A WARNING has been issued after canisters used for recreational drug use were found discarded on the streets.

The small silver canisters contained a colourless gas called nitrous oxide which can be extremely dangerous when inhaled directly from the container. 

Great Aycliffe Town Council has released a statement warning Newton Aycliffe residents of the dangers following the discovery.

A spokesperson said: "If you take too much nitrous oxide you risk falling unconscious and/or suffocating from the lack of oxygen. People have died this way.

"It may be possible to become psychologically dependent on nitrous oxide, meaning that users develop an increased desire to keep using it despite the harm it may cause, but the evidence on this is limited.

"If you know of anyone that may be using nitrous oxide please educate them and encourage them to stop immediately. You may just be a life saver."

The risks of nitrous oxide include dizziness, deficiency of vitamin B12 and failure to produce white blood cells.