Car park cleaner tells of shocking drug remains
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