A distraught mother will face an agonising three-month wait for test results after her young son pricked himself on a bloody hypodermic needle found in a Mansfield wood.
The devastated Mansfield woman, who asked not to be named, had been dog walking with her friend and three children in the wooded area next to the cemetery on Nottingham Road on Friday afternoon.
It was not until she got home that she discovered the used syringe.
It is thought her boy had picked it up and put it in his pocket before pricking his finger. There had still been blood in the syringe when the boy first picked it up.
Once his parents realised what had happened, they rushed him to hospital where he has since undergone a series of tests.
The woman says her frightened family now simply have to wait to find out if her son has contracted any kind of infection from the syringe.
“I’m just devastated, we had to take took him straight to the hospital,” she said, close to tears.
“They’ve tested him for hepatitis B and C, but it could be another three-months before he is totally clear. I’m just beside myself.”
“He doesn’t really know what’s happening and he keeps asking if I’m going to cry again.
“I’ve told him time and again about picking things up.
“My one saving grace is that he had a hepatitis injection when we went on holiday a few years ago, but you have to think everything will be okay, otherwise you could crazy.”
She is now warning others about drug addicts who are not only using the woods to take drugs, but are pitching tents.
Discarded needles can potentially carry hepatitis and even HIV, caused by needle sharing between drug addicts. Both can be life threatening.
“A lot of people go in those woods with dogs and kids, they need to know what’s going on,” she said.
“There are people living in tents in there, and I’ve seen a person injecting themselves before.
“I have reported it to the police before that they were there, but nothing has been done.
“I want them moving. There are a lot of entrances into there and there’s kids going in there all of the time.
“I’m not going to let this go.”
The police confirmed that they had received phone calls from the worried Mansfield mother, and say they have liaised with the council about the matter as well as making the police beat team aware of the issue.
Meanwhile, Coun Philip Shields, portfolio holder for the environment at Mansfield District Council, said: “We are as concerned as residents, and are doing everything within our powers to resolve this matter as quickly as possible.
“We have issued the people living there with letters telling them to leave the site, but they have failed to adhere to the request. We will continue to work with partner agencies to resolve the matter.
“We have carried out welfare checks on them and they have been provided with boxes for the safe disposal of sharps. They have also been invited to attend a meeting to obtain advice on homelessness, which they have all declined.”