Chief inspector Howard Hodges, the Horsham district commander, said the high also known as laughing gas and hippy crack ‘is on the streets of Horsham and being used’.
Speaking at the AGM of Horsham’s Neighbourhood Watch on Monday, he said: “We stopped someone with 100 canisters of nitrous oxide in Horsham.
“It is an emerging issue for us. There is no legislation, it is not an offence to sell it.
“It is on the streets of Horsham and it is being used.”
Possession of nitrous oxide is legal, so no arrest was made.
Officers have no power to seize the canisters unless an offence, for example selling to children, is suspected.
Popularity of the gas, which is now the fourth most used drug in the UK according to the Global Drug Survey 2015, has rocketed in recent years.
There have been 17 fatalities related to the use of laughing gas in the UK between 2006 and 2012, according to research.
The anaesthetic gas is still used for pain relief during dentistry and childbirth.
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