A FATHER has described his horror after his partner found a used syringe in their back garden just moments after their young daughter had been playing outside.

Tom Smith, 32, of Brownlow Street, The Groves, arrived home from work to his upset partner Gemma Matthews, 31, who had removed the used needle, which still had blood in it, from their garden. The couple’s daughter Summer, who turns two next month, had been playing in the garden shortly before it was found.

“We had that horrible feeling in the pit of our stomachs of ‘oh my God, what if she touched it,” said Tom.

“Gemma was quite upset and it’s horrific really. Just the thought of it is horrible. You can see blood in it and the needle is still attached to it.”

Although aware of drug users in the area, Tom said that the problem had never been this bad and on further inspection, the York St John University worker found more used needles and other drugs paraphernalia down an alleyway at the side of his house.

He said: “The alleyway is clearly visible from the road but there are loads of syringes there.

“It’s a bit disturbing and there was a beer can which has been ripped up and burnt where they have cooked heroin on it.”

Earlier this month a petition was launched by residents and shopkeepers in the area to ban street drinkers but Tom says the police need to do more to tackle the ongoing drugs problem.

He said: “It’s really worrying with the primary school being right down the street and these people are obviously really brazen about doing it.

“I’d like my local PCSO to be doing more.”

Inspector Andy Haigh, of York Safer Neighbourhood Team, said the police were aware of the issue and urged residents to report any problems.

He said: “We are aware of a number of issues in The Groves area and are working with partner agencies to address them.

“In the main, the problems are around street drinking and discarded alcohol containers, however syringes are clearly a serious issue.

“Last week we held a ‘week of action’ in The Groves area with our partner agencies to address some of the problems raised by residents.

“One of the key messages to residents is to report any discarded items linked to drugs and alcohol, to the police or the council and we will take action.”