Tyne & Wear

Laughing gas canisters stolen from Washington hospital

Five canisters of "laughing gas" have been stolen from a hospital, prompting a warning from police over the dangers of the substance.

Staff at Washington Spire Hospital, Rickleton, noticed the canisters were missing at 09:45 BST on Monday after a storage room was broken into.

The stolen canisters contain undiluted nitrous oxide - which could prove fatal to anyone inhaling it.

The gas is also a flammable source if it is exposed to a naked flame.

Insp Alan Pitchford, from Northumbria Police, said the substance had a similar impact to helium and was often referred to as laughing gas.

"However, in its current concentration it is incredibly dangerous. If it's inhaled it has the potential to suffocate the user," he said.

"We believe the canisters may be marked as N20 and would urge anyone who has information about where they are to contact police immediately."

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