People in Harborough are being asked to have their say on a new campaign to clamp down on 'hippy crack'

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

Friday, 30th April 2021, 5:43 pm

People in Harborough will be asked to have their say on a new campaign to clamp down on 'hippy crack'.

You will be able to give your opinion from Friday May 7 on a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) being imposed in a bid to combat people using psychoactive substances.

The use of substances like nitrous oxide, known as hippy crack or laughing gas, is linked to anti-social behaviour.

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.

Harborough District Council and the police are both concerned about an increase in calls hippy crack misuse.

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 heads up Harborough police, 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.”

The consultation on the new order will go live on Friday May 7 and will be open for comments until June 18.

The survey, and information about the PSPO, will be available at https://www.harborough.gov.uk/consultation