Mr Keigwin has been a volunteer litter picker for 12 years, spending a lot of his time tidying up Llanedeyrn with his dog, Tizer.

Litter picker reports ‘dramatic increase’ in NOS canisters discarded in Llanedeyrn

Inhaling laughing gas can be dangerous and has been linked with anti-social behaviour

THE number of large NOS canisters on the streets of Llanedeyrn has risen dramatically in the last six months, says a veteran litter picker.

The nitrous oxide in the containers produces a high when inhaled. It can be dangerous to users and has been linked to anti-social behaviour among teenagers.

Small and larger canisters are used, but the larger ones are easier for dispensing the gas.

David Keigwin, who has been litter picking in the area for 12 years, said the number of larger laughing gas canisters found had “dramatically increased”.

According to drug advice website, Frank, inhaling directly from small canisters is “very dangerous”. The gas is under high pressure and extremely cold and can damage the throat and lungs, stop breathing or slow the heart to a dangerous level.

The small canisters are cracked open and the gas transferred to a balloon to inhale. However, big canisters can be dispensed into balloons without the need for a cracker.

Small nitrous oxide cannisters are not an uncommon site on urban streets across the UK.

But using larger containers is also potentially dangerous as they make it harder for users to keep track how much they inhaling, according to FRANK.

“They’re everywhere. We’re finding the big canisters in woodland, in car parks, in various places,” said Mr Keigwin, 73.

“Where the small canisters are concerned, we used to find hundreds and hundreds of them, but now we find one or two.

“Recently, we litter picked the local pub called The Retreat, which is now closed. We found no less than 14 big canisters of nitrous oxide. It is getting worse. But so is litter.”

Litter picker David Keigwin found 14 large canisters (including those shown) in the car park of closed Llanedeyrn pub, The Retreat.

Inhaling nitrous oxide has also been linked with anti-social behaviour.

“We’re having quite a big issue with nitrous oxide canisters. Our litter pickers and police keep telling us about the canister they are finding,” said Pentwyn and Llanedeyrn councillor Joe Carter.

Mr Keigwin and Coun Carter say it is being used by older teenagers gathering in areas of Llanedeyrn at night.

“It’s been a regular theme at quite a few PACT meetings. It seems to be rife with teenage groups,” said Coun Carter, who believes a lack of youth and community services could be a key issue.

“I think there is likely to be a link. Like any drug, kids are using it out of boredom, rebellion, escapism. Having more youth services help mitigate this,” he said.

The law around nitrous oxide is “woolly”, he added.

Making and supplying nitrous oxide for recreational use has been illegal in Wales and England since 2016. Under the Psychoactive Substances Act w, defendants could face up to seven years in prison.

Now the UK Government is considering banning people from possessing NOS for recreational purposes.

Its Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is reviewing whether there should be a full ban on all direct consumer sales. This would mean anyone found with nitrous oxide in public could be prosecuted.

Laughing gas would continue to be legal for pain relief in dentistry and childbirth, and by chefs who use it in products including whipped cream.

  • For more information on nitrous oxide, visit FRANK.
Litter-picker David Keigwin who has seen a “dramatic increase” in the amount of large nitrous oxide canisters found in Llanedeyrn.