A businessman from Huddersfield has revealed he manufacturers millions of recreational drugs every year.
Up to now 67-year-old John Addy from Netherton has kept a low profile about the fact that he manufactures two million bottles of the recreational drug poppers – making him the number one manufacturer in the UK.
But he has now decided to speak out to fight parliamentary plans to ban its sale.
Mr Addy, who has been producing the drug for the past 35 years, says he decided to talk after gay Tory MP Crispin Blunt, a former prisons minister, gained nationwide attention by admitting in a Commons debate that he used poppers – a drug that enjoys legendary popularity with gay men.
He says the chemicals are sniffed to gain a brief ‘head rush’ and are used to facilitate sex between gay men.
Mr Addy, who used to run the gay nightclub Gemini in Huddersfield and has a background in chemistry said he was worried about the possibility of the drug being banned when a new bill – the Psychoactive Substances Bill – comes into force on April 1.
After then sex shop proprietors will face up to seven years’ jail for selling them.
Mr Blunt told the Commons: “There are some times when something is proposed which becomes personal to you and you realise the government is about to do something fantastically stupid.
“And I think in those circumstances one has a duty to speak up. I use poppers, I out myself as a popper user, and would be directly affected by this legislation.
“I’m astonished then to find that it’s proposing to be banned and frankly so would many other gay men.”
Watch a video of Mr Blunt making the admission below.
Mr Addy, managing director of his poppers company Liquid Gold which has an annual turnover of more than £1m, said: “It’s a big threat. The bill comes into force in April. There’s no mention of our product but it’s a grey area and there are exceptions.
“It’s a great concern – the eight people I employ could lose their jobs.
“There’s going to be a meeting with the authorities in the summer to see whether poppers are an exception – my lawyers say they have got it wrong.
“It doesn’t refer to poppers in the bill but we will have to see.”
Originally Mr Addy used to import the poppers from the United States for sale in the Gemini club but eventually he decided to manufacture them himself.
He added: “People liked to take them before going on the dance floor.
“It was a gay man’s product and it gave sex more of a buzz. It became part of their lifestyle.”
But the government has reacted to growing public concern over the number of people harming themselves through the use of “legal highs.”
Poppers contain a mixture of chemicals which are sniffed and give a high which lasts no more than a few minutes. Bottles sell for £10.
Mr Addy said: “It is a great concern. Overnight I could lose my company.”
He says his product “is not harmful.”
“No-one has ever died from our product,” he added. “I want a meeting to thrash it out.
“I’m quite happy to go to the High Court to defend it.”
An attempt to exclude poppers from the new Bill was defeated in the House of Commons.
Policing Minister Mike Penning said poppers had been mentioned on 20 death certificates since 1993.
He says the new bill will strengthen the authorities’ hands significantly, saying it would “put an end to the game of cat and mouse in which new drugs appear on the market more quickly than government can identify and ban them.”