Police-led operation hits Invercargill dairy
AMANDA PARKINSON AND NEIL RATLEY
Police have closed an Invercargill dairy after a surveillance operation relating to legal highs.
The Invercargill area tactical manager, Inspector Olaf Jensen, said the Rugby Park Food Centre in Tweed St was closed at 7.30am yesterday after police seized several legal high "exhibits" during a search.
"Investigations are in the early stages," Mr Jensen said.
"We are talking with other people who may be involved."
Police also confirmed a man was charged with a firearms offence and would appear in court next Tuesday.
Authorities said the joint investigation was conducted by the Invercargill City Council, Public Health South and the police.
The dairy would remain closed for at least 14 days while the agencies investigated.
Inquiries would address several concerns.
Invercargill City Council environmental health and compliance services manager John Youngson said the council was concerned about the condition of the premises and the storage of food being sold.
"The initial closure was by the police, but we would not like to reopen it until the food matters have been resolved."
Mr Jensen said while the fire service was not involved in the initial investigation, staff later attended over building safety and compliance.
Rugby Park Food Centre owner Murray Baird was selling legal highs from the shop when The Southland Times visited in May.
The Psychoactive Substances Act, introduced in mid-July, prohibits the sale of legal highs from dairies.
Mr Baird has since applied to sell legal highs from a shop beside his other city dairy, in Crinan St.
His application is still listed as under consideration on the Ministry of Health website.
Mr Baird could not be contacted for comment last night.
Mr Jensen said investigations were also being carried out on other stores in Invercargill "in respect to selling legal highs".
- © Fairfax NZ News
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