AUTHORITIES in Bradford could work together to introduce a ban on using legal highs in public after another city plagued with drug problems pioneered the idea yesterday.

Lincoln has become the first local authority in the country to introduce a Public Space Protection Order, which gives police the power to act if they see people using legal highs in public places.

In addition to confiscating the drugs, they will have the authority to hand of fixed penalty fines or start legal proceedings against those involved.

Effectively, the new orders are an advanced version of similar rules introduced to help police combat anti-social behaviour in problem areas.

Both Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Police have now confirmed they will be monitoring developments in Lincoln and have an interest in using similar powers.

Bradford Council's deputy leader and community safety spokesman, Councillor Imran Hussain, said there was concern about people abusing legal highs.

"We are interested in working in partnership to see if this can be adapted for use here."

The council was especially concerned about the potential harm to young people from the use of legal highs, he said.

West Yorkshire Police chiefs have also confirmed they are now monitoring the developments in Lincoln and the possibilities of using "any tool" available to help control the spread of their use.

A force spokesman said: "We, in conjunction with our partners, will look at and use any tool which proves to be effective against the use of new psychoactive substances which cause anti-social behaviour in our communities.

"Local authorities in West Yorkshire are aware of what is proposed in Lincoln and are watching the outcomes with interest. The introduction of Public Space Protection Orders would be a local authority led initiative supported by the police."

Police have already used other tactics to try to control the use of legal highs in West Yorkshire, including raids on shops at locations including Bradford.

City businessman Perves Abbas, of Oaklands, Idle, who runs Barkers newsagents shop in Sunbridge Road, has been charged with possessing with intent, in March last year, a quantity of a drug controlled by temporary drug classification and also that he supplied the drug, 1-(benzofuran-5-YL)propan-2-amine, a legal high.

He has already denied the allegations and will be tried at court in April.

So-called legal highs have become increasingly popular in the last few years because they mimic the effects of illegal drugs but have different chemical compositions.

It is argued that keeps them legal and if the law is changed to include a currently legal substance, the chemists who produce them can come up with alternative products, making it difficult to introduce all-encompassing legislation.

However, campaigners warn that legal highs can present a health risk to those who use them and in Lincoln police have seen a spike in incidents needing their attention since several shops started selling them.