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Used needles found in a Norwich park

PUBLISHED: 17:00 10 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:35 02 July 2010

Kathryn Kingston-Miles with her daugher Willow beside the children's play area in Chapelfield Gardens.

Kathryn Kingston-Miles with her daugher Willow beside the children's play area in Chapelfield Gardens.

Matthew Sparkes

A mother was shocked to find council contractors searching for used hypodermic syringes in a city playground, while toddlers were allowed to carry on playing.

A mother was shocked to find council contractors searching for used hypodermic syringes in a city playground, while toddlers were allowed to carry on playing.

Kathryn Wyer, 28, was playing with her five-year-old daughter Willow in Chapelfield Gardens on Thursday when two workers came in and announced they were searching for needles.

A member of the public had reported the dangerous litter earlier and council staff discovered three used needles among the swings and benches.

Miss Wyer, who lives in George Fox Way, in West Earlham, said: “There was not even a note on the gate to say. Even when they were searching for them, there were children were still playing around the workers.”

She said that the council should have shut the play area down.

The mother and daughter had been in the park for a picnic because of the sunny weather and later went to use the playground equipment.

“You don't expect people to be going in there and doing that sort of thing,” she added.

“What would happen if one of the children was to get stabbed? They could get anything.

“I was just horrified and shocked by it.

“I would never in a million years think there would be someone shooting up in a children's play area.”

She said that needle exchange schemes must be failing if people were still discarding used needles and that the solution may be to create somewhere safe for people to use drugs.

“In the past two or three years we've been going to that area, but I've never known anything like it,” she said.

“It's just a generally happy, nice place.”

A statement from Norwich City Council confirmed that three needles were removed from the play area on Thursday.

It added: "We take reports of these incidents very seriously and our operations team responds as quickly as possible to remove potentially dangerous items like this to protect the public; in this case they were on the scene in around 15 minutes.

"While we try to cause as little disruption as possible to people's enjoyment of the city's parks, when there is a clear concern for public safety, we will clear an area.”

The statement said that the needles were actually cleared earlier in the day, but that a second team was mistakenly sent to search again later in the day, when Miss Wyer and her daughter were playing.

Although the second search found nothing, workers did not cordon off the equipment while they looked.

A spokesman for the Norfolk police, said: “We urge anyone who finds needles not to touch them for health reasons; please report it to either the police or council and it will be dealt with as soon as possible.”

Have you found used needles in a public place? Call reporter Matthew Sparkes on 01603 772439 or email matthew.sparkes@archant.co.uk

If you find a needle in a public area you should not try to pick it up yourself as you could put your health at risk.

Instead you should contact the police or council, who have staff trained in how to remove and dispose of them safely.

Report any needles to police on 0845 456 4567 or to the council on 0844 980 3333.

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