Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Drug dealer first to be jailed for possessing laughing gas since ban

Thomas Salton, 30, from Brentwood in Essex, had gift boxes for customers which included the nitrous oxide, banned by the Government in November 2023 (Crown Prosecution Service/PA)
Thomas Salton, 30, from Brentwood in Essex, had gift boxes for customers which included the nitrous oxide, banned by the Government in November 2023 (Crown Prosecution Service/PA)

A drug dealer caught with “party bags” containing canisters of laughing gas has become the first person to be jailed for possessing the drug since it was outlawed, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

Thomas Salton, 30, from Brentwood in Essex, had gift boxes for customers which included the nitrous oxide, banned by the Government in November 2023, along with ketamine, balloons and candy canes.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Salton was found with 60 small canisters of the Class C drug, 48 one-gram bags of ketamine and £39,000 in cash when police pulled over his Range Rover on December 1 last year.

Screen grab taken from body worn camera footage issued by Essex Police of the search of the car before the arrest of Thomas Salton
Screen grab taken from body worn camera footage issued by Essex Police of the search of the car before the arrest of Thomas Salton (Essex Police)

Also, in the car was a “naughty” and “nice” list of customers, with gift bags for those on the naughty list, the CPS said.

A further 408 nitrous oxide cannisters and 965 grams of ketamine were later found at a property Salton was renting 10 miles from his home.

The CPS spokesman said Salton was sentenced to 35 months in prison at Basildon Crown Court on Monday after pleading guilty to possessing nitrous oxide with intent to supply at a hearing last month.

He also admitted possessing ketamine with intent to supply, possession of a class A drug and possessing criminal property, in relation to the cash, according to the CPS.

Alex Hinds, a prosecutor for CPS East of England, said: “The evidence against Thomas Salton was overwhelming and this case is an example of all parts of the justice system working together to get drugs and those who sell them off the streets.

“The change in the law coupled with the actions of the police has allowed the CPS to present the strongest case in court and put Thomas Salton out of business and into prison.

Screen grab taken from body worn camera footage issued by Essex Police of the arrest of Thomas Salton
Screen grab taken from body worn camera footage issued by Essex Police of the arrest of Thomas Salton (Essex Police)

“Nitrous oxide is a dangerous drug and hopefully this first conviction will deter those thinking of buying or selling it.”

Nitrous oxide, nicknamed “hippy crack”, was made a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 last November, as part of the Government’s anti-social behaviour action plan.

This means possession of nitrous oxide, where a person intends to wrongfully inhale it for a psychoactive effect, is now an offence and dealers could face up to 14 years behind bars.

It is still possible to use the gas for legitimate reasons, such as catering, pain relief during labour or in model rockets.