HUNDREDS of nitrous oxide canisters have been dumped in a scenic park in Bolton.

John Howarth, 77, was walking around Mere Hall in Halliwell and its gardens when he spotted piles of nitrous oxide or laughing gas canisters dumped on a grass verge.

Mr Howarth estimated there were around 200 canisters with some of their cardboard boxes dumped on the grass by the car park.

He said: “It’s not something you want to see as you’re walking round. It’s obviously drug abuse or something.

“There are literally about 200 of those little gas canisters. Some look like they’ve been used but the majority look brand new and some were spilling out of boxes as if they have been dumped.”

Nitrous oxide canisters such as these are used legally as cream chargers for whipping cream, like you might find in cafés.

However people do buy them to inhale the gas, usually via a balloon, as a recreational drug. Nitrous oxide or NOS slows down your brain and your body’s responses and can produce feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calmness as well as fits of giggles, which give it the name laughing gas.

Nitrous oxide is covered by the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act, which means it’s illegal to give away or sell for its psychoactive effect.

Bolton Council confirmed the mess has now been cleared from the park.

Earlier in the year in April hundreds of the canisters were also dumped outside Olive Tree Primary School in Daubhill.

Sgt Paul Blackburn of GMP Bolton West said: “We have been made aware of an incident involving nitrous oxide canisters and would like to reassure the community we are committed to cracking down on this type of illegal activity to ensure people feel safe and secure.

“We carry out regular patrols in the areas most affected, to tackle those who are selling these substances and advise those who are using psychoactive substances just how dangerous it can be. This includes signposting people who need it to the most appropriate support service.

“Our patrols will be out and about as we remain committed to working together to keep Bolton and the surrounding areas safe for everyone However, we do need the continued support of the community in reporting any information they have on the sale or use of psychoactive substances through 101, or 999 in an emergency.”