Mum’s horror as daughter picks up discarded drug needle in Southsea street

Benjamin Peace

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A MUM has hit out after her daughter had a lucky escape when she picked up a drug needle that looked like a toy and had to go to hospital for a blood test.

Rosa Sartori, 38, revealed she screamed with fear as her four-year-old daughter Chiara picked up the drug tool in Oxford Road, Southsea, this month.

Rosa Sartori who is highlighting the problem with discarded drug needles in Southsea.' Picture by Ian Hargreaves (180462-1)

Rosa Sartori who is highlighting the problem with discarded drug needles in Southsea.' Picture by Ian Hargreaves (180462-1)

Although Rosa was relieved Chiara was subsequently cleared of contracting any disease at Queen Alexandra Hospital, she was left fuming after being told by a nurse that three other children had been pricked by needles during the same week.

Rosa, of Admiralty Lane in Eastney, believes there is a growing problem with needles being dumped and thinks it is only a matter of time before a child picks 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,’ Rosa said.

‘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.

‘Thankfully she only picked it from the syringe end, not the needle end, but it was still such a worry.

‘I was shocked and angry. I would never have expected to see a needle down a normal residential street.

‘I was told to take Chiara to hospital where she had a blood test which showed she was ok. While I was there a nurse told me three other children had been pricked in that week alone by needles and was something they were dealing with more and more.’

Rosa added: ‘You just wonder how long it will be before a child contracts a disease. Something needs to be done. We cannot just sit by as a society and let this become the norm – it’s a slippery slope.

‘There is a lot of talk about safeguarding our children in other areas but this is also something where we need to protect our children.

‘If needles are given out at drugs clinic then presumably they know the people they are giving them to. Perhaps they could put a serial number or something to identify each needle to trace it back to the individuals doing the dumping.’

John Neves, who manages Portsmouth City Council’s street cleansing contract with Colas, said. ‘We are sorry to hear a needle was found as we work hard to keep Portsmouth’s streets clean. In some areas our contractor, Colas, cleans our roads daily and residential areas are cleaned once a week – after bin collection day.

‘If anyone sees a needle we urge them not to touch it and to report it to us, either via the My Portsmouth App which is monitored 24/7 or by calling the City Help Desk on 023 9283 4092. A discarded needle is treated as urgent so, if reported, we will respond immediately.’

A police officer who was in the area disposed of the needle – with the force now saying it is taking action to stamp it out.

Chief Insp Jason Kenny said: ‘Substance misuse remains a key focus for the Safer Portsmouth Partnership because of the wide ranging impact it has in the city and I am pleased to confirm that we have worked well in partnership to protect vulnerable people and children.

‘Making people safer is always our top priority and we remain determined to make the city safer through search, seizure and arrests targeting the most risky drug networks.

‘The community has a massive part to play in helping us take opportunities to identify and arrest drug dealers.’

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