A little Keighley girl is being tested for HIV-AIDs after accidentally stabbing herself on a heroin addict’s discarded syringe as she innocently played hide-and-seek in the town’s Devonshire Park.
The nine-year-old child suddenly screamed in agony as she hid in dense bushes beside the playground, emerging having been jabbed in the arm by a dirty needle – one of many littering the undergrowth.
Her horrified parents rushed her to Airedale Hospital after the nightmare incident on Saturday afternoon.
She was kept in overnight as doctors gave her emergency injections to counteract blood diseases, including Hepatitis B and C. Tests on the syringe showed it had been freshly used and contained traces of heroin.
Now the worried family must endure a three-month wait to discover whether the poor child has been infected with any diseases, including HIV-AIDS.
Anti-crime campaign group Stop The Thieves In Keighley was alerted to the incident.
A spokesman said: “The family were at the playground in the afternoon and the girl was running in and out of shrubs playing hide and seek when there was a terrible shriek.
“A junkie’s needle had gone in her arm. It’s awful – now the parents have to wait and pray she will be all right.
“Devonshire Park has recently become a problem area with drug users cooking up and using in the bushes.
“Our group has taken lots of pictures of the dangerous debris, and I called Bradford Council, which sent out an emergency cleansing team to try clear up the needles.”
West Yorkshire Police confirmed an incident involving a girl being stabbed with a discarded syringe had taken place at Devonshire Park and was being investigated.
And Bradford Council said specialist cleaners had been sent to the park in the Highfield area.
Keighley councillor Abid Hussain slammed the shameful behaviour that led to the little girl’s awful plight.
He said: “This is a terrible thing and I condemn those responsible.
“I am working with Keighley Town Council and all other agencies to create a new Friends of Devonshire Park to try and find a long-term solution to this sort of thing.
“Of course, we try to protect our children, and if we get people working together to protect the park, it will help prevent problems like this.
“The community needs to reclaim such spaces and, hopefully, we may launch a Friends of Devonshire Park within the next two weeks.”
Airedale Hospital Trust, where the girl is being treated, issued guidelines for those injured by discarded syringes.
Meg Crossley, clinical director for acute and emergency medicine at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The best advice for parents of children who suffer any injury from hypodermic needles is to wash the wound and then bring them to A&E.
“It is also useful if they can bring the needle with them safely so we can dispose of it correctly.
“The medical team would then check the child is up-to-date with their tetanus vaccination and consider whether they would need to start immunisation for Hepatitis.”