LEGAL highs have been openly on sale next to kids' sweets on the counter of a Barnsley petrol station.

Small bottles of 'poppers', which are alkyl nitrates, are for sale at the Shell garage on Sheffield Road, Hoyland Common.

They come in small bottles - often called Liquid Gold or Pure Gold - and users report getting a short, sharp head rush-like high from them.

The nitrates dilate the blood vessels and allow more blood to get to the heart but side effects can include chemical burns to body tissues, feelings of sickness, faintness and weakness and even death if swallowed.

Poppers are not controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 but there's been cases where the Medicines Act was used to fine shops for selling so-called poppers.

Possession is not illegal, but supply can be an offence.

Karen Pearce, 41, of Hoyland Street, has three children, aged 19, 17 and six and she said she was concerned about them being so readily available.

"There should be some kind of classification like there is with cigarettes and booze," she said. "The authorities should have some say."

Another parent, who did not want to be named, said: "To think that they're selling these next to sweets is horrible.

"It could encourage children to go in and think that it's acceptable to buy them."

Owner Ayub Mitha said the product was commonly bought at weekends but was not sold to anyone under the age of 21.

He admitted to knowing some people may use it for other purposes.

He added: "All the staff that work here have signed literature which has been checked by Barnsley Council to say they would only sell these products to adults over 21.

"There's nothing illegal. The people buying it have been advised that it's a room odouriser. What people do after that is their responsibility."