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Tower Hamlets officers disrupt supply of NOX over Bank Holiday

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Targeted Bank Holiday patrols disrupted the supply of nitrous oxide (NOX) at a music event in Wapping over the Bank Holiday weekend. 

Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers (THEOs) and members of the Specialist Substance Misuse Intervention Team (SSMIT) were on hand to tackle gangs selling the substance, which can lead to serious health issues, including B12 deficiency, loss of consciousness, and even paralysis and death in severe cases. 

Over the Bank Holiday, 6,000 people were expected to attend a music event in the E1 club and Tobacco Dock. 

On the Saturday, THEOs were able to disperse several gangs selling NOX. They confiscated five large refill NOX canisters and around 140 smaller, silver NOX canisters.  

They also spoke to those trying to sell nitrous oxide about the health implications. They issued a number of fines to enforce against selling it. It has been illegal to supply or import nitrous oxide for recreational use since 2016.   

Following intervention from the council, all NOX sellers left the festival on the first day and there were very few NOX canisters left on the ground at the end of the day. 

On the second day, no groups or individuals selling nitrous oxide turned up to the event. 

Cllr Kabir Hussain, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate, said: 

“NOX has serious health consequences for those who use it, as it has left young people paralysed for the rest of their lives. 

“It is also linked to anti-social behaviour, such as the discarded NOX canisters which often litter our borough.  

“Selling NOX in Tower Hamlets is not acceptable. We will continue to crack down on NOX use, including educating those who use it about the risks they are taking with their health, and taking enforcement action against those who illegally sell it. 

“We will use all the powers available to us to continue to tackle this issue to prevent it being a blight on the health of our young people and our communities.” 

Cllr Ohid Ahed, Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, added: 

“NOX use and the associated ASB is a growing issue across Tower Hamlets and we will be taking firm action against those who sell it and use it. 

“Not only do the canisters look unsightly when they are left on the floor, NOX use is often accompanied by noise nuisance and other ASB issues. We know that ASB is a real concern for residents and we are committed to tackling the root causes of this problem to make sure Tower Hamlets is a fantastic place for everyone to live. 

“Well done to everyone involved in this operation – this is a fantastic result and sends a clear message that NOX dealers are not welcome in Tower Hamlets.” 

As well as targeting the festival, THEOs and SSMITT officers patrolled known NOX hotspot areas of the borough, confiscating eight large refill canisters and more than 400 smaller canisters. They handed out eight fines for selling NOX. 

Last year, the council introduced a borough-wide Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to help tackle anti-social behaviour associated with nitrous oxide use.  

Residents can report street cleaning for nitrous oxide canisters and NOX ASB hotspots online at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/nolaughingmatter  

  

Posted on Tuesday 6th September 2022