Litter picker’s shock after discovering 97 needles in Ipswich street
PUBLISHED: 19:17 08 March 2020 | UPDATED: 19:17 08 March 2020
A group of Ipswich litter pickers were “aghast and appalled” after discovering a staggering 97 needles in one morning.
The Bridge Ward Wombles group were shocked to make the discoveries on their first ever outing on Sunday morning, March 8.
The group, led by Jacqui Paternoster with the support of well-known litter picker Jason Alexander, found the two piles of needles in the Vernon Street area, near to the Spinclean Launderette.
They had first discovered a couple of used syringes in a shrubbed area before crossing the road, where a bag of 90 unused syringes was found alongside more used needles and paraphernalia.
Mr Alexander, who regularly organises litter picks in and around the town, said the discovery is the biggest he has ever found.
He said: "Everyone was aghast and appalled at what we found. To find something like this truly shows the scale of the problem.
"There are so many families with young children and pets in the area who could so easily find them and be pierced by the needles.
"This is definitely the most I've ever found - thankfully these types of finds are few and far between, but they need to be handled safely. "We had children with us taking part in the pick, but we make sure they are always supervised and go through a safety talk before we start so they know how to stay safe."
Mr Alexander placed the used needles in a sharps bin he carries and collected the unused needles to be taken away by Ipswich Borough Council.
The ward is listed as one of the 206 most deprived places in the UK according to research by The Local Trust, leading MP Tom Hunt to call on the government to create extra funds for hard-hit communities.
On Saturday, Mr Alexander led a team of Chantry Wombles around the Hawthorn Drive area where he was again shocked at the scale of the local litter problem.
He added: "When you see litter every day, sadly you become blind to it - but when you have groups like ours with people who genuinely take pride in their community and want to better it, you can make a real difference."
Any drugs paraphernalia found in the town should be reported immediately to the Cleaner Ipswich Hotline on 01473 433000.