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PHOTOS: Dad finds toddler holding used needle in Cornish park

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Published by Emma Carton at 6:45am 7th August 2018. (Updated at 12:17pm 7th August 2018)

A Cornish dad has found his two-year-old clutching a used needle on a trip to the park.

Thomas Galea has been patrolling ever since the toddler picked one up in Penzance.

He is worried play areas are becoming a hotspot for heroin users, after clearing almost 200 in a matter of weeks.

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Thomas Galea has been clearing needles in Penzance ever since his two-year-old picked one up on a trip to the park

Thomas has told Pirate FM he felt like he had let his son down and more needs to be done to tackle the problem.

"A six-year-old boy suffered a needle stick injury where it was left on the beach.

"Also, there is about twenty other reports of needles being found.

"I found there was a lack of resources to collect these needles and remove them safely.

"It was taking three days, sometimes even longer, to remove a needle in a park which I found was unacceptable".

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Thomas Galea has found almost 200 needles in a matter of weeks. He started patrols after his toddler picked on up in a park

"I felt I'd let him down. I felt really bad because obviously you're in a park and you think it's a safe area.

"You watch them 24/7 - you don't expect them to bend down and pick up a needle.

"It had blood everywhere and a thick, tar-like substance inside of it; that's not something you want your children to handle".

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Thomas Galea is worried play areas and parks could be becoming hotspots for heroin users, after clearing almost 200 used needles in a matter of weeks

One mum, who asked to remain anonymous, told Pirate FM how she sent photos to Thomas after her dog found a needle on a beach.

"We were walking and I noticed he had something in his mouth. I told him to drop it and it was a syringe/needle.

"He didn't injure himself but I was in shock. I would never walk him there again.

"I believe what Thomas is doing is incredible and very humble. The town council should support him with everything and employ him as he does a fantasitc job and responds immediately.

"It's a big shame that it's him and not the people who get paid for it".

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A mum who wanted to remain anonymous says her dog had a used needle in his mouth after a coastal walk near Penzance

"It makes me not want to visit the area as much. I would maybe take my dog to a more loved area of Penzance.

"It's such a shame because it's a lovely coastal walk with St Michael's Mount and then those pictures ruin it for me.

"Thomas has done fantastically at raising awareness. It shows Penzance needs to address the issue instead of hiding it".

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The mum, who wanted to remain anonymous, sent her photos to Thomas Galea and is urging officials to support him

In a statement, officials say they are working hard to address the concerns of the community and patrols are being carried out.

"The Safer Penzance partnership has been working hard to address the concerns of the Penzance community.

"Officers from the Council's Anti-Social Behaviour team and local police have carried out a series of patrols in the town focusing on hotspots reported by local residents and businesses.

"Addaction workers are providing daily outreach sessions to vulnerable adults on the street, talking to the local residents and businesses and safely disposing of any drugs litter found.

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Officials insist they are working hard to address concerns about used needles and patrols have been launched to try to tackle the problem

"However, the reports on social media about needles being in public places do not match the reports that we are receiving.

"It's really important people report needles found in public places, not only because we will safely dispose of them, but also because we then know where there are issues and can direct our resources to proactively patrol these areas to remove any drug paraphernalia.

"For concerns about drug paraphernalia, such as needles, on the street, email Cornwall Council Refuse and Recycling refuseandrecycling@cornwall.gov.uk or call 0300 1234 141".

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