Page last updated at 06:18 GMT, Thursday, 14 August 2008 07:18 UK

Chain idea puts lid on bin craze

Wheelie bin (generic)
Police said chaining the bins up had cut the craze of 'bin sniffing'

The craze of setting fire to wheelie bins and sniffing the fumes to get a high looks to have been dramatically cut in a South Yorkshire town.

Teenagers were thought to have set the bins alight and then inhaled the toxic plastic fumes to get a "high".

Police believed the craze was behind bin fires in the Athersley and New Lodge areas of Barnsley.

But a scheme which allowed the bins to be chained to properties has drastically cut the number of fires.

At its peak last year South Yorkshire Police had dealt with 100 cases where the bins had been taken by youngsters and set alight for the high obtained by sniffing the fumes.

Oxygen-starved

Since chains were used to secure the bins only three "bin sniffing" fires have been recorded in the past three months.

Pc Anthony Read said officers had been concerned by the craze.

"They were actually setting fire to the bins and the fumes that were coming off the bins they were inhaling.

"They were getting some sort of hallucinogenic effect - I think basically the effect they were having was the oxygen starved from the brains."

Anti-solvent abuse charities said inhaling the bin fumes could be more dangerous than sniffing glue or petrol.

Warren Hawksley, director of anti-solvent abuse charity Re-Solv, said he had heard of the problem in Scotland before.

He said that in Scotland it was also known for people to burn bus shelters to get the same effect.


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