NELC apologises after taking 24 hours to pick up syringe found in Grimsby
NORTH East Lincolnshire Council has apologised after it took more than 24 hours to pick up a used syringe found in the street – because they "misheard" the address.
Council chiefs made the admission as they appealed for residents spotting needles to alert them straight away, so they could arrange for them to be collected safely.
However, father-of-two Jamie Balderson, 28, of Corporation Road, said he was disgusted it had taken NELC so long to collect a syringe he found outside his 92-year-old grandmother's Earl Street home – a street often used by children to get to school.
After spotting the needle at about 10am on Tuesday, he called over a passing PCSO, who immediately reported the issue to NELC and secured a promise that a team would be sent to collect it as an "emergency job".
When the PCSO moved off, leaving the needle on the pavement, Mr Balderson decided to "stand guard" over it until the council team arrived.
However, by 11am there was still no sign of the collection team and he called the council again, only to be told it was on their list and that someone would collect it by the end of the day.
He said: "I couldn't believe it. Kids walk down here to get to school.
"By this time, I felt a bit daft just standing out in the street, so I decided to pick up the syringe and put it into one of my grandmother's recycling boxes, so at least it was off the street and no-one could get hurt."
Mr Balderson then called NELC again to explain what he had done and was assured that the job had been marked as a priority.
However, when he returned to his grandmother's house at 9am yesterday, he was horrified to find the syringe was still where he left it.
He said: "I have a three-year-old and we had another baby on New Year's Eve, so I know why it's so important.
"I wouldn't want these kind of things left lying around for my kids to find.
My grandmother isn't keen on having it in her garden either but, as I said, it's better than it being left on the street for a child to find."
However, a spokesman for NELC blamed the delay on a mix-up over the address.
Speaking yesterday, Councillor David Bolton, portfolio holder for Community Safety and Neighbourhoods, said: "The needle was picked up from Earl Street this morning (Wednesday) at 11.30am.
"We misheard the address when it was reported and we're sorry for the delay.
"Our advice to people who find needles is to report it on 01472 313131 to arrange for it to be picked up.
"Callers are usually advised to safely place the needle in a container out of harm's way and it will be collected the following day.
"They are picked up sooner if there are several needles or they are found in a prominent place such as a play area."