FRIENDS of a suspected murder victim have called for a ban on legal highs.

Former Gilberd schoolgirl Lucy Simms was found dead at her home in June.

Police have quizzed a known legal high dealer in connection with her death and detectives believe the drugs played a part in her death.

In a statement from Lucy’s friends, they said: “People are selling these legal highs all over the place and they are getting away with it because they are marked ‘not for human consumption’.

“But what do they have them on their shelves for, when they are clearly hazardous to health?

“Shouldn’t retailers be expected to knowwhat they are selling?

“They are targeting naive teenagers and young adults.

“We need a simple solution – ban them. We do not need a complicated solution.”

Mum-of-one Miss Simms, 26, died on June 2 at her home in Southampton.

Despite a number of toxicology tests, police have not issued an exact cause of death.

Lucy’s father, Brian, is to set up a meeting with Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell to get the campaign started.

Sir Bob said: “I would most certainly back a ban on so-called legal highs whose name may lead some people to think they are OK to take.

“They are not OK. They are dangerous – as are other drugs.

“The cost to the NHS of dealing with the consequences is enormous – plus there is the misery and heartache caused to families and friends.”

Witham MP Priti Patel said: “Friends quite rightly want to see some justice and stop other people coming to harm.

“I fear there is a free-for-all when it comes to accessing these socalled legal highs.”