NEEDLES and syringes being left outside Hawkhill Community Centre “will not be tolerated”.

The issue has been highlighted in a bid to keep the safety of children, local residents and staff at the forefront.

While taking rubbish outside on the morning of Monday, April 24, an employee spotted a discarded needle and syringe at the top of the bin.

Centre manager May Richmond said this is in addition to the same being found within the car park at the facility around two months ago.

It prompted her to share the problem online and it is something she wants to “nip in the bud” – stressing the “safety of the children is paramount”.

She said: “The very fact that these children and the staff at the centre had been put at risk by somebody who is just not thinking and throwing their needles either in the car park or on top of the bin.”

As well as reporting the issue to local police and Clackmannanshire Council, it has been made known by the centre via a social media post.

It outlined that someone had been leaving “used needles and syringes in the bins and car park of the centre”.

Appealing for information to put a stop to it, it said that “this type of behaviour will not be tolerated”.

Ms Richmond said: “We've had 22 comments regarding the piece that I had put on Facebook.

“Parents saying how disgusted they are that people could actually come and leave their needles lying outside the centre where there are so many children coming in and out – so the support has been excellent.”

Around 700 people go in and out of the centre – which offers various clubs, classes and a drop-in foodbank – in a week.

Ms Richmond wants people to know that it is going on, and for anyone with information to get in touch with police.

She also pointed to the availability of needle exchange programmes, as an alternative to leaving items in a public place.

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP for Mid-Scotland & Fife, Alexander Stewart MBE, has expressed his deep concern for the issue and urged the community “to be vigilant”.

He said: “The Hawkhill Community Centre is a popular location for residents, families and groups to meet and the discovery of needles and syringes around the centre is a very worrying development.

“Drugs can be a blight on any community and the consequences can be fatal. 

“The dangers of drug users discarding these implements can have dangerous and deadly consequences and I would urge the community to be vigilant and contact the police if they are suspicious or if they have cause for concern.”

The problem was reported to Clackmannanshire Council who attended and removed the offending items.

A spokesperson for the local authority said: “There are a number of hazards and health risks associated with handling discarded syringes or needles and it is essential that they are disposed of carefully and appropriately. 

“If you find these items do not touch them or pick them up. 
“Cover up the syringe or needle if you can and make sure children and pets are kept away. 

“Report discarded syringes or needles as soon as possible by calling the council on 01259 450000.” 

Police are looking into Monday's incident and enquiries are ongoing.