Cambridgeshire Constabulary posted a picture of canisters similar to those stolenCambridge Constabulary

The theft of a large amount of nitrous oxide from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Veterinary Medicine over the weekend has raised concerns.

More commonly referred to as ‘laughing gas’, nitrous oxide is used for anaesthetic purposes during surgical procedures, and was stolen from the Cambridge Veterinary School on Madingley Road.

The police have said that the burglars struck at some time between the 27th May and the 30th May, over the course of the bank holiday weekend.

A police spokesperson confirmed that “a large, five foot gas canister was stolen during the burglary” and warned anyone against using it “because it can be harmful if used for recreational purposes.”

The circumstances surrounding the break-in are still unclear, and the police are appealing for information about the incident and those who may be responsible.

The police spokesperson added: “We do not know who took it or why it has been taken, but it can be very harmful.

“No arrests have been made at the moment and we are appealing for any information the public can give us.

The government advice site ‘Talk to Frank’ notes that “There is a risk of death as a lack of oxygen can occur when using nitrous oxide. The risk is likely to be greater if the gas is consumed in an enclosed space or if a substantial amount is rapidly used”.

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101.