THOUSANDS of laughing gas canisters have been seized in Southend.

Officers discovered 9,000 canisters of nitrous oxide after stopping a vehicle in Southchurch Road at about 12.20am on Sunday.

After a further search, 1,200 canisters were subsequently located.

A 27-year-old from Southend has been arrested on suspicion of possession of a psychoactive substance with intent to supply.

He was still in custody as the Echo went to print last night.

Martin Terry, Southend Council cabinet member for community safety, said: “I am delighted these have been seized.

“We are having problems with these gas canisters which encourage people to behave badly.

“Some antisocial behaviour has been associated with these canisters, including dangerous driving, so I’m glad a significant amount has been taken off the streets.

“I hope there will be retribution for whoever is responsible.

“Southend Police are doing well on clamping down on this sort of thing.”

The discovery was also welcomed by several residents, many of whom have voiced concerns over the ongoing issues with used canisters being found littered across the borough.

Residents took to social media to comment on the huge find.

Yve Collins posted on Facebook: “I am so glad - job well done.

“I had reported a problem near the Mariners, Leigh, as I was fed up with picking up all the canisters at weekends.

“It is good to know these will not be hitting the streets – Well done Essex Police.”

A spokesman for Essex Police, said: “You said you were fed up of seeing nitrous oxide canisters being discarded in the borough.

“Over 9,000 nitrous oxide canisters have been seized by officers and one person is in custody.

“A further 1,200 were located - that’s a total of 10,200 that won’t be misused.”