Friday, 7 February 2014

Reportage: Workman who discovered needles finds disposing of them isn't straightforward

A plumber working on a Todmorden property made a prickly discovery last week when he uncovered a few dozen used syringes behind a bathtub.

Luke Williams, 35, was working on renovating a house in Todmorden town centre when he made the discovery and found out that getting rid of needles was no simple task.

With the health risks surrounding used needles, Mr Williams contacted Calderdale Environmental Health Services hoping they would send someone to pick them up.

Instead, they offered to send a secure tub to dispose of the needles, but offered no assistance in handling them.

“I didn’t want to risk touching them,” said Mr Williams.

“You don’t know whether there’s HIV on them, or all sorts of other diseases - I just wanted someone to collect them.”

Calderdale Council’s Head of Housing and Environment, Mark Thompson, said: “We take the removal of sharps very seriously, and would like to stress that reports of this kind are very rare.

“If needles are discovered on private property, responsibility for removal would lie with the owner.

“However, public health is our priority and we will take whatever action is necessary to protect people’s safety.

“We will assess the risk, and if the owner has concerns we will assist with removal.

“The council’s Environmental Health Service would investigate this kind of incident and can be contacted via the council’s contact centre on 0845 245 6000.

“We are re-contacting the tradesman concerned here to speed up removal of the needles.”

This article was published in Todmorden News on February 5, 2014.

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