Horror at used needle waste discovery in baby changing facilities

By Liam Davies   |   Reporter   |
Thursday 28th April 2022 8:00 am
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Tavistock bus station
Tavistock bus station (Tindle )

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Tavistock residents have expressed their shock and upset after a  hypodermic needle and drug remnants were found in the baby changing facilities at the town’s bus stations toilets last week.

Courtney Hardman, a local resident who frequently uses bus services from the station, made the discovery when she needed to use the baby changing facilities to change her one-year-old son. She found a used, discarded hypodermic needle containing drug remnants on the floor as well as tobacco products, toilet paper and other rubbish strewn all over the baby changing unit. Horrified at this discovery, she took to social media to warn others to take care when using the toilets at the station.

Courtney said: ‘A discovery like this is really disappointing. Tavistock is such a lovely town and I moved back here to have my family as it’s where I grew up. To see something like this when I needed to change my baby is seriously worrying. I made many people aware as I know there are youngsters in the area who could have used the toilets and found this too or even picked it up.’

A fellow member of the community, Chris Edmondson, immediately reported this to West Devon Borough Council, who own the bus station buildings.

Cllr Neil Jory, leader of West Devon Borough Council, said: ‘These public toilets are checked twice daily by our contractor and during the interim period, our mobile locality officers also inspect daily, so all in all there are at least three checks during each day. Once our contractor became aware of this incident, they immediately tasked a crew to conduct a sweep of the site to remove the one needle discovered safely and carry out a search through the entire bus station to ensure no other needles were found.

‘Our contractor had located the needle before any reports were made to us by the public, but we are very grateful to the person who reported this hazard. Such reports can help us stay on top of issues like this. We will make visits over coming days to check the location and will also take advice from the police and other agencies about how a recurrence can be avoided. Thankfully, occurrences such as this are not all that common.’

Reactive comments to this incident took the form of complaints from members of the public on social media, many of which echoed Courtney’s words of how these facilities were accessible to all, including younger people. People also said they avoided using the toilets due to their continued poor state. The council responded  by saying that details had been passed on to the relevant team for action.

Tavistock PCSO Kev Williams said: ‘This has not been reported to the police and I would say that other than patrols in the area there is nothing more we can do. I have been at Tavistock station for 17 years and used needles being found anywhere in the town is a very unusual and very sporadic occurrence. Many toilet facilities in larger towns include boxes for needle exchange or lighting which makes it difficult to find a vein.’


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