THE mother of a three-year-old girl has spoken of how “shaken up and angry” she was to find a used heroin needle in a public toilet next to a children’s play area.

Abigail Cater, from Brighton, was with her daughter Indie-Rae at the children’s park in The Level in Brighton on May 10, when she visited the public toilet.

She uncovered one of hundreds of needles left in public spaces around Brighton and Hove every year – in 2016 there were more than 400 syringes picked up by council teams.

The sheer scale of the problem has been described as “really worrying” and has led to renewed calls for spaces to be given over for supervised injection for the safety of addicts and the general public.

Indie-Rae was using one of the cubicles when it dropped on to the toilet seat while she was sitting on it.

Ms Cater said: “My daughter needed the toilet and we were unable to use the café toilets due to not purchasing anything.

“After looking through the council toilets attached to the park to only find absolute carnage, a floor full of urine and blood splattered toilets, we finally found a half useable one.

“As I wiped the seat with sanitiser – as it was very clear you could catch anything from these toilets in the condition they were in – my daughter went to get on to the toilet and a syringe needle fell on to the back of the seat.

“Something really needs to be done about this problem because my daughter could have easily been injured or been infected by the needle.

“Other reports have been made by local users of the park that a needle has even been found in the sandpit there, which is just awful.”

The 23-year-old trained teaching assistant lodged her complaint with the council on May 11 but as The Argus went to print, she had still not received a response.

A council spokeswoman said: “There are medical waste bins in the toilets on The Level, and our latest statistics show that 97 per cent of needle waste in the toilets is being put in the medical waste bins.

“We are committed to dealing with needles within one hour of us being notified.

“We are continuing to work with the police and the café proprietors to keep The Level safe for everyone to enjoy.

“We also share drug litter reports with drugs and alcohol outreach services in the city so that staff in those services can remind their clients about the importance of discarding needles safely.”

A spokesman for Wetton Cleaning Services, which cleans toilets on behalf of the council, said: “There are strict rules and guidelines in place.

“We visit the toilets every day and try to maintain them to a high standard.

“Sometimes we can only service the toilet as good as the cleaner does it.”

Also read: Revealed: Brighton and Hove's 1,200 drug litter hotspots