Scores of people make their voices heard on proposals to clamp down on ‘hippy crack’ in Harborough

Their comments and feedback are now being reviewed by Harborough District Council following the six-week public consultation

Monday, 21st June 2021, 4:03 pm
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 4:04 pm

More than 120 people have made their voices heard on proposals to clamp down on ‘hippy crack’ in Harborough.

People across the district have made their views known on banning the use of psychoactive substances such as nitrous oxide – also known as laughing gas - in public places in Harborough.

Their comments and feedback are now being reviewed by Harborough District Council following the six-week public consultation.

More than 120 people have made their voices heard on proposals to clamp down on ‘hippy crack’ in Harborough.
More than 120 people have made their voices heard on proposals to clamp down on ‘hippy crack’ in Harborough.

The council moved earlier this year to gauge public opinion on imposing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to psychoactive substances.

Hippy crack is heavily linked to anti-social behaviour.

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

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 for three years until 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.”