‘Laughing gas’ canisters seized by policing team in Margate

Cannisters on Margate sands

Fifteen large canisters containing nitrous oxide have been seized from people on Margate beach by officers from the Thanet Neighbourhood Policing Team.

As part of ongoing work to encourage a safer summer across the county, the officers were joined by British Transport Police as well as a passive drugs dog when they went out on foot patrol in Margate on Saturday (June 10).

Using the dog, work to detect drugs was carried out along the seafront and ten people were stopped and searched.

As a result, five people were found to have cannabis, one person had ketamine and one person had cocaine. All of the drugs were seized by police.

In response to concerns from local businesses, officers also carried out extensive patrols on Margate Main Sands. A group of people were seen and spoken to regarding the use of nitrous oxide canisters and around 15 large canisters were confiscated.

New fencing at the children’s play area on the beach was also pulled down during the weekend.

‘The impact of anti-social behaviour’

Kent Police Inspector Jim Woodward of Thanet Community Safety Unit said: “During the summer months, there is an increase in people visiting Thanet and most do so without any issue.

“However there can be a minority who cause problems for others which is unacceptable.

“We recognise the impact anti-social behaviour can have on residents, visitors and businesses so people can expect to see our officers, including our new community beat PCs, out in areas where there is a high number of people, to provide reassurance and be on hand if any issues arise.

“Already during a foot patrol on Saturday, officers worked quickly and robustly to confiscate large catering-size cannisters of nitrous oxide from a group of people and educate them on the risks of using the gas recreationally.

“We will continue to work with the Thanet District Council’s beach enforcement officers to support them if needed in keeping the beaches safe.

“If anyone has concerns regarding anti-social behaviour, I encourage them to flag it in person to our officers or report it via our website.”

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is to be banned for consumers under new government plans which aim to take a ‘zero tolerance’ approach on tackling anti-social behaviour associated with abuse of the gas.

Currently there’s no penalty for possession, unless you’re in prison.

Supply and production can get you up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

As of 2016, nitrous oxide is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to supply for its psychoactive effect.


  1. If it “is to be banned for cosumers” and there’s no penalty for possession, on what legal grounds are the cannisters seized? Or is it more a case that those in possession are persuaded to hand it over?

    • There is a PSPO. Public space protection order on the beach. This means no antisocial behaviour.
      Taking laughing gas in front of families in plain view of everyone is very antisocial.
      We should be able to enjoy our beaches and feel safe.

  2. Well done the authorities who worked together on this needs doing in a certain amount of parks in the Thanet area as well as more beaches

  3. Pity it was not Council litter patrol they could of received a fine for littering rather than a slap on the wrist from Margate Police.

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