AN ATTENDANT has been appointed to patrol a public toilet known as a hotbed for drugs and crime.

Brighton and Hove City Council said the move was designed to “act as a deterrent to the drug dealers and vandals” at the lavatory in Madeira Drive.

A council spokeswoman said the toilets were a base for “criminals” who “stop at nothing to carry out their drug dealing and vandalism”.

The council said their behaviour includes “threatening, aggressive and violent behaviour against anyone who enters, or tries to enter, the toilets, including families with children, shopkeepers and the attendants themselves”.

People said the problem was getting out of hand. Paul Milana, 54, goes to the gym close by. He said: “I was walking past once and I saw a topless junkie clinging to a post screaming ‘help me’. Then someone came out of the loo and offered him some of that drug spice, and in 15 minutes he was incapacitated.”

There have been summer attendants in the past, but the new one will patrol throughout the winter for at least five hours a day.

Business owners in Madeira drive welcomed the decision.

They said that previously, the responsibility for dealing with antisocial behaviour had fallen to them.

Jayne Braiden, who runs a neighbouring tarot parlour, said: “In August I had to give a drug user CPR after his heart stopped.

“He’d been in the toilets taking heroin I think. He stumbled out and collapsed. He was lucky to be alive.”

Neil Sykes, manager of the nearby Modern World seafront café, said: “We have to do something like that three or four times a year. This is the first year I haven’t seen a death.

“I’m glad we’re getting someone down to the toilets. But I don’t know how much good it will do. It’s not like the cardboard cut-out stops the thieves at Morrisons.

“When the drug users gang up, what can an attendant do?”

Nearby rough sleeper Nathan Blindt, 21, said: “I’ve seen dealers selling weed, coke, MDMA and pills by the toilets. How will the attendant single out drug users from everyone else?”

A council spokeswoman said: “We’ve decided to have an attendant there at least five hours a day from now and throughout the winter to ensure the toilets are kept clean and tidy during these busy months.

“We hope an attendant being there as much as possible will make sure the toilets are safer and cleaner for everyone to use. However, we would still ask people to report any antisocial behaviour to the police.”