Page last updated at 20:52 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 21:52 UK

Security rise follows gas theft

Security at health care trusts has been increased following the theft of laughing gas from hospitals in Surrey, police have said.

Nitrous oxide canisters have been taken from Haslemere Hospital and Frimley Park Hospital this month.

Surrey Police has urged young people to beware of using the chemical as a recreational drug.

A spokesman for the force said regular misuse of the gas could cause serious long-term health problems.

Security measures

In extreme circumstances, inhaling the gas could lead to suffocation or a temporary loss of motor function, he added.

The theft from Haslemere Hospital in Church Lane occurred between 10 and 11 April when two containers labelled with the word "Entonox", were stolen from an outbuilding.

Another canister was stolen from Frimley Park Hospital in Portsmouth Road in the early hours of 15 April by three men.

A security guard disturbed thieves trying to break into an outside storeroom at Frimley Park on 18 April.

Supt Johnny Johncox, from Surrey Police, said: "All our local health care trusts have been warned of these recent thefts and have stepped up their security measures accordingly.

"It is imperative that anyone using this substance, or who knows someone who is doing so, is aware of the serious implications it could have on their health."

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