Campaigners are urging the town council to listen after insisting an incident in which a three-year-old found a used needle ‘was not isolated’.

Jayne Mace launched a petition for sharps bins to be installed in public toilets in Lyme Regis after her son, Morgan, found a used needle and put it into his mouth in September.

Cheryl Reynolds, a supporter of the campaign, has insisted this was not an isolated incident following a statement made by Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Dorset Council community safety and housing portfolio holder, which was shared on social media.

He said: “I am very sorry to hear about this incident and my sincerest sympathies go out to the family.

“Council officers have met the family and discussed installing boxes for needles in public toilets. However there have been no incidents of them being found in the town’s public toilets this year. Records also suggest that less than 10 people in Lyme might need to use this service and needle exchange services already exist in the town to meet their needs.

"This was a terrible incident, but it also appears to be an isolated one.

"After considering it carefully we do not believe that having boxes for needles in public toilets would have prevented it, although it would give local people and visitors the impression that the town has a widespread drug problem, which it does not.

“After discussing these issues with the family, they asked us to instead repeat advice about what to do if you find a needle, which we have posted in our Newsroom."

She spoke at last week’s Lyme Regis Town Council town management and highways committee meeting, calling on councillors to listen.

She said: “Your workmen have often picked up needles so how can they say this is an isolated incident.

“Dorset Council say we are a safe town, and this was an isolated incident - it was not.

“Use some common sense, we need to do something, and you all need to listen.”

She also said that she had never heard of the needle exchange programme at Bethany Chapel on a Monday and had checked with medical centres if they had, which they hadn’t. She also felt a church was not ‘conducive to a user’ and it would be better to hold it on Fridays on Saturdays.

Cllr Daryl Turner, Dorset councillor for Lyme Regis, said that Dorset Council was ‘not aware of any evidence that Lyme Regis is a hot spot but will continue monitoring’.

Cllr John Broom said: “It has been a problem in Lyme Regis, and I know our workmen have picked up needles in Langmoor and Lister Gardens.”

Matt Adamson-Drage, operations manager at the town council, said that in the last 12 months, three needles had been found by council staff, one on the beach, one at Lepers Well and one at the cemetery.

Cllr Michaela Ellis and Cllr Jeff Scowen also said they had never heard of the needle exchange programme before and suggested offering one of the council’s rooms at St Michael’s Business Centre for the exchange.

It was agreed to find out more about the service at Bethany Chapel and work with the providers, Public Health Dorset on a way forward.

What to do if you find a needle from Dorset Council

Hazardous waste such as discarded needles can occasionally be found across the country. 

Although it’s a national issue, we would like to remind people that if you ever see one, do not touch, unless it poses an immediate danger.

If you see a syringe or needle is on public land please report it immediately so a clean-up can be arranged as soon as possible.

You can either report online at: dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/syringes

Or call Dorset Waste Partnership on 01305 221040.