Shops surrender gas canisters after council investigation

24 Aug 2020 09:01
Published by: Scott Callan

A total of 1,904 ‘laughing gas' canisters have been removed from two Bolton convenience stores after the shops were found to be selling them to young people.

Bolton Council's Trading Standards team had received complaints about two premises on St Helen's Road.

Local residents were concerned about anti-social behaviour issues - the team investigated and used camera surveillance to monitor both businesses.

They found young people visiting both premises, buying and inhaling Nitrous Oxide from canisters.

Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a psychoactive colourless gas that been used in recent years as an illegal recreational high.

When it is inhaled through a balloon, attached to the canister, it creates a ‘high' for the users.

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 makes selling the gas canisters to members of the public in shops for the purpose of inhalation an offence.

Both shop owners voluntarily signed over canisters to council enforcement officers who were accompanied by Greater Manchester Police officers.

Bolton Council's Executive Cabinet Member for Environment Services Regulatory, Cllr Hilary Fairclough said: "This is a great result and I would like to thank the team for their hard work on this.

"Nitrous oxide carries serious risks and the associated litter also causes great harm to the environment. Reports of canisters being discarded on pavement and anti-social behaviour as a result of inhaling this gas, is an issue which authorities across the country are dealing with.

"I am pleased that both shops handed over the canisters voluntarily, and the action we took should serve as a warning to other businesses.

"It is illegal to sell the drug for human consumption, and if you sell this drug to young people and we obtain video evidence of this we will take action."

The council's public health team are also warning of the potential dangers when using the canisters.

Executive Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Susan Baines, added: "There are a number of serious health risks with inhaling Nitrous Oxide.

"It can cause dizziness, loss of consciousness, hallucinations and it increases risks from other drugs and substances like alcohol.

"It is important that young people and their parents know about the risks of nitrous oxide - please consider the dangers to yourselves and others."

For help and advice contact Project 360, based at the Parallel Centre, on 01204 462444.


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