Sharps bin trial to end blight of needles

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THE locations of four bins for the safe disposal of used syringes and needles have been revealed.

THE locations of four bins for the safe disposal of used syringes and needles have been revealed.Stainless steel receptacles will be dotted around the city centre, close to known drug-user hotspots.

The bins are being introduced as part of a six-month pilot scheme aimed at cutting down on the number of needles carelessly discarded in cemeteries, parks, sheltered areas and streets.

Today, Peterborough City Council announced the provisional locations of the four, 1,000 bins. They are:

Potter's Way car park, River Nene Embankment.

Church Walk, close to Stanley Recreation Ground.

Bayard Place, on the Northminster side.

Central Library, along an alleyway between Broadway and Park Road.

To encourage drug-users to dispose of needles, Cambridgeshire police have agreed not to target individuals who drop items into the bins.

The scheme, called Safe Sharps Disposal, will accept a range of sharp implements, such as razor blades, small knives and safety pins, meaning that people using them won't automatically be stigmatised as drug-users.

At the end of the trial period, the success of the bins will be reviewed before they become a permanent fixture.

Council spokesman Mike Lennox said: "It is hoped fewer needles will be discarded as a result of the bins. The locations have been specifically chosen because they are close to areas which have had past problems."

Mr Lennox said the bins had been ordered, and once they arrived there would be a publicity campaign to notify people of their location.

The city council's environment committee set up a safe needle working group after it was revealed more than 2,000 needles had been discarded by drug users between June 2005 and December 2005 in Peterborough.

The shocking figures revealed half of that total were left in one of the city's historic sites – Broadway Cemetery, in central Peterborough.

Another 750 needles were recovered from the grounds of St Mark's Church, in Lincoln Road.

Other blighted areas included Craig Street and Dickens Street, both in central Peterborough, and Lutton Grove, in Ravensthorpe.

Councillor Darren Fower, the city's Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said: "Aside from the obvious needles used by illegal users of drugs, we must also remember that we have many people in this city who have diabetes.

"They will benefit from knowing there are locations they can dispose of their needles safely and when it suits them.

"Neighbouring Cambridge has already seen success with similar schemes, and they are already benefiting the community as a whole.

"I hope senior Tory Cabinet members will realise the benefits of this idea, and we will see a permanent introduction of these bins sooner rather than later."