An anti-“legal highs” demonstration in Perth city centre was disrupted when a thug rushed protesters and tried to tear down their banner.
The group Perth Against Legal Highs staged a picket outside the This N That shop in the city’s County Place on Saturday afternoon.
The shop was targeted after workers were filmed in a BBC documentary selling a variety of so-called new psycho-active substances (NPS).
The protesters have held regular gatherings outside the store, which they want to see closed down.
At around 2pm, the demo was thrown into chaos when a rival protester, understood to be in favour of “legal highs”, ran at the group and attempted to grab the banner which was being used to cover the shop window.
The man, who used a hood to hide his face, fled after failing to take down the sign. He pushed past one of the demonstrators as he ran across the street.
It is the first time the demonstration has been disrupted in this way and follows a growing backlash from “legal high” supporters.
Last week, The Courier revealed a new group, Perth for Legal Highs, had been launched on social media.
One of Saturday’s protesters was Blairgowrie woman Tracy Gow, whose sister Yvonne died after taking “legal highs” earlier this year.
The 37-year-old’s body was found under the steps at Perth Leisure Pool in May.
Ms Gow, 36, said: “Yvonne had a history of problems with drugs, but she started taking legal highs to try and get off them.
“She thought because they were legal, they would be safer for her.”
She said: “When we got the toxicology report back it revealed she died after taking chemicals she bought at this store. That’s why places like this need to be closed down.”
Another demonstrator, Laura McKay from Arbroath, lost her 33-year-old brother Michael to NPS.
She said: “We need to see more action from the police and council leaders in Perth. In Arbroath, the police had officers stand outside one shop and search people as they came out.
“We managed to have that shop shut down and that’s what they need to do here in Perth.”