A nine-year-old girl is undergoing tests for diseases, including HIV-AIDS, after accidentally stabbing herself on a heroin addict’s discarded syringe as she played hide-and-seek in a Keighley park.
She shrieked in pain as she hid in dense bushes beside the playground at Devonshire Park having been jabbed in the arm by a dirty needle – one of many littering the undergrowth.
Her horrified parents took her to Airedale Hospital where she was kept in overnight as doctors gave her emergency injections to counteract blood diseases including hepatitis B and C.
Tests on the syringe showed it had been freshly used and contained traces of heroin.
Now the worried family must endure a three-month wait to find if the poor child has been infected with any diseases – including HIV-AIDS.
Anti-crime campaign group Stop The Thieves In Keighley was alerted to the incident, which happened on Saturday.
Its spokesman said: “The family were at the playground in the afternoon and the girl was running in and out of shrubs playing hide and seek when there was a terrible shriek.
“A junkie’s needle had gone in her arm. It’s awful, now the parents have to wait and pray she will be all right.
“Devonshire Park has recently become a problem area with drug users cooking up and using in the bushes.
“Our group has taken lots of pictures of the dangerous debris and I called Bradford Council which sent out an emergency cleansing team to try to clear up the needles.”
West Yorkshire Police confirmed it was investigating the incident and Bradford Council said specialist cleaners had been sent to the park in the Highfield area. Councillor Abid Hussain, who is defending his Keighley Central seat for Labour in the elections for Bradford Council later this month, condemned addicts who use the park.
“I am working with Keighley Town Council and all other agencies to create a new Friends of Devonshire Park to try to find a long-term solution to this sort of thing,” he said.
“Of course we try to protect our children and if we get people working together to protect the park it will help prevent problems like this.
“The community needs to reclaim such spaces and hopefully a Friends of Devonshire Park will be launched within the next two weeks.”
The ward’s Conservative candidate Akbar Ali said he was aware of drug litter problems in the Highfield area which were concerning residents.
“There are drug hotspots in Keighley and in fact I am having a meeting with local police on Friday to discuss this very issue,” Mr Ali said.
Liberal Democrat candidate Pauline Rogan was not available for comment but fellow Keighley hopeful Judith Brooksbank said: “Drug-taking and leaving paraphenalia everywhere is obviously wrong and illegal. Every sympathy must go to this little girl.”
UKIP Keighley Central candidate George Firth said Keighley streets needed more law enforcement. Rohman Ali, the Green Party’s candidate in the ward, was unavailable for comment.