Concerned mum's horror after drug needles discovered in popular skate park
An investigation has been launched after drugs paraphernalia was found in a council-owned skate park.
A concerned mother told the Belfast Telegraph of her horror after she had to explain to her seven-year-old son about the dangers of discarded needles found on Sunday afternoon in Bridges Urban Sports Park in Belfast.
Suzie de Haan's son Ollie frequently visits the skate park.
But at the weekend, as her son was on top of the slope known as a half-pipe, a cleaner approached Suzie and told her he had found "needles and crack pipes" earlier at the spot where the youngster was standing.
He added that it was a "daily occurrence" for him.
Suzie said her son loves the park but she hopes more measures can be taken by authorities to prevent this happening.
She then had to make her son aware of the items and the dangers connected to them.
"I said: 'I don't like having to talk to you about this but I have to make you aware if you see anything like this on the ground, don't touch it'.
"He said: 'Is that a needle? What are they doing with it?'
"I said: 'Unfortunately these guys are putting the needles in their bodies with drugs and you can't touch them because that sort of thing can kill you.'"
Suzie said it's a big park and the kids are constantly falling over as they skate, and she fears what could happen if they landed on a needle. She added there was a great sense of community between the park's skateboarders, with the older skaters looking out for younger ones.
"There has been a couple of occasions where they have said: 'Ollie, we are good guys you can talk to us but if you see guys up there, (pointing to where the needles were found), don't go near those guys'," she said.
"Not a chance did I think these guys were sitting shooting up heroin in that park during the day. I know it's (drugs) out there, but just in a public space you wouldn't expect it.
"A lot of parents are trusting and leave their kids there for a few hours and come back again.
"I definitely wouldn't be recommending anyone doing that now after seeing that."
A Belfast City Council spokesman said: "This is under investigation.
"Therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."