PEOPLE in Taunton will be protected from “serious nuisance and disorder” after a legal high shop was closed for a further three months.

Taunton Magistrates’ Court, which slapped a three-month closure order on Hush, in Bridge Street, before Christmas, has extended it until June 16.

Hush owner Simon Tomlin, who spent thousands of pounds opposing the original order and on a failed appeal, did not even bother turning up for Friday’s hearing.

Police backed up their case to shut Hush with a bundle of evidence from people in the town, who said there had been an end to “shouting, arguing and fighting” immediately after it first closed.

After the case, Sgt Neil Kimmins said: “The closure means three more months without the widespread trouble its sale of legal highs was causing.

“The people of Taunton will be protected until the middle of June from the serious nuisance and disorder that was caused in our town by the sale of legal highs by the Hush store.”

He said discussions are taking place to work out what to do if Hush re-opens to ensure “Taunton doesn’t experience the same level of nuisance and disorder again”.

Insp Bob Muckett said Taunton Police were the first in the country to use legislation introduced last year to achieve the closure orders.

Pub landlady Beverley Higgins, who runs the King’s Arms and the Black Horse, said she had noticed a positive change since Hush was closed.

She said: “My staff were waiting for people to turn when they’d come from Hush – some of them would just get angry for no reason.

“We’d see them coming out of Hush and we’d be thinking, ‘What’s going to happen when they come in here?’ “We were banning people left, right and centre.

“Now everything’s a lot calmer. Anything that stops people taking legal highs is a good thing.”

Businessman Brian Haimes, who owns several shop premises in the town, and Taunton Deane Council have banned the sale of legal highs from their buildings.