Claims have been made this week that teenagers as young as 14 are brazenly dealing drugs in broad daylight on Keighley’s streets.
Grandmother Sarah Bull spoke out after finding an addict’s syringe in a gutter as she walked her grand-daughter to nursery.
“I’ve been approached on and off by youths as young as 14 during the past year asking if I am wanting to buy drugs,” said Mrs Bull, 43, who lives in the Highfield area. “They are shameless.
“I’ve lived all over, from Scotland to the South, and Keighley is one of the worst places for drugs I’ve seen.
“I’ve mentioned it to police, but I’ve not seen any improvements in three years.
“My view is they need to tackle the dealing that goes on all over the town – the reason there are needles and drugs litter all over the place is because there’s such a massive drugs trade. Highfield area is rife with drugs of all classes.”
She contacted the Keighley News after reports a little girl is being tested for HIV-AIDs after accidentally jabbing herself on a junkie’s discarded needle in the town’s Devonshire Park.
The nine-year-old child was treated against infection at Airedale Hospital, but her parents have a three-month wait to learn whether she has been given the all-clear.
Mrs Bull added: “It shocked me that a young girl has been stabbed with a needle, but it doesn’t surprise me.
“I found a used needle in Enfield Street a couple of weeks ago and I was in two minds whether to leave it. But I picked it up with a plastic bag and disposed of it in an appropriate manner.
“As a care worker, I’m trained in handling such things.”
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said he had also been shocked by news of the girl injured by the syringe, and that progress lay in police and residents teaming up against the drugs menace.
“I was most distressed to learn of the incident and reiterate my absolute support for the police’s efforts to take drugs, and those who peddle them, off the streets of Keighley,” he said.
“But we need the community’s support in doing so. I therefore appeal to residents to please pass any information they have that might be of assistance on to local officers in total confidence.
“We can and must work together to combat the horrors of drug use.”
Sergeant Mark Chapman, of the Keighley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We have been working with partners on ideas to tackle the issue of drug use in the park, and have been concentrating our high-visibility patrols in the area.
“Drugs will not be tolerated in Keighley, and we will take action against those who blight the area through taking or supplying illegal drugs.
“We would also like to encourage anyone who witnesses drugs being used or supplied to report it to their NPT on 101 or anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”