A little girl’s life could be changed forever after picking up a used needle dumped by drug addicts close to her home.
Courtney Sharpin, six, may have to be referred to a specialist clinic to be tested for hepatitis C and is facing months of injections and blood tests after touching a needle while playing outside her North Lynn home.
Now her anxious mum Gemma Hicks is calling on the addicts to shoot up in their homes rather than put the safety of children at risk after more needles have been found in the area.
Miss Hicks, 31, who lives in the flats in St Edmundsbury Road, said: “It is disgusting that someone is shooting up in the area.
“Courtney is six years old, she should not be having to go through this. Maybe she should not have picked it up but she thought it was one of those easy dosage syringes for Calpol.
“These people should do it in their own homes.”
Courtney and her four-year-old sister Saffron were playing with friends on Tuesday afternoon when they found the needles along with a blackened spoon by the recycling bins.
Courtney touched the needle with two fingers but did not prick herself.
Miss Hicks was quickly told about the incident by older youngsters and she took Courtney to Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital following advice from her doctors’ surgery.
Courtney had three blood tests along with a hepatitis b jab as doctors did not want to take any chances. She will be facing six months of blood tests and jabs.
Courtney’s grandmother Karen Hicks said: “It was heartbreaking to see my six-year-old granddaughter going through that.”
Freebridge Community Housing Association and West Norfolk Council’s environmental health team have found further needles around the area.
Miss Hicks claims that a Freebridge worker told her not to let her children play outside while reporting the incident. She now wants to leave the area.
Miss Hicks said: “Our rubbish chutes have been locked now as needles were found in there and people were urinating in them.”
The council’s deputy leader Brian Long says it deals with these items and feels greater action should be taken against drug users.
He said: “People who take drugs don’t seem to care where the dispose of their needles. This has the potential result of a child ending up with a nasty disease.
“It is a terrible situation those that are responsible should really be held accountable in law.”
Lynn police station’s Chief Insp David Buckley: “This is a clearly a distressing time for the family involved in this incident. Our officers work with partner agencies to tackle any drug issues in areas highlighted as being of concern.”
Freebridge’s chief executive Tony Hall said: “As is our normal practice we have carried out an accident investigation into how this has happened to reduce the chances of a similar incident occurring in the future.
“We routinely check and clean the many communal and play areas we own and have immediately increased the checks we would normally make in the area in question.
“In addition to this we are taking a proactive approach in dealing with drug-related issues by working closely with the police and council.”