A number of anaesthetic containing canisters which were stolen from Bridlington Hospital could prove fatal if they fall into the wrong hands.
The 12 bottles of nitrous oxide were taken from the hospital on Bessingby Road, sparking a police appeal to track down the dangerous items along with those responsible for taking them.
The canisters are described as six 5ft G Size royal blue bottles and six E Size 2ft royal blue bottles marked up as “Medical Nitrous Oxide” and were taken from the Hospital on Wednesday 11 June.
A spokesperson for Humberside Police said: “The gas is regularly used by doctors and surgeons as an anaesthetic during surgery, but in recent years it has become increasingly popular with young people as a recreational drug.”
Also known as laughing gas, ‘hippy-crack’, ‘nos’ and ‘whippets’, when inhaled it can make people feel euphoric and relaxed and also induce spates of historical laughter and even hallucinations.
It is also used in catering as an aerosol for cans of whipped cream and in mechanics, to increase engine power in cars. It is freely available to purchase over the internet and in certain stores.
Although there is no suggestion the gas will be used for the purpose of ‘getting high’, Humberside Police confirmed the stolen nitrous oxide could be used as such should it get into the wrong hands.
The spokesperson added: “The Nitrous Oxide is still outstanding. Enquiries are continuing.
“As widely reported, Nitrous Oxide is often described as laughing gas and has been known to be used as a recreational drug.
Questions are also being asked as to how the gas could be stolen in the first place.
A Yorkshire Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust press officer said Bridlington Hospital had followed all the rules available to them in managing the security of the gas canisters. However they failed to meet our deadline with a formal response.
The Free Press had asked the organisation whether they will step up security at Bridlington Hospital following the theft.
We also asked whether the hospital was at risk of running out of nitrous oxide and what security procedures were already in place on the day of the theft.