People are being urged not to take the law into their own hands, as the legal battle to end the sale of legal highs in Larne intensifies.
The appeal comes in the wake of the second arson attack on a town centre shop in the space of a month.
Northern Lights hydroponics shop on Dunluce Street was targeted in the early hours of Monday morning, with the blaze causing severe damage.
The attack forced flats above the shop to be evacuated, and residents now feel they are “living on a knife edge”.
While politicians across the divide have united in condemning the arson attack, they also acknowledged the public’s desire for an end to the trade in new psychoactive substances – commonly referred to as legal highs.
East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson believes the attacks on Northern Lights have been brought about by the perceived failure of Government to address the sale of these substances.
But he has called on the public not to descend into vigilantism, and welcomed Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s ongoing efforts to tackle the issue through the courts.
The authority has spent months compiling a legal challenge against Northern Lights, and is preparing to file for a High Court injunction.
We understand the council may also seek to pursue the business through the criminal courts, alleging that it is in violation of consumer safety regulations.
The arson attack provoked a strong reaction on social media, with many Larne residents taking to Facebook and Twitter to air their views.
Meanwhile, legal highs have been blamed for a dramatic rise in the number of shoplifting offences in the town over the past year, with claims that addicts are stealing from local traders in a bid to fuel their habit.