Calls for ban on laughing gas in Islington

Festivalgoers inhale gas from a balloon

Festivalgoers inhale gas from a balloon - Credit: PA ARCHIVE IMAGES

Police cracking down on ‘problem’ use and selling of nitrous oxide

A former leader of Islington council has called for a borough-wide ban on the sale and use of nitrous oxide, following the lead of Lambeth Council.

Terry Stacy, former Lib Dem leader of the council and chairman of the Highbury East Police Panel, said: “The use and selling of laughing gas is a real problem in Islington, particularly in Upper Street and Essex Road.

“The council need to be clamping down on it with a full ban and it needs to become an issue for venues and licensing.

“Dispersal orders have their role, but there needs to be better use of the powers given to them and greater proactive policing in areas where it is a problem.”

Local councils do not have power to enforce a total ban on the use or sale of the substance.

Cllr Paul Convery, executive member for community safety, said: “Islington considers selling laughing gas on the street as a significant risk. The gas itself is dangerous but users can find themselves induced into buying other dangerous drugs.

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Chief Insp Jim Corbett, from Islington Police’s Partnership Unit, said: “The recreational use of nitrous oxide represents a danger to public health and can also render people vulnerable to becoming victims of crime.

“Police in Islington enforced three dispersal zones last weekend around the main areas in the borough where nitrous oxide is being sold, to prevent both those who sell and those who purchase.

“We strongly advise the public that nitrous oxide should not be experimented with and we are particularly alert to the risks posed to young people who consume the intoxicant.

“Officers have utilised legislation under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 as well as Trading Standards legislation, in liaison with the local authority, to tackle the street trading of nitrous oxide and we will proactively alert the public to the dangers wherever possible.”