Arrests made after South Yorkshire raids over importation of laughing gas worth £6m

Eight arrests have been made in police raids carried out in South and North Yorkshire as part of a probe into the importation of laughing gas worth £6 million. Â

Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 10:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 10:06 am
Arrests have been made as part of an investigation into the importation of laughing gas (stock image)

Five men and three women were arrested in coordinated raids carried out yesterday by the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit.

CRIME: Man found with knife and drugs in Sheffield street The suspects were held on suspicion of importing a psychoactive substance and money laundering.

Details of whether they have been released or charged have not yet been released.

Nitrous oxide, also known as '˜laughing gas', '˜balloons', '˜NOS' and '˜hippy crack', is a gas commonly used in the medical and catering industry but is increasingly being used as a so-called '˜legal high'.

Side effects include dizziness and headaches, but inhaling the gas can also prove deadly by  causing suffocation.

Detective Chief Inspector Ed McBryde-Wilding, of the Special Operations Unit, whose team is interviewing some of the suspects, said: 'In 2016, the government changed the law to ensure those involved in the unlawful supply of nitrous oxide could be prosecuted.

'By working closely with other law enforcement partners, we have arrested a number of individuals suspected of being involved in the trafficking of this seemingly innocuous but potentially deadly substance.

'I hope the operation sends a strong message to those involved in this illicit trade that we will seek to prosecute wherever possible.'