Anger as drug users’ syringes are found on side of the road

Used needles discarded on Chapel Street
Used needles discarded on Chapel Street

Council chiefs have blasted drug users for dumping needles and syringes in the street.

They said that the hypodermics, found on Chapel Street, Leigh, near to the town’s police station, posed a serious health risk.

This kind of behaviour in leaving syringes around in public is reprehensible and we are taking action to remove them

Council spokesman

The discovery prompted a heated debate on social media as to who is ultimately responsible for the tackling of the borough’s drug problems.

It is unknown what drug, if any, the needles had been used for, but many residents strongly suspected heroin injection.

While some were sympathetic to the disease of drug addiction, others were less so, calling users “vermin” and suggesting it was “better to let them keep taking it till they die”.

One resident looked at the bigger picture, suggesting cuts in local services were a contributing factor.

Natalie Pinna wrote: “You can’t reduce the amount of doctors and still expect them to have appointments available for all their patients.

“There’s not enough police either.”

Although unclear how common the problem of drug abuse is in Leigh, Wigan Council emphasised the dangers to others as well as drug users.

A spokesman said: “This kind of behaviour in leaving syringes around in public is reprehensible and we are taking action to remove them.

“There are a number of needle exchanges in Leigh town centre, where needles can be used and disposed of safely, not only helping to reduce the risk of catching diseases like HIV and hepatitis for the user, but also reducing the risk to the wider public, should they find needles too.”

And used needles don’t just pose a danger to the public through picking them up or standing on them.

In November, a court heard that a Wigan shoplifter produced a hypodermic needle as a weapon, and threatened to give security staff Hepatitis C unless they let her go.

The council encouraged people to report any instances of spotting used needles, which can be done online through MyAccount or the Report It app.

Residents can also seek help with alcohol and drug problems from the Wigan and Leigh Recovery Partnership on 01942 487578.

Anyone under 18 can contact the Young People’s Drug & Alcohol Service on 01942 865591.

A confidential needle exchange service is available at the Coops Building in 11 Dorning Street, Wigan, WN1 1HR, and several pharmacies across the borough also offer the service.