by Pat Ashworth
A CHURCH in Northampton has had to resort to having its own sharps box in the building, for the safe disposal of discarded needles used by drug addicts in the churchyard.
Christ Church, just outside the town centre, is currently in an interregnum. The two churchwardens, Wendy Longland and Colin Best, took the decision to install the box after needles were found in an area frequented by children and toddlers. The problem has been afflicting the church for the past 18 months, as addicts habitually return after being moved on by community police.
“They just throw needles and syringes anywhere, by the side of the hall and the side of the church,” said Ms Longland, a staff nurse, on Tuesday. “So we go round every day to pick them up and make sure there are none lying around. The children run through as soon as they get to the gate — they’ve only got to trip up, and if there’s a needle lying there . . .”
Rough sleepers have also used the porch and churchyard, but three of the regulars have now opted for a night shelter. The borough council has sluiced down the porch and external areas after their use as a place to inject or to sleep, and as a lavatory. “This is private property, but now it’s all been brought to light, the council have been very good,” Ms Longland said.
Community wardens have provided the church with safety gloves and a device for picking up the needles, and a second sharps box has been provided free. The largely elderly congregation was relieved that the matter was now all in hand, said the churchwardens.