People across Harborough have until Friday (June 18) to back a new local crackdown on ‘hippy crack’

Harborough District Council is carrying out a public survey on psychoactive substances such as nitrous oxide – also known as hippy crack or laughing gas

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 10:42 am
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 10:44 am
People across Harborough have until Friday (June 18) to back a new local crackdown on ‘hippy crack’.

People across Harborough have until Friday (June 18) to back a new local crackdown on ‘hippy crack’.

Harborough District Council is carrying out a public survey on psychoactive substances such as nitrous oxide – also known as hippy crack or laughing gas.

“You have until Friday June 18, 2021 to have your say on whether new powers should be introduced to tackle the use of psychoactive substances such as nitrous oxide ('laughing gas') in the #Harborough district,” said the council.

You can find out more about what the council is proposing and make your voice heard here: https://www.harborough.gov.uk/consultationThe council has been gauging public opinion on imposing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to combat people using psychoactive substances over the last six weeks.

The local authority is acting because the use of hippy crack is heavily linked to anti-social behaviour.

Both the council and the police are concerned about an increase in calls about hippy crack misuse across the district.

Hundreds of the little silver nitrous oxide canisters have been piled up and scattered about in and around Market Harborough repeatedly over the last few months.

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 introduced legislation to deal with substances, known as 'legal highs'.

This legislation, though, only made it a criminal offence to supply or be in possession with intent to supply psychoactive substances.

It “made no provision to deal with possession and recreational use”, said Harborough council.

A PSPO can ban a specific issue affecting a public place and gives police and local authorities an appropriate sanction.

There are already two PSPOs in operation across Harborough.

One is for dog fouling and the other for alcohol-related trouble in Market Harborough and Lutterworth town centres.

Fixed penalty notices of £150, or fines of up to £2,500 if it goes to court, can be handed out for littering offences.

Insp Siobhan Gorman, who led Harborough police until earlier this month, said: "Psychoactive substances are not illegal.

“For example, nitrous oxide can be used for other legitimate reasons such as cake decorating.

“However, misusing them can be very dangerous to the individual and have serious consequences for your health and wellbeing.

“The new order would provide new powers to deal with people misusing these substances in public places and for other activities that cause damage to the environment such as the discarding of nitrous oxide gas cannisters.”

She added: “Littering associated with nitrous oxide use causes concern in the community and is dangerous to wildlife, especially when left in large quantities.”