s website advertises the legal highs Kratome and Salvia.
A blog for the shop says: “Apothecary is a headshop based in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK and sells a wide range of bongs, herbs, pipes and incense.”
The shop was for much of today closed with heavy steel shutters in the windows and blocking the door.
Earlier, an officer at the scene identified himself as being CID from the city’s Craigmillar police station.
He said: “We are carrying out a general evidence investigation in conjunction with Northern Constabulary.
“The owner of the shop will be continue to be involved with the investigation in the meantime.”
Neighbouring businesses described the shop as being popular with youngsters.
One woman working in a neighbouring fashion boutique said: “It’s usually young folk that go in – people that look as young as 16, maybe younger.”
Another nearby cafe worker said: “His shop is quite popular judging by the amount of folk you see going in it.”
A man answered the phone at the shop but declined to comment.
It is understood Alex was given the legal high by a friend. After collapsing, he was taken to Raigmore Hospital but doctors were unable to save him.
Two other young people, including a 19-year-old woman thought to be his girlfriend, were also hospitalised in the incident.
Alex’s mother, Deirdre, paid tribute to her son and begged other youngsters not to become victims.
She said: “Alex, our much loved son, was happy, caring, kind, loyal and affectionate and joined in enthusiastically with any project.
“He was very popular with a large group of close, good friends. He was beautiful both on the outside and the inside where it matters most.
“He loved his life.
“The fact that we will not be seeing him wandering around the house with his laptop playing his music, teasing his sister and asking if there was any food and could he have a bus fare please is unbearable.
“Alex was attending a music festival which he had been looking forward to enormously.
“As a young man who enjoyed life it was unfortunate he chose to experiment with a drug that had such a catastrophic effect on his system.”
John Arthur, director of drug information service Crew 2000, today said caution was needed over legal highs.
“We have no idea what is in some of them and neither have the young people who are buying them. And every time one is banned, another 10 appear.”
The 30,000 crowd which gathered at Dores was generally well behaved, according to police, who carried out 235 positive drug searches and dealt with six for alleged dealing.
When asked about the raid, a spokeswoman for Northern Constabulary said: “We can confirm it’s an inquiry ongoing in our area.”