LOCAL authorities and parents have taken swift action to stop youngsters accessing the former Drexel building after two used syringes were found by children playing there.
The situation was brought to light last week after parents in Condor Crescent discovered their children had been inside the building near Victoria Bridge, which has stood empty for a number of years.
Mum Emma Laidlaw, whose 12-year-old son was one of the youngsters, said that when parents investigated the building last Monday they were horrified to find the syringe and needle just inside the ground floor window the children had used to get in. They immediately contacted Angus Council and the emergency services.
And not knowing if their children had come into contact with the needle or not, some parents have taken the step of having their blood tested as a precaution.
She said: “We knew on the Saturday that the kids had been up to something and it was the next morning that we found that some of them had been playing in that building.
“We went down on the Monday morning and found a needle as well as the package it had come out of and it’s dangerous enough in that building without that too. There aren’t even warning signs up. I called the police, the council and the fire brigade as well as the local schools and then on Monday night went around the doors to get the kids together to warn them of the dangers.
“Neither the academy or primary kids knew the dangers of touching needles, other than they’re sharp. We’ve told them that even if they see the packaging lying around to tell their parents because there could easily be a needle nearby.”
Ms Laidlaw also said the parents had found that some of the youngsters had been setting light to potentially explosive aerosol cans at an area of Charleton Road and both discoveries prompted them to organise a well-attended safety event on Friday involving the fire brigade and police.
Angus Council’s environmental health department conducted a search of the ground floor of the premises the day after the parents made their discovery and two needles were found which, said police community officer Tracy Brown, indicated that the building was not being used as a regular drug den.
The building was also examined by fire fighters the same day and Constable Brown tracked down an agent for the building’s owners and the window has been re-sealed.
She said: “Two needles were found and there were some signs of paraphernalia found on the Tuesday afternoon by environmental health who were requested by the police and the fire service are assessing it as a potential fire hazard and an unsafe building.
“It’s clear it’s not a drugs den and it looked like it had been used on one occasion but the needles were right on the point of entry.”
A Tayside Police spokesman emphasised that anyone who finds needles should not try to deal with it themselves but immediately contact Angus Council’s Accessline on 08452 777778 for the items’ collection and safe disposal. Outwith office hours, police can be contacted on 0300 111 2222.