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Rutland arrests in suspected multi-million pound 'laughing gas' plot




A man and woman from Rutland have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the importation of up to £6 million-worth of ‘laughing gas’ for illegal human consumption.

The pair, both aged 55, were detained in the Ketton area on Monday, December 17, and are to be questioned by officers from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) on suspicion of importing a psychoactive substance and money laundering.

Four other men and two women were also taken into custody during coordinated raids in north and south Yorkshire by Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit.

Nitrous oxide, also known as ‘laughing gas’, ‘balloons’, ‘NOS’ and ‘hippy crack’, is a gas commonly used in the medical and catering industry but is increasingly being used as a so-called ‘legal high’.

The consequences of taking the substance include dizziness and headaches, but can also be deadly, leading to suffocation.

EMSOU’s Detective Chief Inspector Ed McBryde-Wilding said: “In 2016, the government changed the law to ensure those involved in the unlawful supply of nitrous oxide could be prosecuted.

“Today, by working closely with other law enforcement partners, we have arrested a number of individuals suspected of being involved in the trafficking of this seemingly innocuous but potentially deadly substance.

“I hope today’s operation sends a strong message to those involved in this illicit trade that we will seek to prosecute wherever possible.”



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