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The News From All Over Issue

Barnsley Calling

In a spasm of true British ingenuity, teenage gangs in Barnsley have been stealing, then setting fire to plastic wheelie bins.
02 August 2007, 12:00am

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JACK ADAMS

n a spasm of true British ingenuity, teenage gangs in Barnsley have been stealing, then setting fire to plastic wheelie bins. THEN they inhale the thick black poisonous fumes, thus having a hobby that ticks both boxes of drug-taking and vandalism.

The trend’s been gathering pace all year and now we’re well into the summer holidays, it’s going faster than the first drop on the Pepsi Max Big One in Blackpool. It started with kids robbing off-licences and rolling away the stolen booze in wheelie bins. Having drunk everything the next step was to set fire to the bins and inhale the toxic fumes. It has got so bad in Barnsley that over a two week period around 100 have been stolen. The council is now giving out chains and padlocks so residents can lock up their bins and stop the kids chugging away on them like giant green crack pipes full of poison.

Warren Hawksley from solvent abuse charity Re-Solve told us that the trend came from Glasgow where it’s commonplace for bored kids to shut themselves in a phone box and use a lighter and aerosol can to burn the plastic inside. This basically creates a hotbox of noxious plastic smoke. Inhaling smoke from a burning plastic bin is far more likely to be fatal than regular solvent abuse as the chemical composition of plastic fumes is incredibly toxic and not a substance designed for ingestion by the human body. No shit.

Here’s how they do it!

Step 1:
The Ingredients

The first thing you need is a plastic wheelie bin. Inside this there should be at least one bag of rubbish, which will give that lung-full of fume you’re about to huck its own distinct flavour. Mmm. The “lucky dip” of general household waste will ensure that no experience is ever the same.   Step 2:
Get Cooking

Use lighter fluid or petrol to get the fire started. Once lit, allow your bin to simmer for 10/15 minutes until a healthy amount of noxious death smoke is pouring out of it.

Step 3:
Get Involved

Lift up the lid, stick your head in as far as you can and inhale as much smoke as you can for as long as possible. Our guy managed it for about 30 seconds at a time before he collapsed on the ground in a fit of coughing. He’d turned into a puddle of human soup.   Step 4:
The Fallout

Our guinea pig reported feelings of nausea and disorientation and had a strange buzzing sound in his head for a couple of minutes. Ten minutes later, he felt a sense of euphoria, but this was down to the relief he felt now he was no longer puking more violently than The Exorcist.