Mum's shock at finding knife and used syringes in wood
- Credit: Kayleigh Heads
A mum horrified at finding dozens of used syringes and a knife when out walking in Stevenage woodland has jointly launched a litter campaign in a bid to clean up the town.
Kayleigh Heads says she picked up more than 30 used syringes, over 100 spoons, more than 10 used condoms, a knife, underwear, broken bottles, cans and bags filled with dog excrement in Whormerley Wood - a Scheduled Monument under English Heritage due to the medieval moat there.
She said: "I’m disgusted such a beautiful place, which many of us used to play in as children, has become such a dangerous place for the kids of today.
"It makes me very sad and I wonder how much of these woods will be left in the next 100 years if we keep allowing people to destroy the special places we have."
Keen walker Nikki has also been litter picking in Stevenage and says the problem of littering is widespread across town, including in Monk's Wood, Sishes Wood, woodland behind Chells Surgery on the northern edge of Fairlands Valley Park, and the wooded area alongside Nobel school.
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She and Kayleigh have launched a litter campaign, creating Facebook group Stevenage Wombles, which attracted almost 80 members within the first few hours.
Nikki explained: "We have made this group as there are quite a few like-minded people upset about all the litter, who have been clearing up bits. We thought it would be nice to be able to meet up in slightly larger groups, or with different people, to litter pick and make these areas look lovely again for us and our wildlife."
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However, Nikki says the litter problem is "so bad it's too much for volunteers" alone and is calling on Stevenage Borough Council to consider CCTV, wardens and more bins. She is also calling on schools to educate pupils about the damage litter can do to wildlife.
Stevenage Borough Council leader, Sharon Taylor, said the drug paraphernalia found is "distressing" and that the council will check and clear litter hotspots brought to its attention at the weekend.
She said community safety officers, neighbourhood wardens, rough sleeper teams and No More Service - support for alcohol and drug misuse - have been made aware of the issue, and photographs have been given to the police.