High risk products to be restricted

KIM KIRKMANNorth West Telegraph

Coles supermarkets has said it will introduce measures to make high risk products such as butane cartridges and lighter refills less accessible, following a spike in sniffing in South Hedland.

Last school holidays, South Hedland police reported a rise in sniffing, particularly of aerosols, in children as young as eight.

South Hedland Police Sen. Sgt Peter Pope said one of the major areas they saw it coming from was the South Hedland Shopping Centre.

“But we get very few reports from actual retailers,” he said.

Sen. Sgt Pope said retailers selling volatile substances in Hedland had been reluctant to put the cans behind screens because many were everyday products that everyone bought.

However he believed if the substances were less freely available, they would be easier to police on their end.

“They don’t have to be put behind screens or cages but better monitoring of the stocks and better security of the stocks themselves is something that’s probably needed.

“I don’t like the thought of a common household product having to be locked up but it certainly requires monitoring.”

A Coles spokesman said the company had been addressing the general community concern in regard to the sale of aerosol cans in store over the last several months.

The company was putting together a formal program in line with the Volatile Substances Code of Conduct to minimise volatile substance abuse in Western Australia.

“Some of the steps we are taking for high risk products such as butane cartridges and lighter refills include product display re-positioning, staff training and awareness, and in-store signage.”

The changes will be implemented over the next few months.

Sen. Sgt Pope said sniffing, which is potentially fatal and has been reported to render children aggressive and disoriented, peaked during Easter school holidays or thereabouts.

“It is something we will certainly be watching the next school holidays,” he said.

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