July 17, 2024


Fashion come on you

Concerns for children’s safety after hundreds of needles found at beauty spot in Nottingham

A concerned granddad said it is only a matter of time until a child gets jabbed with a needle after discovering hundreds of them at a beauty spot.

Mark Haywood, 58, of Ruddington, has spent the last 10 years working across the country to clear up areas riddled with needles.

He visited Wilford Village after residents complained that addicts were using a popular beauty spot at Iremongers Pond to ‘shoot up’ over the summer.

He has since returned to the site and said he is “disgusted” and claims the problem has not been addressed  in five months.

But Nottingham City Council said its staff have “made numerous additional visits to Wilford since the issue was highlighted” and are working “proactively with drug users to prevent them being left in public places”.

Last week, Mr Haywood said he found more than a 100 used needles, some left close to a popular footpath used by families with children and dog walkers.

He has also come across a number of ‘drug dens’ with discarded tents, spoons, baby wipes and even human excrement.

Mr Haywood said he understands that many of the drug addicts come from troubled backgrounds and have complicated health needs.

But he is worried that if the this issue is not addressed it is going to become a hive of activity in the summer, and it is going to get worse.

Area scattered in needles, spoons, and other drug equipment in Wilford
Area scattered in needles, spoons, and other drug equipment in Wilford

Some residents living close to the site told Nottinghamshire Live in August the beauty spot has become rife with drug activity – with one family saying they didn’t like to go out now.

The once idyllic site has a large pond, an orchard, and a variety of wild animals including rabbits and is a place used by many families and residents.

Mr Haywood, who used to take his grandchildren to the spot for walks, said he contacted the city council about his concerns – but no one bothered to get back to him.

Want us to send you a daily round-up of our biggest stories, and breaking news alerts, direct to your email inbox?

Sign up to our newsletter here.

He told Nottinghamshire Live: “The whole place needs someone to go in and sort it out.

“There was over a 100 needles last week, some near a footpath and there are kids and dog walkers that go down there.

“Yesterday, I went back, and there was 60 or 70 in one area. There was one behind the tram stop.

“There are also dens with tents. It is like a camp down there.

“I used to take my grandkids down there and they used to go rustling in the bushes before I saw this.

“I am worried that if any kid or dogs pick one up; some of them are big needles.

Concerns raised after hundreds of needles discovered at beauty spot in Wilford
Concerns raised after hundreds of needles discovered at beauty spot in Wilford

“They just chuck them without putting the cap on. In Wakefield, there was an incident where a boy was playing doctors and nurses with his sister and jabbed her with one.

“A lot of kids go down there in the summer. It is disgusting.”

Mr Haywood, who works for Pressure Cleaning Services, so has firsthand knowledge of needle collecting, is calling on the council to put up cameras.

“If they are using it now and this is winter, what is it going to be like in summer? It is going to be worse if they don’t nip it in the bud. It will ruin a beauty spot.

“If they put up cameras it would help, and a sign. We were getting calls to a supermarket with (drug) problems and they put up a camera and it stopped it straight away.”

Nottingham City Council said it had visited the site a number of times after concerns were raised over drug use last summer.

Drug camp spotted with wooden chairs in the bushes
Drug camp spotted with wooden chairs in the bushes

A spokesman for the council said: “Our community protection officers will always inform street-cleaning teams immediately when discarded needles are found, and if it’s a larger amount they will also pass on that information to the police.

“Staff from the Nottingham Crime and Drugs Partnership commission needle-exchange programmes and lead on harm reduction.

“This work focuses on finding out where needles are coming from and proactively working with drug users to prevent them being left in public places.

“We’ve made numerous additional visits to Wilford since the issue was highlighted last summer, as well as other sites we became aware of in The Meadows. We’ll continue to work with police colleagues to stop needles being discarded in Nottingham.”

Nottinghamshire Police said much of their work had been going after those who were supplying the drugs – which has included some early morning raids on properties in Wilford.

Police Sergeant Nigel Bradley, of Nottinghamshire Police, who covers the area, said: “The neighbourhood policing team is committed to tackling crime in the Wilford area with a heavy focus on drugs as this has been highlighted as a community concern.

“Local officers have executed warrants in the area under the Misuse of Drugs Act and we continue to target drug supply into the area.

“We rely on intelligence-led policing with information from the community which helps identify and target those people suspected to be involved in drug crime.

“Our action will continue as we target those individuals suspected to be involved in the production and supply of drugs in our communities.

“We remain as committed as ever to taking illegal drugs off our streets, and my message to anyone involved in their supply is still very clear: we’re watching you and it could be you next.

Needles found in Wilford
Needles found in Wilford

“The supply and dealing of illegal drugs will not be tolerated and we’ll keep acting on information received to bring about positive results and make our communities safer.

“I’d like to thank residents for the information they are supplying about crime in their areas and I would urge the public to keep reporting information to us.”

“If you have any information about suspected drug crime in your area please call Nottinghamshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”