Shrewsbury public toilets closed after vandals try to steal used needles with a crowbar
Drug users have used crowbars to vandalise needle collection boxes in toilets in Shrewsbury town centre.
This has led Shrewsbury Town Council to close three blocks of men’s toilets for the foreseeable future.
Three men were caught by council workers crowbarring the boxes off the wall in the gents’ toilets in Abbey Foregate a bid to get to the used needles inside.
They intended to take them to Shrewsbury Recovery Partnership, where they would be allowed to exchange them for new needles to take their drugs.
The vandalism has led to three blocks of men’s toilets in the Quarry, Butcher’s Row and Hills Lane being closed to the public while remedial work is carried out.
Shrewsbury Town Council has now employed a locksmith in a bid to make the boxes secure and health and safety compliant. Helen Ball, town clerk said: “There has been a harsher regime implemented by the recovery partnership in relation to needle exchange.
“The number of used needles that we were picking up from the floors, inside toilet roll dispensers and from down in the drains was getting serious. So we decided to secure metal boxes with the sharps box inside which could only be accessed with a key.
“We know there is drug misuse in the town and it is better to have these facilities on offer rather than them just sticking the needles wherever they feel like it. We are trying to be very health and safety conscious.
"These people do not think about the implications of their actions and that they are putting the public at large and the council staff who have to go in to the toilets and clean up after them at risk.”
“Team Shrewsbury, the police, Shrewsbury Recovery Partnership and the Homeless Outreach Street Triage are working to reduce the amount of drug paraphernalia being left in the town.
"They are all playing their part but we have individuals who do not appreciate what they are doing in the public realm.
“Hopefully we will get the toilets open in the near future but this will only be done once we are sure that they are safe for the public to use them.”
The police have been informed and are now studying CCTV to identify the three men.