Mum's horror as child finds dirty needle on Exmouth beach
PUBLISHED: 06:30 13 May 2016
Fun on the beach turned to terror when nine-year-old Ella Jacobs picked up a dirty syringe from the sand.
The youngster, from Exeter, had been enjoying a day in Exmouth with mum Shauna and her four-year-old brother, Jack, when she made the grim discovery near Orcombe Point.
Shauna Jacobs, 29, from St Thomas, wants to make other families aware of the grisly find in a bid to protect children, dogs and beachgoers.
The mum-of-two said she faced problems discarding the dirty needle, claiming the police would not help.
The family safely disposed of the syringe in a medical ‘sharps box’ after they drove to the Liverton business park fire and ambulance stations in desperation.
Full-time mum Shauna said: “My nine-year-old came running up with a needle in her hand, saying ‘I just found this on the beach’.
“I panicked. It was just lying on top of the sand. She bent down and picked it up; my heart sank.
“I was just in complete shock that I had seen something like that. Down a back alley, you know to be careful; you know there’s going to be something gross down there. But being on the beach, where lots of people walk, you don’t expect to see a used needle.”
Shauna said that, when police refused to come out and collect the dirty needle, the family asked the fire and ambulance services for help.
“The police wouldn’t come out and get it. They said it wasn’t a crime. We were told to put it in a bottle and dispose of it,” she added. “We put it in a plastic bottle and took it up to the ambulance and fire station. They put it in their sharps box.
“It hasn’t put us off from coming back to Exmouth, but I will be purchasing jelly shoes and the kids will be wearing them. It was probably a one-off, but you have to be vigilant.”
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesman said: “This really is an environmental health matter...advice was given to the family.”
An East Devon District Council spokeswoman said: “If a member of the public finds any needles, we recommend that they contact us immediately.
“Our Streetscene officers have the correct removal and disposal equipment and they will attend the scene as a matter of priority to remove any needles that have been found.
“As a matter of course, our officers monitor the cleanliness of the beach and the surrounding area on a daily basis and remove any discarded waste or general litter, as well as other objects that shouldn’t be on the beach.”