No laughing matter: Gas cannister crackdown as part of wider anti-social behaviour purge

Council Leader Rob Gledhill, with council environmental enforcement officers and Essex Police officers

A NEW joint initiative has been launched between Thurrock Council’s Environmental Enforcement officers and Essex Police targeting car parks being littered with nitrous oxide canisters.

The nitrous oxide is in cannisters used to make whipped cream

Operation Adaminaby began at the weekend (Friday, 9 August and Saturday, 10 August) and aims to tackle anti-social behaviour and activities linked to discarding nitrous oxide – also known as laughing gas – canisters in car parks, open spaces and parks across the borough.

The canisters are usually sold as whipped cream chargers and users use the chargers to inflate balloons with the gas and inhale the gas.

When inhaled, the gas can make people feel euphoric and relaxed, but it can also can cause dizziness, unconsciousness or death from lack of oxygen. Long-term users can also lead to severe Vitamin B deficiency and serious nerve damage.

Officers will issue £150 fines on the spot to people littering canisters in the targeted areas; community protection notices (CPNs) for anti-social behaviour; and CPNs will be sent to the registered keepers of vehicles, informing them that their vehicle has been involved in environmental anti-social behaviour. Fixed penalty notices will also be given for littering.

The team, which was joined by Leader of Thurrock Council, Cllr Rob Gledhill, took the following action at the weekend:

  • Two community resolution warnings issued for possession of cannabis
  • Two fixed penalty notices issued for fly-tipping
  • One fixed penalty notice issued for fly-posting
  • One Section 34 notice issued in relation to duty of care for waste disposal
  • One fixed penalty notice issued for urinating
  • Two fixed penalty notices issued for littering
  • 11 vehicles were stopped and the occupants questioned in relation to anti-social behaviour
  • Alcohol seized and disposed of from people drinking in Grays town centre

Cllr Gledhill said: “This joint operation shows that we are taking action against those who blight our borough with this behaviour day and night.

“We caught a number of people committing various offences in the targeted area and acted appropriately.

“We hope this initiative will help to reduce the number of people using nitrous oxide canisters, littering our streets and reduce the anti-social behaviour that residents have told us is unacceptable.”

Inspector Paul Ballard, of Thurrock’s Community Policing Team, said: “We have already started proactively supporting the council in this operation, where we are working to target the anti-social behaviour that comes with the use of nitrous oxide in car parks within the borough.

“We will continue to make our presence known and act appropriately when anyone is seen to be committing a criminal offence or behaving in an anti-social manner.”

For more information, visit thurrock.gov.uk/littering-and-litter-bins