MORE than 600 used syringes have been recovered from a massive Wigan drugs den.
Specialist council clean-up staff were called to a new site in Great Acre in Whelley and were stunned by the scale of the find.
It is shocking the scale of the place and literally hundreds and hundreds of needles have been taken awayCoun George Davies
They recovered several sacks of hypodermics scattered around the cleared site in woodland where old duvets, shoes, clothes and some cover had been laid out, apparently by drugs users themselves.
There was also a large selection of empty alcohol bottles and cans.
Ward councillor George Davies, who was alerted to the location by a worried resident during the recent Lower Longshoot community clean up campaign, said he is horrified at the potential health risk the used needles, known as “sharps” represented.
The land, in the vicinity of the nursing home in the former St George’s School on land off Greenough Street, is a popular place for unknowing dog walkers or tree-climbing children to explore.
He has been told that neighbours in Whelley had become suspicious because of a steady stream of cars progressing to the very bottom of Sullivan Way.
They have been seen handing over “small bags” to dishevelled men who then “melt” back into the woods.
Now Coun Davies is urging the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour.
He is concerned that the seedy-looking base could be re-established nearby by substance abusers.
Coun Davies hopes dismantling such drugs dens would discourage substance abusers from gathering in such places and encourage them to seek professional help for their dependence.
He said: “A clean up operation has been launched by the council to make the drugs den area safe.
“It is shocking the scale of the place and literally hundreds and hundreds of needles have been taken away.
“When I was on site they found more than 200 needles and it was up to more than 600 the last time I was told.
“The councillor have worked together with the authority’s cleansing team to clear the area and removed what was a serious health risk to an unwary dog walkers using this land.
“It is also known that a lot of children play there.”
Coun Davies played tribute to the clean up operation headed by cleansing team works and officers of the Beat It anti fly tipping operation.
He is working with officers from the council’s Greenspaces Team to have the overgrown woodland thinned out to remove cover from those using it to hide their drug taking activities.
Coun Davies said: “We found out about it because a lady came to us when we were in Lower Longshoot with the skip.
“She said that we should be concentrating on cleaning up Great Acre instead because it was worse and she mentioned her suspicions about the land being used for drug taking.
“We had a problem two years ago with a drugs den that we found after concerns by residents and the problem clearly hasn’t gone away, it has just moved a bit further away.
“But this one, considering the number of needles, definitely represents evidence of a far bigger problem.”
Police authority representative Coun Charles Rigby has now agreed to pursue the matter with police about mounting an operation to monitor who is visiting the area to discourage drug dealers from visiting the area.