Police in Waltham Forest have vowed to work closely with residents in the borough who are known to eat herbal stimulant khat, now that it has been made an illegal drug.

On Tuesday last week the plant was re-classified as a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Khat is grown in east African countries where it has historically been used for recreational purposes.

Waltham Forest police officers say that it is known to be used in the borough.

Chief Inspector Jon Simpson, from Waltham Forest Partnership Unit said: “We are working closely with the communities known to use khat in order to explain the change in the law and provide them with the appropriate advice regarding how this affects them."

The leafy green plant which comes in a bundle the size of a bottle of wine contains cathinone and cathine which speed up the mind and body.

It can also cause insomnia and suppress your appetite.

Khat decays rapidly after being harvested, with all active ingredients rendered inactive within 5-6 days.

It is anticipated that within a few days of the ban there will be relatively little khat in circulation. Khat is imported to the UK as it cannot be grown here.

In the UK it is mostly used by older members of communities such as Somalis, Yemenis, Ethiopians and Kenyans.

Khat findings will be dealt with by officers on a case-by-case basis and the response by police will be ‘sensitive’ the force has claimed.

A khat warning will be issued for people caught with small quantities, and on the second occasion a fixed penalty notice will be given.

Possession charges will be brought for further offences.