Two men have been charged over the supply of so-called “legal highs” at shops in Angus and Perth.
Paul Brocklehurst appeared in private at Forfar Sheriff Court over charges relating to the running of a “head shop” in Perth.
Co-accused, Liston Pacitti, is due to appear at the same court over the running of four shops on Arbroath and Montrose.
They are alleged to have culpably and recklessly supplied now-illegal new psychoactive substances (NPS) to more than 20 people, one aged just 14, to the danger of their lives.
The offences are said to have taken place over two years at five named premises.
Brocklehurst, 61, whose address was given as This ‘N’ That in County Place, Perth, appeared from custody on petition before Sheriff Pino Di Emidio.
It is understood both men had been detained at Perth prison since December 2016.
The Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service confirmed that Brocklehurst made no plea or declaration, had been released on bail, and have been fully committed for examination.
Petition hearings take place at the Sheriff Court regardless of whether it is envisaged that the case may ultimately be prosecuted in the High Court.
A date for Pacitti’s appearance has yet to be confirmed.
The Psychoactive Substances Act became law on May 26 last year, following a Bill in the UK parliament.
The Act banned any production, supply and importation or exportation for human consumption of “any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect”, linked to the deaths of 144 people in the UK in 2014 alone.
Sanctions under the act include up to 7 years in prison for the supply, production, possession with intent to supply, importation or exportation of a psychoactive substance for human consumption.
The government previously took action over NPS, having banned more than 500 potentially dangerous drugs since 2010 under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
Ahead of the ban, shops including The High Life and Evape-o-Lution in High Street, Montrose, This ‘N’ That in Perth, and Declaration and Evape-o-Lution in Brothock Bridge, Arbroath were the scene of intense police scrutiny over the course of 2014 and 2015.
The former Angus Area Commander for Police Scotland, Chief Inspector Gordon Milne, warned shops to leave town or shut their doors.