A MEMBER of a litter picker group traded in hundreds of 'hippy crack' canisters at a scrapyard - for the princely sum of £1.80.

Stephen Lawton is a member of the 'Keep Bury Clean' group, which has dozens of members who will take to the streets to do their best to clean the rubbish that can pile up across the borough.

Stephen along with several other members, have spent several litter picks collecting the nitrous oxide canisters, which numbered upwards of 1,000 in total and weighed 30kg.

He said: "It wasn't just me, it was other members of the Keep Bury Tidy group and we decided to pool them all and take them in for scrap metal. We just wanted to find out how much they were worth.

"The thing is with them, if someone has a party - you can go to that hotspot and you will often find them there.

"They are an eyesore and essentially drug paraphernalia. If they were needles, I don't think people would think twice."

Nitrous oxide, dubbed hippy crack or laughing gas, is usually consumed through balloons and has long been used by thrill-seeking youngsters at festivals, nightclubs and gigs, and has been likened to snorting cocaine as it gives users an intense feeling of euphoria.

The altered feelings and perceptions may lead to careless risk-taking behaviour, falls and accidents, according to medical experts.

It is illegal for the canisters to be sold for recreational purposes, it is legally used to produce whipped cream and sold as cream chargers.

Councillor Alan Quinn, the council's cabinet member for the environment and climate change, said that he was "grateful" for the litter pickers collecting them.

He said: "The danger with nitrous oxide is that if you take too much, it can induce cardiac arrest.

"You often see a lot of them around the roads so I have no doubt people are driving and taking them before throwing them away.

"At the end of the day, these people are not doing themselves any good.

"There are a lot of litter picking organisations who have taken their own time to clean the streets up and we shouldn't forget that - and then you have these empty heads who just want to dump everything, especially these canisters."