Exmouth shop criticised

An Exmouth shop which sells bongs and other drug-related products, is not an appropriate store to have near the new Strand development, according to the town centre manager

EXMOUTH’S town centre manager believes a shop located in The Strand which sells drug-related products does not fit in with the long-term aspirations for the area.

Tony Collins claims the Hush Smart Shop, which has products including bongs, plant developers, grinders and rolling machines for smokers, is not an appropriate store to have located near the new Strand development.

The Hush, based near The Clipper Inn, opened six weeks ago.

Mr Collins said: “We have been aware of concerns over the products that are being stocked and sold at the new store since complaints began just a few days after it opened.

“We have been liaising closely with the police ever since.”

Sergeant Phil Godfrey, of Exmouth police, said while the production of certain drugs contravened legislation, it was not necessarily illegal to sell or supply paraphernalia associated with drug use.

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He said: “As a result of this, there are shops which offer these goods for sale but it is obviously very important that they do not overstep the line and incite the commission of an offence.”

Mr Collins said because The Hush was operating within the law, little could be done by the police about its operation.

“We live in a free market economy where it is whether consumers choose to spend their money or not that decides a shop’s future and Hush is no different.

“Clearly, the style of this small shop does not fit with the long term aspirations for The Strand and its re-invention as a new focal point for the town centre.”

Daniel Tomlin, the manager of Hush, said he was surprised to hear about the concerns people had raised.

He said: “We feel that we have been very well received in the town since opening six weeks ago, and have had no concerns or issues raised directly with ourselves in this time.

“Although, with this said, we have taken the comments on board and understand why they may have come about.

“We are currently re-designing displays to accommodate concerns raised and to act sensitively towards the town’s population.

“We have been in contact with the local police and community PCSO since opening and are happy to operate alongside them when it comes to public issues.”

Mr Tomlin wanted to reassure local residents that they would do all they could to promote a positive image in light of the current developments with The Strand.