Sheffield mum threatened with bill for council to remove drug needles found on street

A Sheffield mum was told she would be charged £108 for the council to remove drug needles from her bin after she found them outside her house.

Thursday, 26th January 2017, 7:59 am
Updated Thursday, 26th January 2017, 8:02 am
A needle like this was found on Raisen Hall Road, Longley

Olivia Hale, aged 25, picked up two drug needles from her street after her mum stood on one and ended up with it stuck in her shoe.

The mum-of-two, from Raisen Hall Road, Longley, said she feared others could have stood or fallen on the needles so she threw them away in her bin and contacted Sheffield Council to warn refuse workers.

But Olivia said she was 'disgusted' when she was told that she would be charged £108 for a special team to come out to her house to retrieve the needles.

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The council has since waived the charge but admitted that there are occasions when there is a charge for the needle retrieval service.

Olivia said: "I was absolutely disgusted when the council told me they were going to charge me £108 for taking the needles out of my bin because they were on private property," she said.

"I thought I was doing the right thing by moving the needles so that nobody ended up with one stuck in them.

"I double bagged them and then called the council to let the binmen know that they were there, only to be told that I would be charged. I couldn't believe it."

She criticised drug users who dumped the needles on the street, close to Pathways Academy.

"People need to have more respect and think about what they are doing - what if somebody had ended up with a needle in them? Who knows what they might have caught," she added.

Bryan Lodge, Sheffield Council's cabinet member for the environment, said: “We would like to thank Ms Hale for her community spirit in picking up these sharps. We removed them from her property as soon as possible, with no charge to her.

“While I appreciate that she thought she was doing the best thing in removing the sharps from the street - and I can fully see why she did so - I would like to advise members of the public that, if they find needles in a public space, they should report it straight to us rather than trying to deal with it themselves.

“There could be a significant safety risk in handling sharps, which is why we have specialist teams who have the right knowledge and equipment to remove them safely.”