Fears have been expressed about the effects of “legal highs” on both traders and the users themselves.
One Belfast councillor said an emergency meeting was staged yesterday at City Hall to address anti-social behaviour stemming from such substances.
Sinn Fein’s Deirdre Hargey, who sits on the 21-member Policing and Community Safety Partnership for south Belfast, said it came in the wake of a meeting about the problems, organised by traders from the Smithfield area.
They are said to be fed up with things like theft and vandalism, she said, adding: “Police would very strongly link this behaviour to these substances.”
She said the problem affects the whole city centre, and that a number of hospital admissions are also linked to such substances.
The partnership meets every month anyway, but she said yesterday’s gathering was to let traders know that they were taking action; both by making arrests, and by keeping a close eye on the trade itself.
Forms were distributed to traders during the week, asking them to log instances of anti-social behaviour.