Walking along the sea defences at Jurys Gap, Camber last week it felt like something more akin to a blockbuster movie or film set. The sea was wild, waves roaring and crashing, debris washing onto the shoreline, foam bursting into the air as the waves hit the granite boulders and the cross wind made standing still a challenge.
Taking full advantage of the tremendous swell was a huge flock of cormorants flying over the waves in chevron formation before dive bombing then landing virtually simultaneously as they feasted on the spoils of the sea, amongst an already positioned flock of seagulls who got there first.
The sun was coming up as I watched all the activity, turning round to look across the carpark I noticed something glinting, caught by the light. My first thought was someone had dropped some lose change or worse still, was it car keys? My curiosity got the better of me and as I got closer it became obvious there were many metallic items in amongst the shingle, and I counted 38 in all, nitrous oxide canisters.
I had heard about these being used at music festivals and similar events but hadn’t really given them much thought until now. The canisters, also known as laughing gas or more recently as hippy crack, have many legitimate uses including numbing pain during medical procedures but apparently it is illegal to import or sell the drug for human consumption.
Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas,and when inhaled it can make people feel euphoric and relaxed but it can also cause some people to have hallucinations. The effects of the gas have earned it the nickname “laughing gas” and “hippy crack”.
The Home Office released a statement saying “nitrous oxide is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to supply for its psychoactive effect.
However, the Act provides an exemption for medical products. Whether a substance is covered by this exemption is ultimately one for a court to determine based on the circumstances of each individual case”.
It appears nitrous oxide can cause dizziness and affect your judgement, creating a risk of accidents and if taken in large quantities it can also cause the user to faint or pass out.
Thirty eight spent canisters to me seems a lot. Were they taken by one person, a group perhaps, or was it just time for someone to empty the contents of their glove box as their “trip” to Camber was now complete? Answers on a postcard please.
Image Credits: Nick Forman .