Crime deputy wants action over '˜drug den' at Peterborough's riverbank

Needles are blighting the city's riverbank, according to the deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.

Tuesday, 18th April 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:46 pm
Rubbish piled up at Railworld

Andy Coles has called for action to clear up what he described as a “drug den” after he took part in two litter picks on the river edge near Railworld which uncovered many needles and a large amount of dumped rubbish.

Councillor Coles, who also represents Fletton and Woodston on Peterborough City Council, said: “Having lived around the area I know what’s going on. But what surprised me was the amount of it.

“The issue for me is that local people know about it, but have not reported it to the authorities in huge numbers.”

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A litter pick near the river

Discussing the needles, he said: “I recognise the people tend to be rough sleepers who are hard to reach.

“You need to get rough sleepers back into housing, get them on treatment orders and look at enforcement.

“I do not want to see uncapped syringes in areas where young children play and where dogs are walked.”

Cllr Coles is in discussions with the city’s Prevention and Enforcement Service - which consists of council, police, fire service and prison staff - to look at what action can now be taken both north and south of the river.

Coun. Andy Cole with volunteers cleaning up the area around the River Nene near Railworld. EMN-170325-195225009

Writing on his personal website, he declared that the litter pickers “found a shocking amount of drug paraphernalia in the undergrowth. Uncapped dirty needles, syringes, drug spoons and over 70 needle disposal boxes, the majority left empty.

“We have a problem of drink and drug use just off a well-used public footpath.”

He added: “I am also asking for the landowners to do some clearance work so that these areas on the riverbank are no longer welcome to drug users.”

Cllr Coles met with police sergeant Kirsty Hills yesterday to show her the extent of the problem.

Coun Andy Cole with police sergeant Kirsty Hills finding needles and other rubbish. EMN-171104-150116009

A spokeswoman said: “The Prevention and Enforcement Service (PES) is aware of this issue and has been focusing activity in the Railworld area as a direct result.

“We understand the importance of this issue and members of the PES are drawing up a response plan to implement shortly.

“The plan will include short term activity such as increased patrols as well as long term activity such as drugs work and homeless support.

“We would encourage any members of the public to report any issues like this to us via the MyPeterborough smartphone app or call 01733 747474.”

A litter pick near the river
Coun. Andy Cole with volunteers cleaning up the area around the River Nene near Railworld. EMN-170325-195225009
Coun Andy Cole with police sergeant Kirsty Hills finding needles and other rubbish. EMN-171104-150116009