POLICE have issued some safety advice to residents amid nitrous oxide canisters being found in the Wrexham area.

Also known as 'laughing gas', nitrous oxide is now illegal to possess for 'wrongful inhalation'.

Police officers in Wrexham say that little silver bottles and large canisters containing nitrous oxide have been found recently.

With that in mind, they have taken to their NWP Community Alerts page to issue some safety advice to residents.

On the post, PCSO Dean Sawyer NWP Wrexham Rural team said: "Lots of questions been asked about those little silver bottles and large cannisters being found Wrexham."

So, what is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas, also known as ‘laughing gas’. It can be misused for its psychoactive effects – or to ‘get a high’ – by inhalation.

In 2020/21, nitrous oxide was the third most used drug among 16- to 59-year-olds in England and Wales (NHS).

It is suggested that equates to around 230,000 young people who inhaled this harmful substance in England and Wales in the year ending June 2022 (ONS).

Heavy nitrous oxide use can result in serious harm such as neurological damage and even death due to the risk of falling unconscious and/or suffocating from the lack of oxygen.

Last year, police in Wrexham discovered canisters in areas such as Penycae and warned parents to keep an eye on what their children are doing.

Changes made to the law

They say as of November 8, 2023, it is illegal to possess nitrous oxide (class C drug) for wrongful inhalation contrary to section 5(2) of, and Schedule 4 to, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.


“Wrongful inhalation” means inhalation other than for medical or dental purposes, and which is not accidental inhalation of nitrous oxide which has been released into the atmosphere (such as in industrial processes). 

Medical, dental and veterinary administration of nitrous oxide (which may involve inhalation) will therefore continue to be lawful, as will other activities such as use in industry or model rocketry.

Nitrous oxide can be produced, imported, or exported unless a person: (a) intends to wrongfully inhale it (themselves); or (b) knows or is reckless as to whether it is likely to be wrongfully inhaled by another person.