Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

City Hotspot for Discarded Drug Needles Revealed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

City Hotspot for Discarded Drug Needles Revealed

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Knight Reporter C_M_Knight

BYKER has been revealed as Newcastle's worst hotspot for used drug needles and syringes. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed the authority had been called out 38 times to reports of needles and syringes in the ward from the beginning of the year through to the end of July.

This figure already represents a sizeable increase from the number of callouts to Byker in the whole of 2016, when officers were dispatched to the area just 24 times.

Westgate ward came second in the latest standings, with 23 reports, while Ouseburn rounded out the top three with 17 callouts.

Northumbria Police launched an operation code-named "Murus" in August around the Byker Wall estate following complaints from residents about drug paraphernalia being dumped around the area.

Kirsty Smith, neighbourhood inspector for the force, said: "During the second half of this year, we have made a number of arrests after carrying out search warrants at several addresses in the Byker Wall and seized an estimated PS3,000 worth of heroin, along with a large quantity of spice, some cannabis plants and PS1,000 in cash.

"This enforcement activity also had an impact on drugs-related litter such as used needles and syringes in the area, which poses a risk to residents and children who want to be able to play safely in these areas.

"Following this activity, neighbourhood officers regularly patrol these areas, speak to residents and work closely with the council to keep the area safe for everyone to enjoy.

"We want to reassure people this closely with a range of partners including the police to provide services which help people struggling with addictions.

"This includes drug and alcohol services and coordinating a needle and syringe exchange which requires people to return used equipment. "Any increase in illegal drug use is of concern to us and we urge people to seek support if they have an addiction. …

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