A hard-hitting message highlighting the “deadly” dangers of nitrous oxide is being carried on the sides of bin lorries all over Harborough district.
The blunt warning is being put out by Harborough District Council.
The council is warning that nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas and hippy crack, is being linked to suffocation, nerve damage and memory loss – and can kill.
Cllr Simon Whelband, the council’s Cabinet lead for community safety, said: “Misusing psychoactive substances can be deadly & associated litter can lead to a fine.”
The new eye-catching move comes after Harborough council and Oadby and Wigston Borough Council drafted in a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) last September banning the use of psychoactive substances in public.
It is a criminal offence to flout the order – and offenders can be fined £100 or face prosecution.
The two councils acted after 82 per cent of people in a public consultation in Harborough backed tough new powers – while 78 per cent of people in Oadby and Wigston supported them.
Striking signage and posters have been put up in public places advising people about the new powers and the penalties.
Cllr Whelband said at the time: "We are tackling this issue head on and responding to the concerns of our residents.
“They told us they wanted more to be done to deal with this serious issue and these new powers do exactly that.
“This is a great example of joint-working with the police, and a neighbouring local authority, and I am hopeful the PSPO will make a positive difference to the environment and potentially save lives.”
There are already two other PSPOs in operation across Harborough district.
One of the special orders was introduced to crack down on repeated dog fouling while the other targets 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 also be handed out for littering offences.