Page last updated at 09:27 GMT, Thursday, 28 January 2010

'Legal high' link to gun attack

Scene of Derry shooting
The man was shot in a shop in Waterloo Place

The family of a Londonderry shopkeeper who sells smoking paraphernalia and "legal highs" said they believe he was shot because of his business.

Raymond Coyle, 52, was shot several times by a man wearing a motorcycle helmet in his shop on Waterloo Street at about 1730 GMT on Wednesday.

Mr Coyle underwent surgery on Wednesday night and is in a stable condition.

His family denied that Mr Coyle had been warned against selling "legal highs".

Drugs known as "legal highs" can mirror the effects of some banned substances but have not been included in controlled substance legislation.

'Dissident threat'

Dissident republicans have previously threatened people selling legal highs in Northern Ireland.

In December last year the Derry Journal printed a statement from Republican Action Against Drugs (RAAD) which warned shopkeepers in the city not to stock "legal highs" and drugs paraphernalia.

In November 2009 the Newry Democrat reported how the Real IRA-linked 32 County Sovereignty Movement had called for the closure of a similar shop in the city.

In a statement at the time the 32 CSM said, "The republican movement will be taking a greater interest in this issue in future".

Detectives want to hear from anyone who witnessed the Derry attack or saw one or two men on a motorbike in the area to contact them.

Foyle MP Mark Durkan described the attack as terrible.

"The whole community in our city rejects this act of barbarism," he said.

"Our resolve to reject violent attacks remains unaltered; our message to those responsible remains unchanged - you have no support and you are not welcome."

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