DETECTIVES launched a series of raids in Glasgow as part of a crackdown on shops selling "legal highs".

Police swooped on two city centre stores in a bid to combat the sale of the deadly substances.

Officers from the specialist crime and counter terrorism unit searched the Stuff and Starchaser shops, on Union Street.

Children as young as 11 - and young professionals in their mid 20s - are being urged not to take legal highs as part of the crackdown.

Retailers are permitted to sell the substances by labelling them as "plant food" or "bath salts".

However, shops are banned from selling potentially lethal legal highs to youngsters.

The Evening Times revealed police were visiting shops across the city where the untested drugs, which mimic the effects of illegal drugs, are sold.

More than 350 officers were involved in the nationwide raids, which also targeted shops in Ayr, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen.

Almost 60 stores across Scotland were searched early yesterday morning as part of the crackdown.

Detective Chief Inspector Garry Mitchell, from the specialist crime division, said: "My message is simple - don't take these substances.

"If you are found in possession of legal highs which test positive for a controlled drug, you may end up being charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

"Even though you may genuinely have thought that you weren't breaking the law. We will not be complacent.

"We will continue to gather intelligence and do all we can to raise awareness of the dangers of legal highs, whilst continuing to enforce the law and keep people safe."

Police said they were assisted by a number of partner agencies, including Trading Standards, Europol, National Crime Agency, and HMRC.

The raids mark the beginning of a two-week campaign to help raise awareness of the dangers of taking legal highs.