A Ballymena mother has spoken of her disgust after a syringe needle, which she fears may have been dumped by a heroin user, was found below a piece of equipment at a children’s play park in the town.
Shauna Magee suspects it was a used heroin needle and said it would be “every parent’s nightmare” if their child lifted such an item and pierced their skin.
She hit out after the needle was discovered at Lamont Play Park in Smithfield Place which is a short distance from the town’s War Memorial Park and PSNI Station.
Shauna, mum to four-year-old Harry and Jayden, who turns two in September, lives nearby but says the situation at the park is so bad she is reluctant to let her children play there.
Instead, she takes them to parks further away, either the People’s Park or a park in the Harryville area of the town.
She said she was alerted to the needle being in Lamont Play Park and went along to take a picture to highlight the problem.
And she agreed to take Harry to the park with her on Wednesday for a press photograph but said she will only consider letting him play there again if there is a crackdown on anti-social behaviour and a thorough clean-up.
Shauna (20) said a member of the public lifted the needle in a tea towel and moved it out of harm’s way of children.
She told ‘Ballymena Daily’: “This park has just got absolutely dreadful. I believe this was a heroin needle. It is every parent’s nightmare if a child touched something like that.
“I was shocked and disgusted that something like that could be discarded below a piece of play equipment. There is a lot of anti-social behaviour at the park and broken glass and it has got so bad I am thinking of moving. There are people drinking there at night time.”
Shauna is calling for the authorities to keep the park clean and to ensure local children are kept safe.
A spokeswoman for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council told ‘Ballymena Daily’: “Council staff removed and disposed of the drug paraphernalia found at Lamont Park, Ballymena, as soon as it was reported and are liaising with the PSNI.
“This park is cleaned on a regular basis. We continue to work with our statutory partners and local organisations to put an end to drug misuse across the borough and Northern Ireland.
“Mid and East Antrim Policing and Community Safety Partnership recently launched a social media campaign highlighting the dangers of drug misuse and to signpost users to the valuable support services in the borough. We would urge anyone who finds anything untoward to contact the PSNI on 101.”
The PSNI were asked to comment but had not immediately responded on Wednesday afternoon.