A WORTHING mum-of-three has been left outraged after her six-year-old son picked up a dirty needle on his way to school.
Leila Isolda, of Centrecourt Road, was walking her three children to St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Cobden Road when her son Francesco picked up a used needle lying on the pavement in London Street.
Despite taking the needle to Worthing police station to have it disposed of correctly, Leila was shocked to find police officers were not fazed by the discovery.
“I was absolutely horrified when my son showed me what he had found,” said Leila. “But I was more shocked when the police just didn’t seem that bothered my little boy had picked up the needle off the street.”
The 29-year-old said she expected more of a reaction from the police, and felt there should be a crackdown on the use and disposal of needles.
“Lots of parents walk their kids to school around that area,” she said. “There are two schools nearby. I know there is a drug problem around that area so something needs to be done to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Leila added: “I’ve spoken to other parents and they are all mortified. I know we live in a problem area but we shouldn’t just expect needles to be lying on the floor, or think this is acceptable. If people are going to use needles, they should have enough respect for others to dispose of them properly.”
Head teacher of St Mary’s, Cecilia Lewis, said the school is aware of the issues in the surrounding area.
“We are working with the police to provide advice to parents and children, and I can understand why parents are upset that children are exposed to drug litter in streets and park areas.
“Schools need to continue working alongside services such as the police and health providers to educate children about staying safe outside school and home. Officers from Worthing Borough Council and West Sussex County Council are also aware of the situation and are involved in supporting the local community in dealing with this matter.”
Worthing police said action was being taken to tackle to problem of drug use in the area.
Inspector Allan Lowe said: “We have noticed an increase in drug litter over the last couple of months and as a result a local action team (LAT) has been established by the Worthing in Action group, part of the Safer Communities Partnership.
“We are meeting imminently to decide on what action will be taken.
“If anyone sees any discarded items of this nature, we recommend that they do not touch them, but contact the local council who are responsible for clearing and discarding this type of litter.”