STOURBRIDGE police say they have seen a surge in the use of laughing gas canisters recently and they are warning people of the dangers of using them.

Discarded canisters of nitrous oxide, known as laughing gas, have been found strewn over the floor on playing fields by Sainsburys supermarket in Amblecote, the fields at the bottom of Stamford Road on the Penfields estate and also in the grounds of St Marys Church in Oldswinford.

Stourbridge PCSO Neal Hunt said neighbourhood officers have "visited several of these locations and have found discarded canisters on the floor" after receiving reports from members of the public and he added: "We will be patrolling these areas and dealing with anyone found to be in possession of the canisters.

"It is an offence to supply a psychoactive substance under the Psychoactive Substance Act 2016. This could lead to a sentence of up to seven years and/or a fine."

He added: " This is a problem that we had a few years ago and looks like we have had a recent surge in the use of these canisters again.

Inhaling nitrous oxide can lead to a heart attack or cause loss of blood pressure, fainting, difficult breathing. It can also lead to bone marrow suppression or poisoning of the central nervous system, and people are at greater risk if they inhale it while also using drugs or alcohol.

People are urged to seek medical advice if nitrous oxide is consumed and parents are urged to warn their children of the dangers of using it.