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Needles and syringes in play areas and gardens among hundreds collected in Norwich

PUBLISHED: 08:44 08 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:01 12 April 2019

Norwich City Council has cleared away hundreds of syringes around Norwich in the past year. Pic: Sonya Duncan.

Norwich City Council has cleared away hundreds of syringes around Norwich in the past year. Pic: Sonya Duncan.

Discarded needles and syringes found in children’s play areas, churchyards, close to schools and in people’s gardens are among more than 1,500 collected by council workers in little over 12 months.

A Freedom of Information request to Norwich City Council has revealed where they have collected needles following reports by members of the public.

The locations around Norwich where the most needles were collected were near Normandie Tower in Rouen Road, where 140 were found; Heigham Street (116), York Alley (100), Ber Street (75) and Redwell Street (69).

In parks, calls from members of the public led to 20 needles and syringes being found in Chapelfield Gardens, 10 in St Clements Park, 10 in St Paul’s Square Park and seven in Waterloo Park.

In terms of churchyards, 65 needles and syringes were collected from St Michael at Plea Church at Redwell Street, 38 from St Etheldreda’s Church in King Street and 35 from the Church of St John at St John Maddermarket.

Chapelfield Gardens. Picture: Andrew StoneChapelfield Gardens. Picture: Andrew Stone

Needles were also found close to Clover Hill Infant School and Angel Road First School, while three were recovered near Earlham Fire Station at Ivy Road.

The figures do not give a complete picture as, in many of the cases, the number of needles collected was not recorded.

And City Hall did not provide figures for needles collected as part of their contractors’ every day checks, just those reported by members of the public.

It is also impossible to compare whether the problem is getting worse, as, figures for how many were collected before late 2017 were not available.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: “We make every effort to clear all discarded needles. Our contractors who do this important work for us obviously can’t be everywhere at every hour of the day, so we rely on people being our extra eyes and ears.

“If anyone spots a discarded needle please report it to us and we’ll arrange for our contractor to collect and dispose of them correctly.

“The quickest way to do this is to fill in our quick online form called ‘report a street issue’ and we can take it from there.”

The council says collected items are incinerated.

Workers removed piles of syringes from a tent on Brigg Street, Norwich. Pic: Archant.Workers removed piles of syringes from a tent on Brigg Street, Norwich. Pic: Archant.

The NHS says used syringes can put people at risk of Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.

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