Trouble brews over import of exotic tea after package turns out to be psychoactive drug
High tea with a difference has sparked a warning by police after a herbal brew imported from abroad turned out to by an illegal drug.
The haul of psychoative substances disguised as an exotic blend of tea was recovered by police after innocently being bought online as a herbal remedy, leading to a warning for those who enjoy a cuppa to be cautious when shopping online.
Border police and the North East Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) seized the 3kg of suspected illegal drugs that had been packaged and shipped into the country from far east Asia.
The drugs had been falsely marketed as Indonesian tea but the ground brown powder was in fact a banned substance used by drug users to get high.
However, police enquiries into the buyers established they thought they were buying an exotic blend of tea for medicinal purposes – and had no intention of doing drugs.
Today, Monday, January 11, detectives are warning tea lovers, internet shoppers and those seeking herbal relief to be careful when ordering large quantities of goods from abroad.
Detective Sergeant Hayley Douglas, of NERSOU, said: “We work closely with our colleagues in the Border Force to investigate reports of suspicious packages coming into the country.
“They notified us of this particular seizure and sure enough the package has since been identified 3kg of suspected psychoactive substances.
“It had been marketed as Indonesian tea that could be used as a herbal remedy and we are aware of some groups on social media who have recommended purchasing the leaves for medicinal purpases.
“We are confident they didn’t buy it with the intention of getting high or selling it on for profit but they could well be committing a criminal offence.
“Please be careful when buying goods online as you could face prosecution. We will always be proportionate in the action we take but please don’t take that risk.”
The illegal substances have been seized and an investigation into the sellers is ongoing.
No criminal action will be taken against the purchasers.