The Northwood Hills Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) has become concerned by the amount of nitrous oxide canisters, or ‘laughing gas’ canisters, being found locally.
The police officers said they have been finding an increasing number of used canisters, particularly in car parks.
This has led them to believe that people are driving after using them – which is the equivalent of drink-driving.
In their August newsletter, the SNT explained: “Inhaling nitrous oxide directly from the canister is very dangerous because the gas is under such high pressure. It can cause a spasm of the throat muscle and stop a person breathing. It slows down your body’s responses, and the effects of the drug varies depending on how much has been inhaled.”
Taking nitrous oxide can cause feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calmness, fits of giggles and laughter – hence its nickname. It can also stop you from thinking clearly and cause a short-lived but intense feeling of paranoia, which is why driving under its influence is strictly prohibited.
The SNT added: “If you’re caught driving under the influence, you may receive a heavy fine, driving ban, or prison sentence.”
The Northwood Hills team have also been carrying out targeted patrols in crime hot spots, paying attention to areas that are affected by burglary and motor vehicle crime.
For more information, go to met.police.uk/a/your-area/met/hillingdon/northwood-hills/