Alarm at huge haul of 'laughing gas' canisters found in quiet Wigan street

Gas canisters collected from Armoury Bank in Ashton
Gas canisters collected from Armoury Bank in Ashton

Concern has once again been raised about nitrous oxide gas canisters following the discovery of a huge quantity of the notorious items.

Hundreds of the silver bullet-shaped objects were found on Armoury Bank in Ashton last weekend.

The canisters are legally sold in the catering trade as the accelerant in whipped cream containers but they can illicitly be used to provide a high.

The quiet street is feared to be something of a hotspot for the illegal activity and concern has been raised as the area was covered in canisters just days after a ward councillor organised a clean-up there.

Coun Anthony Sykes, who represents Ashton in the chamber, said he also discovered a local business has been secretly clearing up all the canisters which had led politicians to believe the problem was getting better.

Wigan Council clean-up teams were dispatched to sort out the area and Coun Sykes said it is difficult to see how such behaviour can be halted.

He said: “There seems to be two problem locations in Ashton, Armoury Bank and Hilton Street.

“There were hundreds of canisters. It was an absolute mess, and we had litter-picked it the previous weekend.

“Having these things all over the place looks awful and it’s very frustrating.

“I had thought it was getting better but it turns out it’s not. Residents of Ashton are very public-minded and they’ve been out cleaning up themselves.

“I’ve even thought about asking for bins to be put up because it would make the area less of a mess but I don’t want to be seen to be encouraging or condoning this because it’s completely illegal.”

Nitrous oxide canisters have been proving a problem in the borough for more than a year now.

Last year police attempted to crackdown on the use of nitrous oxide canisters but can only arrest someone if there is direct evidence of them using the gas as a high as it can also be bought legitimately.

Last year there was shock and horror when drug paraphernalia was discovered at St Thomas and St Luke’s Church in Ashton.

And a coroner has spoken of the health dangers of inhaling after a young man died.