Councillor says needle problem ‘is getting worse’

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A CITY councillor has spoken out about ‘growing problems’ of needles being found on the streets of Portsmouth – putting people’s health in jeopardy.

Steve Pitt, the Liberal Democrat central Southsea ward representative, admitted the recent case reported by mum Rosa Sartori whose daughter had a lucky escape after picking up a needle was unfortunately far from an isolated incident.

Rosa’s four-year old daughter Chiara had to be taken to Queen Alexandra for a blood test where she was subsequently cleared of contracting any disease after picking up the drug tool in Oxford Road in April.

While at hospital Rosa said she was told by a nurse that three other children had been pricked by needles during the same week.

Rosa told The News it was only a matter of time before a child picked up a disease as a result of being pricked.

‘Chiara went behind my car and saw what she thought was a bright green toy and decided to pick it. When I saw what it was I screamed out for her to drop it and then rushed her inside and poured TCP all over her hand,’ Rosa said.

‘You just wonder how long it will be before a child gets pricked and contracts a disease. Something needs to be done. We cannot just sit by as a society and let this become the norm.’

But according to Cllr Pitt the issue has become a growing epidemic: ‘Needles being dumped on the ground is a growing problem across the city, as is the problem with drugs – outside the Lib Dem office in Fratton I found two drug cooking tins and rubber gloves and had to clean up the mess.

‘Finding needles is now a daily occurrence yet a couple of years ago you would never hear of such problems. There’s been a number of cases across the city from Southsea to Fratton, where 12 syringes were found recently.

‘It’s a scary thing and is becoming more frequent. There’s nowhere near enough community wardens and police so we need the public to be our eyes and ears. Obviously the more of these needles there are, the more of a risk they pose – especially to children and animals.’

The police and city council have urged people to report incidents via the My Portsmouth App, which is monitored 24 hours a day, or by calling the City Help Desk on 023 9283 4092.

The police should be called on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.