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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 March, 2004, 12:13 GMT
Syringes found in bottle bank
Syringes and needles were found in a supermarket bottle bank
Drug users are being told not to throw their syringes into bottle banks after disabled people helping in the recycling process came across used needles.

A number of syringes and a hypodermic needle were found in the bottle bank in the Tesco car park in Barry, south Wales.

People with disabilities who attend a day centre run by the cerebral palsy charity Scope discovered the needles when they were sifting through the plastic collected at supermarket bottle banks.

The Vale of Glamorgan council is urging drug users not to discard their used needles into the bottle banks - and the charity has warned their service could be withdrawn if they do.

"All plastic bottles collected for recycling are sorted by hand at our training plant in Barry," said Scope's project coordinator Emma Blake.

"Health and safety is a high priority and protective clothing is worn at all times but unwanted items, such as a needles from a syringe, are extremely dangerous to Scope service users, council staff and buyers of our plastic.

"As a recycling plant there is a lot of handling and sorting of materials, including drink cans, plastic bottles, foil and toner cartridges.

It is very worrying for everyone involved in handling the materials
Emma Blake, Scope

"It is imperative that only the right materials are deposited in the designated banks to ensure this process can continue safely."

If further syringes were discovered, the service could be withdrawn, she said.

"And if we do find any more, especially in the banks where they have already been found, we may have to stop doing it - but this something we really do not want to do," said Ms Blake.

The Vale of Glamorgan Council has urged people not to use the bottle banks as needle deposits.

"We were very concerned to hear that a needle had been found," said the authority's operational manager Richard Morgan.

"This has serious health and safety implications and we would urge anyone who has clinical waste to dispose of it responsibly."

For further confidential advice on the safe disposal of syringes and needles, please contact the Community Addictions Team on 01446 700943.

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