A SHOCKED family who found used needles and bags of unknown substances in their garden are calling for the council to take action against drug use in their neighbourhood.
Father-of-four Martyn McGivern wants to see Highland Council house known drug users away from young families to stop drug-related incidents from happening.
He believes drugs and needles were flushed down someone’s toilet inside a bag before blocking a drain and bursting into his garden.
The 24-year-old, of Kessock Avenue, is now too scared to let his young children play in the garden in case it happens again.
Raw sewage spilled into his back garden along with used needles and a plastic bag containing more needles and possibly drugs. For the “drugs paraphernalia” to have landed in his garden he believes that the drug users must be living in his neighbourhood.
Mr McGivern said: “If it was just toilet waste that had come out of the drain it wouldn’t be so bad but when it is needles and packages and stuff that could seriously harm your kids – you need to be sure that it can’t happen again.
“I think it must have come from a neighbour and I don’t think the police are doing anything about it. The council didn’t seem bothered and it can’t just be us in this situation. There will be other young families, too, living close to drug users and having to worry about this type of thing.”
Although the needles and the shopping bag were taken away by the local authority and the area cleaned with water, the small manhole cover remains loose and Mr McGivern does not feel happy to let his children play in the garden until it has been thoroughly cleaned and the manhole secured – something he is waiting on the council to fix.
Mr McGivern and his partner Danielle Mclennan (22) have three children under the age of three that live in the house permanently under the age of three and Mr McGivern’s six-year-old daughter from a past relationship also stays with the family on occasion.
He said: “We sleep on a mattress in the living room so that the girls have one room and the boys have the other. When you are overcrowded as it is, it is a nightmare not to be able to let the children play in the garden.”
He added: “My kids have just had birthdays so we bought them stuff to use in the garden including a trampoline. They can’t get out there now and they think they have done something wrong because I won’t let them out.
“I want a guarantee that nothing like this will happen again and that my kids are safe in their own garden. I have been at the council service point every day about it.”
The needles he found were multi-coloured and he worries that would have made his children more likely to try to play with them if he had not checked the garden first.
Mr McGivern wants answers. He said: “If Highland Council knows you have kids in your house why would they put a known drug user nearby? If it is happening here then it will be happening all over. Drug users shouldn’t be placed near young families.”
A council spokeswoman said: “We assess all applications for housing according to our allocations policy.
“With our partners we take proactive and robust action when dealing with antisocial behaviour from housing tenancies.
“To enable incidents of antisocial behaviour to be investigated and appropriate action taken, we encourage all residents to report incidents to Police Scotland using 101 or the confidential Crimestoppers number 0800 555111.
“Incidents involving council tenancies can also be reported to Highland Council on 01349 886606 or to your local housing management officer.”
A police spokeswoman said: “The police will take on board the information and use it to develop intelligence.”
Police urged people who come across needles to contact the council, which will have the equipment required to dispose of them safely. If there are a large amount of needles appearing on a regular basis, then also contact police.