Sunderland family’s horror after children found used needle in yard

Steve and Angela Cassidy with children Connor, Summer and Jasmyn, and the syringe found in their back yard by the two girls.
Steve and Angela Cassidy with children Connor, Summer and Jasmyn, and the syringe found in their back yard by the two girls.
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A dad has spoken of his horror when his young daughters picked up a needle they found dumped in their backyard.

Father-of-three Steven Cassidy, was left ‘shocked and angry’ at the weekend after his seven-year-old daughter Summer picked up a used needle in their yard.

The family believe the police should have safely disposed of the syringe.

The family believe the police should have safely disposed of the syringe.

The full-time carer, of St Leonard Street, Hendon, said the family had just returned home from a holiday in the Lake District when Summer, along with her sibling Jasmyn, four, who were playing in the yard, brought the needle into the house on Sunday.

Mr Cassidy, 30, who is married to Angela, said: “I was shocked.

“My daughter Summer picked up the needle – she hasn’t hurt herself but the top of it was off.

“We have never done anything like that in our lives and we weren’t sure what to do.

We have never done anything like that in our lives and we weren’t sure what to do.

Steven Cassidy

“So I phoned the 101 number to see what they can do to help but they said there was nothing they could do and said to phone the council.

“But it was a Sunday and they were closed and I didn’t have anywhere safe to put it.

“They’ve seen Calpol and paracetamol, which comes with syringes that come with the bottle, and they thought it was one of them.

“We made sure they hadn’t touched or been pricked by it and she’s OK, which is the most important thing.

Summer and Jasmyn with the syringe which they found in their backyard.

Summer and Jasmyn with the syringe which they found in their backyard.

“If she’d been hurt, we would taken her straight to casualty.

“They’re both OK, thankfully.

“Angela really panicked.”

Mr Cassidy said when he explained this to the police, they just told him to put it in the bin.

“My bins go out on a Tuesday and I didn’t want to put it in there as anyone could go in the bin, or it could have fallen out when the bin men come,” he said.

“I’m pretty sure that if a police officer found a dirty needle on the street they must have some kind of sharp box somewhere to put it.

“I was pretty disgusted.”

The family believe someone used the needle in the back lane while they were away and threw it into their garden, where it was picked up by the children.

Mr Cassidy, who cares for Angela, 31, added: “I think the police should have come out and put it in a sharp box.

“It is totally irresponsible. You’d think they would have some kind of protocol.

“I am quite angry.”

Mr Cassidy has since wrapped the knife in kitchen roll and stored it in a shoebox out of harm’s way while he worked out the best way to dispose of it.

Yesterday, he visited his nearby GP surgery, which then disposed of the needle.

Mr Cassidy said the area the family live in is a safe one where many children, including his son, Connor, 11, play out in the streets, highlighting the importance of disposing of needles safely.

A police spokeswoman said it was the responsibility of the council to carry out the disposal.

No one was available from the council for comment, but its website details how it can offer advice if needles are found.