By Cara Sulieman
A SYRINGE full of blood found on a school bus caused panic – until cops realised it was a novelty pen.
Pupils at Denend Primary School in Cardenden, Fife, found the pen on the bus and alerted the driver.
When parents and staff heard “through the grapevine” that a syringe had been found on the school bus they were outraged.
It was only once the police arrived that they were able to establish that it was, in fact, just a pen.
Police are now worried about the ease with which people can get hold of the pens.
They are available to buy on a number of websites, including one that sells nurse supplies like stethoscopes and first aid kits.
Although Fife Council is unable to ban the offensive pens from schools, they are proud of the way their students reacted.
James McKinstry, Senior Manager, Education Service said: “The pupils acted very responsibly on the bus and reported the incident to the driver immediately. All our pupils are given information on what to do if they find anything that might harm them, such as a syringe.
“We have no idea who brought the pen on to the bus as in addition to it being used for school transport it is also used on public routes.”
Police are asking parents to refrain from buying the pens for their children as it has the potential to lead to dangerous mistakes in the future.
Detective Constable Kenneth Cameron of Fife Constabulary’s Community Safety and Crime Reduction Department explained that if the pens become common, children may not be able to distinguish between them and real needles.
He said: “At a time when children and young people are being encouraged to report the finding of needles to the police and environmental services to ensure that they do not fall victim to a needle stick injury, it seems incredible that such a novelty pen should be freely available to buy.
“My genuine concern is that a child picks up a ‘real’ syringe and suffers injury owing to the confusion brought about through the availability of this toy.”
This isn’t the first time the novelty syringe pens have caused a commotion. Just last month a row over the pens started when a shop in Stockport was found to be selling them. The shop has since removed the pens from its stock.
In 2004, Birmingham Heartlands and Solihull NHS Trust gave out the pens to staff as part of a goody bag. At the time UNISON described the pens as “disgraceful and offensive”.