POLICE are hunting three or possibly four thieves who stole gas cylinders from a hospital.

The offenders struck in the early hours of last Tuesday (July 18) at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

They used stolen number plates on a red Ford Fiesta to drive into the hospital car park, before they entered a store room and took the six Entonox gas cylinders

Entonox gas is better known as nitrous oxide and is used by hospitals as pain relief.

It is commonly used during childbirth, following trauma or as part of end of life care.

In recent years it has become a popular drug on the party scene with young people.

As well acting as pain relief it can also make people feel euphoric and relaxed.

However, it has a number of dangerous side effects including hallucinations.

They were pictured on CCTV at 2.43am.

Officers believe there were three of maybe even four people involved.

In one of the CCTV images three people in navy blue tracksuits can be seen gathering the bottles.

They have their hoods up and are wearing gloves.

One of the men is holding a hammer.

Another CCTV image from a doorway in the hospital shows what appears to be a young woman.

She is wearing leggings, a blue Adidas hoody with the hood up and Nike trainers.

She has her right arm up to her ear as if she is on the phone.

The gas bottles can be dangerous if used incorrectly.

Anyone with any information is asked to report it online quoting serial 103 of 18/07. Alternatively, visit the Crimestoppers website or contact the charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.