Concern over use of laughing gas in port

Concern has been raised about the number of nitrous oxide canbisters found in Fleetwood and Wyre.
Concern has been raised about the number of nitrous oxide canbisters found in Fleetwood and Wyre.

Concerns have been raised about the potentially dangerous use of laughing gas in Fleetwood.

The comments came from a regular visitor to Fleetwood Marsh nature reserve, off Jameson Road, who says she is seeing the small silver or grey gas cannisters almost every time she goes there.

Melanie Hayes says she found 30 on one visit, and says a Lancashire County Council employee told her he had found 130 of them over just two days.

Mrs Hayes, 46, spoke out about the issue just as similar concerns were raised by Wyre Council member Barry Birch, who said small canisters associated with the colourless gas had been found at Stanah in Thornton, at Skippool car park and at Cottam Hall playing fields in Poulton.

The recreational use of laughing gas, whose official name is nitrous oxide, appears to be on the rise and is a concern because in certain cases it can potentially lead to brain damage or sudden death due to a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Known as “hippy crack”, and often also inhaled out of balloons, nitrous oxide has several official uses, as an anaesthetic in surgery or used with certain whipped cream dispensers.

Mrs Hayes, who lives in Blackpool but visits her mother in Fleetwood, said: “I go to the Fleetwood nature reserve on a daily basis.

“Every day I notify the council about the canisters of nitrous oxide that are strewn across the carpark.

“Obviously there is drug taking on a nightly basis and I think it’s becoming a big problem. Most people drive down there so they would be driving back under the influence and that’s another worry.”

Lancashire Police says it is to increase patrols to some of the areas where concerns about the use of the gas has been raised.