POLICE have issued a warning about the potentially fatal consequences of inhaling laughing gas after searching teenagers and finding nitrous oxide cannisters.

Officers spoke out after arriving at the Royal Victoria Country Park to discover a large gathering of youths who were not complying with government guidelines on social distancing.

Some had alcohol, which was thrown away because they were under-age, while others were found to be in possession of cannabis.

Posting on social media officers said: "There were also a lot of nitrous oxide canisters and balloons, which officers collected from the floor, and a few of those stopped and searched were also in possession of canisters.

Daily Echo:

"We just wanted to make everyone aware of what nitrous oxide is and the dangers of inhaling it.

"Nitrous Oxide is a colourless gas that’s most commonly found in pressurised metal canisters that people inhale, usually via a balloon.

"It slows down your brain and your body’s responses, and the effects of the drug varies depending on how much has been inhaled.

"The lasting effects also vary depending on how much you’ve taken, your size and whether you’ve eaten and what other drugs you may have also taken.

"Taking nitrous oxide can cause feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calmness, fits of giggles and laughter – hence the nickname ‘laughing gas’.

"Sound distortions and hallucinations can occur when you see or hear things that aren't there. Nitrous oxide can also give you a severe headaches, cause dizziness, stop you thinking straight and cause short-lived but intense feelings of paranoia.

"Inhaling nitrous oxide directly from the canister is very dangerous because the gas is under such high pressure.

"It can cause a spasm of the throat muscle and stop a person breathing. If you take too much nitrous oxide you risk falling unconscious and/or suffocating from the lack of oxygen. People have died from inhaling nitrous oxide, your first try could kill you.

"These canisters are easy to get hold of on Ebay and Amazon and are becoming more and more popular with teenagers who do not understand the consequences."

In a message to parents they added: "Please talk to your children about this and be mindful if you find any at home."