Canterbury has a problem with litter. We know that. We see it with our eyes every time we venture out.
The city also has a problem with intravenous drug users. Sometimes their waste becomes the litter we find on our streets.
And so it is with the used needle and sharps box inside the phone box next to the old Man of Kent pub on the Wincheap roundabout.
- City universities mired in grade inflation row as number of firsts doubles
- Ton of rubbish cleared daily from major route during clean-up blitz
Used needles are just about the most dangerous and disgusting items of rubbish you can possibly come across.
This phone booth – which like many around Canterbury – is in a dilapidated condition.
Thus it appears now to be a very public place for drug users to inject themselves with heroin.
I’ve taken part in countless community litter picks around Canterbury.
They are all preceded with safety advice to ensure that litter pickers are aware of the dangers hidden in the rubbish we might come across.
These litter picks are becoming increasingly popular as communities come together to tackle the rubbish they find in their neighbourhoods.
Thank God, therefore, that I’ve not heard from anyone who has been injured by accidentally pricking themselves on a used needle.
There are, however, things you can do if you come across dangerous rubbish.
Canterbury City Council urges people to call its cleaning contractor Serco on 0800 031 9091 during the day time on weekdays to report needles.
There is also an out of hours number 01227 781879 for evenings and weekends.
The authority says needles are treated as a priority and it aims to get them collected within a couple of hours.
That’s reassuring, up to a point. But it would be better if these things weren’t left lying around in public in the first place.