‘Laughing gas’ PSBO brough in for Sandwell
Dangerous ‘laughing gas’ canisters will be seized under a new crackdown to stop people misusing them to get high.
Sandwell Council has agreed to bring a three-year public space protection order (PSPO) which will allow police and wardens to confiscate nitrous oxide canisters and dish out fines of up to £100.
Authority bosses admitted that the canisters were not illegal - they are used in catering, such as in aerosol whipped cream cans, and dentistry and can be easily ordered online at low cost.
But they added parks and streets were being blighted by youngsters using balloons to inhale the gas to get high.
As well as the littering issue, the canisters are considered a risk to animals and small children.
What is the problem with these canisters in Sandwell?
Councillor Bob Piper, cabinet member for community safety, said: “Most members will be familiar with the small nitrous oxide canisters that litter our parks and gutters and tend to be consumed mostly late at night by young people for the purposes of a temporary high.
“It’s not actually illegal to buy these canisters. I checked on Amazon and you can buy 40 of them for very cheap.
“They are used with balloons and the gas is consumed from the balloon. It gives a very temporary high. There have not been many deaths but it is potentially dangerous.
“The littering of these canisters we find lying around is potentially dangerous for animals and young children who may pick them up. Also for people mowing the grass, they can be quite damaging.
“They are also considered by the public to be highly related to elements of anti-social behaviour.
“They are used in the production of cream cakes to pressurise the cream into the cakes. We’re not going to be charging into a bakers shop and seizing their canisters.”
Are there any other Public Space Protection Orders in force in Sandwell?
He added the PSPO will complement the one currently in place aimed at stopping drinking alcohol in public spaces and will need to be renewed after three years.
Councillor Piper also said the order wouldn’t just be a punitive measure but also give officers the chance to engage with offenders and see why they do it.
Sandwell Council’s cabinet agreed to bring in the PSPO at a meeting on Wednesday (November 3).
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