HAPLESS Scots council workers took 18 hours to remove a used syringe from a residential street where children were playing.
Local Dunfermline residents were warned by Fife council not to touch the dirty needle as it was council policy to remove it within two hours.
But the huge delay, blamed by the council on an office mix-up, meant the discarded syringe was left on Adamson Crescent, near where local children were playing.
After waiting for more than two hours for the council to turn up, one outraged resident ignored safety guidelines to pick it up himself.
Council workers eventually removed the dirty needle, 18 hours after receiving the phone call.
Despite the error there has been no apology from Fife Council for the mix up.
One local resident, Debbie Patterson, found the needle lying in the road and her friend called the council.
She said: “My friend, Nicola, phoned them on my mobile and they said they would be out in two hours to get the needle.
“They didn’t come and I phoned the police but they said it wasn’t something for them to deal with. A man came along the street and picked it up.
“My friend’s kids and my little sister all play out in the street. It’s always busy with kids playing.
“No one ever phoned me back from the council. As far as I know nobody came out.”
Billy Philip lives at nearby Oakley, but his seven-year-old son lives is Adamson Crescent.
He said: “The dirty syringe was reported to the council at 4.55pm on Thursday for them to come out and remove it. They said they would send someone out to deal with this but that it could take up to at least two hours to get someone out to remove it.
“They did not appear so I also phoned the police who stated to me that it is a job the council should deal with.“A member of the public then had to put themselves at risk of catching a life-changing infection by doing the job the council should have done.
“I would like to know of the council would be willing to pay for all the children who play in this area to be tested as there is no way for sure of knowing if any of the children have come into contact with the dirty syringe.
“I would really like a good explanation from the council as to why once this was reported no-one turned up.
“Do you think they would have been as ignorant and disrespectful to the family in the street and surrounding areas if the same problem had occurred on their street? I feel this is careless and insensitive to the families in the area.”
Roddy Mann, Fife Council’s senior manager of environmental operations, said: “We take the use of discarded needles extremely seriously and try to be on site to remove needles within two hours of them being reported.
“We have a process in place to deal with discarded needles out with normal working hours but unfortunately this was not put into place in this instance.
“The call about the discarded syringe came into the office at 5pm, just as the office was closing, and instead of being raised as out-of-hours call it went into the system and was therefore not picked up until the office was reopened at 9am.
“An order was raised and the syringe was collected at 11am the following morning. We are taking steps to make sure that in future any calls made on the change-over-period are not missed.
“It’s an unfortunate fact that people are thoughtlessly disposing of needles in areas where they could be picked up by children. It’s important that parents remind their children about the dangers of touching them and to leave them alone until we can deal with the issue,” he added.