Syringe find in Galashiels car park sparks safety fears

Councillor Euan Jardine in the car park behind Iceland in Galashiels.
Councillor Euan Jardine in the car park behind Iceland in Galashiels.

The discovery of several syringes discarded in a supermarket car park in Galashiels has sparked fresh public health concerns.

Members of the volunteer Gala Waterways group carrying out one of their monthly clean-ups of the town came across seven needles at the Iceland store in the town’s High Street.

Among those who found the abandoned needles was Galashiels councillor Euan Jardine.

He alerted Scottish Borders Council’s safer communities team, prompting it to issue advice to the public on the correct procedures to follow if they come across similar drug apparatus.

Mr Jardine says he does not believe Galashiels has a unique problem with drug use, but he is urging townsfolk to be vigilant in to maintain public safety.

He said: “I have been working with Gala Waterways for a couple of years now. We clean vegetation along the river banks and also carry out litter-picking.

“Once or twice, you will come across a discarded needle, and it is handled safely.

“However, I was quite taken aback at the amount of needles found at Iceland’s car park when we were working there.

“These needles being left are a safety hazard for anyone coming in contact with them.

“The council and other partners have been working hard to bring down the amount of discarded needles in Galashiels through work with users.

“The amount of discarded needles found has fallen, but I believe more work is needed to help remedy this situation.

“I want to be clear that I am not trying to sensationalise this issue, and this isn’t an epidemic. However, public safety is first and foremost on my mind, and I just want people to be conscious of this ongoing concern in and around that area of the town.”

A safer communities team spokesperson added: “Whilst the majority of people who access injecting equipment dispose of this safely, any reports of discarded needles in our community is a concern.

“The team has a policy in place to ensure the safe and efficient removal of discarded sharps found in the community.”

Any member of the public finding syringes should not touch them or try to put them in a litter bin, drain or toilet, the team cautions.

The public is instead urged to call 0300 100 1800 during office hours and council officers will come out and dispose of them safely.

Alternatively, if needles are found outside of office hours, members of the public are urged to call Police Scotland on 101.

The communities team spokesperson added: “Users can exchange used injecting equipment for new equipment at eight injecting equipment providers across the Scottish Borders. The locations are listed at www.nhsborders.scot.nhs.uk/badp