A MAN found used syringes dumped in his front garden...and was told he had to pay to have them removed.

Marek Runc found the needles when his wife was tidying the garden in Valkyrie Road, Westcliff.

He immediately, and carefully, moved the needles out of harm’s way and called Southend Council.

Mr Runc, 54, said he was astonished when he was told someone from Southend Council’s waste contractor, Cory, would come to give him a quote for the cost of removal.

He said: “We get a lot of stuff dumped in the front garden, but lately we have had bags of hyperdermic syringes.Imoved them to the back garden, so no one would find them.

“The council said they had been dumped on private property, soIwould have to pay to get rid of the stuff.”

Mr Runc said he thought the fact people would have to pay would put them off disposing of syringes properly and people could be tempted just to chuck them in a public bin. He added: “I wouldn’t throw them in the bin. butIthink a lot of people would. I spoke to gardeners who tend the hedges across the road and they said they find thousands.

“The council is encouraging people to dump rubbish.”

A council spokesman said: “We understand the distress this discovery must have caused. But the council is not responsible for clearing waste from residents’ gardens and we did provide advice directly in terms of disposing of the needles through our contractor, Cory.

“Alternatively, needles can be placed in a sealed box and taken to a GP surgery or some chemists who will dispose of them safely.”