A MAN was photographed injecting drugs at a park where residents say it happens on a daily basis.
A concerned passer-by snapped a picture in Peace Park, off Dorset Gardens, of someone using a needle before 10am in the morning.
He said: “I saw basically what is in the photo – a male drug user injecting a female user.
“There had been a dealer operating openly in the area in the week leading up to the photo and he was arrested a day or so later so.”
“This was the second arrest of a dealer in the area in recent months, helped by information supplied by local residents to the police.”
The police were called when the man took the picture but by the time they had arrived the people had moved on.
Residents in the Brighton street said they were not surprised, as drug use is becoming more commonplace in an ongoing and longstanding problem in the city’s parks.
With needles found frequently in Peace Park, littering the bushes and undergrowth, the council acknowledge ddrug abuse was a “significant issue” for Brighton and Hove.
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Elsewhere in the city there have been reports of needles being found in the playground in Queen’s Park and at the newly regenerated Level, needles have been found in the toilet block.
Last month, a 16-year-old was found at the family park in possession of 40 wraps of suspected crack cocaine believed to be worth £400.
The problem of public drug use and the risks caused by discarded drug paraphernalia is something both Brighton and Hove City Council’s public health team and Sussex Police are aware of – and both bodies have already pledged to try to tackle the issue.
Police said they had stepped up patrols in both Queen’s Park and The Level.
In Dorset Gardens residents said they had a good relationship with the force but worried there was little they could do to stop the users in their park.
Dr Peter Wilkinson, Brighton and Hove City Council’s deputy director of public health, said: “Like many towns and cities drug abuse is a significant issue for Brighton and Hove.
“Locally, over 1,200 people are in treatment for their opiate dependence. The alcohol and drug treatment service we commission has a focus on recovery.
“Supporting people using drugs into effective treatment is an important part of reducing public injecting.
“The council works with the local community, the police, drug and alcohol service providers and other partners to address issues around public injecting and drug-related litter.
“Our community safety team also liaises with businesses and residents to consider changes to the environment to discourage drug use, such as cutting back vegetation and improving lighting.”
During the past year, there has been an increase in the number of people undergoing treatment for drug dependence in the city as the council works to rehabilitate those facing addiction.
In 2012-13, 1,468 people underwent treatment and this rose to 1,522 in 2013-14.
But the number of drugs deaths in the city has been falling – with the city formerly being branded as the “drug death capital of the UK”.
But residents still say the problem exists across the city as the drug community comes into conflict with residents.
Police said they were aware of the drug use problem in Dorset Gardens and in other parks across the city.
Sergeant Chris Durrant, of the Brighton Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Anyone finding such items should not handle them but report their location to police or the city council.
"Some have protective caps on the needles, but tThere is always the risk of pricking fingers or thumbs with the consequent risk of infection.”
Anyone with who has information about drug use in the community should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101. If you see someone dealing drugs, call 999.