Why police blunder meant teen caught with 'Spice' was wrongly charged

Jake Tindall was wrongly arrested for possession of Spice, a synthetic form of cannabis.
Jake Tindall was wrongly arrested for possession of Spice, a synthetic form of cannabis.

A police blunder meant a teenager was wrongly charged for possessing a ‘legal high’.

Jake Tindall was due to appear at Beverley Magistrates’ Court charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Police had collared the 18-year-old, of Ferndale Terrace, with a quantity of ‘Spice’ on February 21.

The synthetic form of cannabis is known for inducing psychotic episodes, paranoia, increased anxiety and hallucinations in its users.

However, Ed Cunnah, defending, phoned his client ahead of the hearing on Thursday (March 16) and told him not to bother showing up.

Mr Cunnah addressed magistrates: “I told him not to come and you will understand when my friend tells you about it.”

Mr Cunnah handed over to Sally Robinson, prosecuting, who said: “Quite simply, the matter before the court is wrong.

“Mr Tindall was found with a substance the police didn’t do testing on because he said it was Spice.

“Police charged him under the Misuse of Drugs Act. It should have been the Psychoactive Substance Act.”

The legislation brought into effect last year makes it illegal to distribute so-called legal highs.

But there is nothing in the act that prohibits actually possessing drugs like Spice.

Ms Robinson added: “The issue the court faces is what do the police do with the drugs? They can’t let him have them back.”

Mr Cunnah said if police were to return the Spice to Tindall that they would themselves be breaking the law.

He added: “I have told him he can’t ask for it back, because just giving someone it is an offence.”

The solicitor recommended presiding magistrate Sue Ackrill impose a Section 51 order for police to forfeit the Spice.

She said: “The bench will make an order for the forfeiture and destruction of said Spice.”