Police made a number of arrests after receiving

intelligence that habitual cannabis users were

buying the class B drug from legal CBD shops.

When these users were

stopped by officers and found

in possession of cannabis, they

said they had legally bought it

from a CBD shop including one

in Thornton Heath.

Officers raided Cannabidiol

(CBD) shops in High Street,

Croydon, Crown Point in West

Norwood and High Street,

Thornton Heath on August 19

after procuring several samples

of the products from the shops.

As a result, four people

aged 37, 64, 42 and 39 were

arrested on suspicion of being

concerned in the supply and

importation of a class B drug.

As part of the warrants,

officers recovered items

including about £20,000

in cash, a large amount of

cannabis, 63,000 nitrous oxide

canisters, suspected ‘magic’

mushrooms, which is a class A

drug, and drug paraphernalia.

A Bitcoin ATM machine was also

found in one of the shops. which

are sometimes used as a method

to launder money.

Officers also searched

residential properties

linked to those arrested and

recovered cash and evidence

relating to the importation

and sale of cannabis.

Enquiries revealed that the CBD

shops had been trying to exploit

a loophole, where it is ‘legal’

to sell a Home Office approved

product, which contains up to

0.2 per cent THC.

The samples were sent off for

testing and all of them came

back as having more than 0.2

per cent THC.

Police Constable Ross Bennett,

the investigating officer

from the South Area Basic

Command Unit, said: “The

evidence gathered during

these warrants suggest that

these shops are part of a larger

organised crime network and

are also being used for money

laundering purposes.”