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Drug needles fear for keen gardener

PUBLISHED: 18:23 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:16 22 July 2010

A KEEN gardener was issued with a thick pair of gloves by Islington Council – but it was something a little less innocent than rose thorns they were concerned about.

A KEEN gardener was issued with a thick pair of gloves by Islington Council - but it was something a little less innocent than rose thorns they were concerned about.

The resident of Camden Road, Holloway, has become used to finding hypodermic needles dumped in her front garden by drug users. She was given the gloves and told to wear them every time she did some gardening in case she pricked herself on a tainted needle.

A neighbour of the gardener, who asked not to be named, said: "Last time the council team came to pick up syringes they gave her some gloves and told her never to garden without wearing them. It does rather tell you something about the time we're living in when you have to have a warning like that for an innocent hobby."

But she had nothing but praise for the council's drug action response team, who have come out on several occasions to clean up mess left behind by addicts. She said: "The team have picked up used syringes for us several times. It is a really good service."

Islington Council's head of environmental services said it was not standard practice to hand out gloves but detailed the other services the team could provide.

He said: "I would not encourage anyone to pick up discarded needles themselves. Anyone who sees a needle should contact our Drug Action Response Team straight away, and we'll take care of it. The crew are out all day working."

He continued: "We don't have a policy of giving out gloves to people - and gloves don't give 100 per cent protection against needles anyway. The frontline services we provide are well received. We are trying to provide a cleaner, safer borough. These services have a direct impact on peoples' quality of life."

If you find a discarded needle call Islington Council on 0207 527 2000.


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