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MP demands answers over drug use in Norwich after tent full of needles found

PUBLISHED: 09:28 23 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:28 23 May 2018

Workers removed piles of syringes from the tent on Brigg Street, Norwich

Workers removed piles of syringes from the tent on Brigg Street, Norwich

June Blythe

An MP has demanded answers from police over how they plan to fight drug use in Norwich, days after a tent filled with used syringes was found in the city centre.

Last week, bottles of urine, packets of condoms and used syringes were found in a tent in a doorway on Brigg Street, which was home to rough sleepers.

It shocked those living and working in the area, along with community leaders, and saw questions asked over how the rough sleepers - who were understood to have used the tent for two months - had been there so long.

Now, Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, has sought reassurances from Norfolk police over how they are tackling drug use and rough sleeping – and said residents in the north of the city shared concerns over drug use in their communities.

She has written to new city commander Superintendent Terry Lordan, and plans to meet him in June.

Ms Smith said: “The tent has been really worrying for the general public, who could have been in danger from the needles. I’m sure clearing out the tent was alarming for the council workers and emergency services who had to handle those needles.

“Of course, it is also serious and very concerning for the people who were at some point in the tent, who in all likelihood needed help too.”

She said constituents in the Sewell area were also worried about drug use in the north of Norwich. “So I am asking the police for reassurance about the action they will be taking across the city centre and the north city,” she said.

“I think it is a good move to have new police beat managers serving the city. I believe the new policing model will benefit the urban area by providing more full officers who can make arrests and deal with today’s crimes.”

She said she was also keen to know how Norwich City Council would spend the £146,194 it has received from the government to help reduce rough sleeping.

The funds come as part of a Conservative pledge to halve rough sleeping by 2022, with an investment of £1.2bn of funding nationally up to 2020.

Norfolk police has prioritised fighting drug issues in Norwich through its Operation Cayman, arresting more than 500 people in the last 16 months.

If you have information, call 101.

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