Car park cleaner tells of shock­ing drug re­mains

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS - Olivia Scull Re­porter olivi­aalexan­dra.scull@reach­plc.com

Used heroin nee­dles and other drug para­pher­na­lia are be­ing found every day in pub­lic car parks in Bath.

Our re­porter and pho­tog­ra­pher found ev­i­dence of drug con­sump­tion on every flight of stairs at Avon Street car park dur­ing a re­cent visit.

We saw blood splat­ters on the ceil­ing from where drug in­ject­ing had gone wrong and urine in cor­ners of the stair­well.

At Man­vers Street we found sy­ringes and ni­trous ox­ide can­is­ters in cor­ners of the car park at 2pm on Fe­bru­ary 13.

We found para­pher­na­lia, even though the Avon Street and Man­vers Street car parks had been cleaned at 7am that day.

On pre­vi­ous days our re­porters have spot­ted nee­dles stick­ing out of lights in stair­wells.

John is the cleaner at Avon Street and Man­vers Street car parks six days a week.

He is there from 6am from Mon­day to Satur­day and some­one else cleans on a Sun­day.

He has been asked by the lo­cal coun­cil to start record­ing how many nee­dles he finds.

He says he finds at least one every day.

John blames the used nee­dles on home­less peo­ple, but said they were not the only peo­ple us­ing drugs in the car parks.

He added: “You get all the kids... tak­ing weed in the stairs.”

“There is a bit more here on the week­end as the kids go up on the top lev­els in their cars.

“You could only stop it if they had se­cu­rity and they aren’t go­ing to do that.”

John also of­ten finds home­less peo­ple sleep­ing in the car park.

He said: “You’ll find all the bed­ding there as I haven’t thrown any­thing away this morn­ing.

“If they aren’t there for a few days I will dis­pose of it.”

Ce­cil Weir, fundrais­ing di­rec­tor at home­less char­ity Ju­lian House, said: “This is a re­ally un­pleas­ant and dan­ger­ous is­sue.

“Drug abuse is a wide­spread prob­lem in our so­ci­ety. No one wants this to be the case but it’s there.

“We al­ways en­cour­age the use of sharps bins for safe dis­posal.

“But the covert na­ture of drug tak­ing means that it hap­pens in all sorts of places.

“Our out­reach staff have a re­ally good re­la­tion­ship with cleans­ing staff who of­ten alert them to where rough sleepers are bed­ding down.

“Get­ting these in­di­vid­u­als off the streets is re­ally im­por­tant. It is an ex­is­tence that can lead to pre­ma­ture death.

“As part of our role we try to en­cour­age them not to leave lit­ter of any kind be­hind.”

Cllr David Wood is Bath and North East Som­er­set Coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for neigh­bour­hood ser­vices and cli­mate emer­gency. He said: “This is very con­cern­ing. Drugs para­pher­na­lia can be dan­ger­ous and we treat dan­ger­ous lit­ter re­ported to us as a pri­or­ity.

“We make every ef­fort to keep our streets clean and safe for res­i­dents and op­er­ate a sched­uled clean­ing pro­gramme for our car parks, as well as re­spond­ing to spe­cific is­sues when needed.

“I’d en­cour­age peo­ple to re­port dan­ger­ous items and other lit­ter­ing prob­lems to us on Fix My Street at https://fix.bathnes.gov.uk or by call­ing us on 01225 39 40 41.”

A state­ment from Avon and Som­er­set Po­lice said: “I can con­firm that we work with the lo­cal au­thor­ity to ad­dress this is­sue.

“This in­cludes the multi-agency nee­dle audit meet­ing where we iden­tify hot spots place nee­dle bins and lo­cal cleans­ing teams do cleanup work.

“The car parks are reg­u­larly pa­trolled by neigh­bour­hood beat of­fi­cers and we of­ten iden­tify users dur­ing these pa­trols who we deal with for of­fences iden­ti­fied and (also) sign­post for ed­u­ca­tional pro­grammes.

“We clearly need in­for­ma­tion from the pub­lic and would like them to be our ‘eyes and ears’ and con­tact us about drug use.”

Ev­i­dence of drug use in Avon Street car park, Bath

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