A gang of four men have admitted stealing gas canisters from three hospitals during lockdown in the UK.
Local hospitals in Stepping Hill and Withington were targeted during the break-ins along - which occurred between 21 and 23 March.
The group also broke into a health facility in County Durham.
Each of the men admitted a single charge of conspiracy to commit burglary and have been remanded in custody until the 2 June when they are due to be sentenced.
After stealing two two nitrous oxide canisters from Stepping Hill in Stockport, the gang broke into a storage unit in Withington and then ventured to the North East, thieving items from Chester-le-Street Community Hospital.
They also stole from health centres in Bishop Auckland and Darlington.
The gang were apprehended when Lincolnshire Police pulled over their van and found 29 canisters stored inside.
Judge Paul Watson QC, presiding at Teesside Crown Court, told the gang that their offence was extremely serious and that substantial jail terms should be expected.
Having a plentiful supply of oxygen is vital for hospitals in the current climate, with the pandemic leading to increased cases of coronavirus patients requiring breathing support.