An 86-year-old man from Skegness is facing an agonising wait after being pricked by a hypodermic needle hidden in a child’s bean bag while helping a friend clear rubbish from an area next to a public footpath.
The man, who prefers not to be named, said he did not give much thought to it when he felt sharp pains in his thumb. He said: “I’d picked up a child’s bean bag and ended up doing it again and getting three pricks on my thumb.
“My friend bathed it with antiseptic but I didn’t make a big thing of it - I’ve had scrapes all my life while I raced bicycles and through my work as a mechanic before I retired.
“The next day I went away to Nottingham for my sister’s funeral and it was when I came back after my friend had been speaking to her son that the seriousness of the matter was realised.”
On Thursday, he went to a Skegness medical practice where he was given a tetanus injection and began the process of treatment and tests for HIV and Hepatitis. In six weeks’ time he will have a further blood test to see if there are any changes.
He said: “This is all new for me. It’s taking six weeks out of my life - at 86 you don’t know if you have six weeks.”
His friend has been equally horrified by what happened. The woman, who lives in North Parade Extension and whose garden runs alongside the public footpath, said: “Children have been building dens along my perimeter fence all summer using pieces of wood. At night the dens have been used by addicts. We’ve also had people camping down here.”
“The footpath people cut my leylandii trees [which were overhanging] along the path and left the branches on the side, which in all the heat are now tinder dry. I’ve had two major fires here over the years and I was worried another fire hazard was waiting to happen.
“My friend came round to help me clear out the wood and all of the rubbish.
“That’s when it happened. I bathed his thumb and kept an eye on it but when I told my son he hit the roof. We hadn’t realised how serious it could be.”
East Lindsey District Council and the police have been informed about the incident.
A spokesman for the police confirmed the bean bag had been located and they are keeping an eye on the area.
Danny Wilson, East Lindsey District Council’s neighbourhoods manager, said: “We’re very sorry to hear of this incident.
“The council has a rigorous cleansing programme for the land it is responsible for in Skegness and the wider district and this footpath is litter-picked at least weekly by the team.
“We’ll continue to keep a particular eye on this area going forward but sadly there are some irresponsible people in all communities who disregard litter and drug paraphernalia with complete disregard for the impact it has on others. We’d encourage anyone who does see any sharps or needles to report this to us straight away so we can remove the objects safely.”