The grandmother of one of four young children who had to be taken to hospital for treatment after coming into contact with injecting needles has spoken out to warn other families.
One of the four boys was pierced in the incident.
William Abraham from east Belfast had to have an injection to try and inoculate him against possible hepatitis after he was stuck with the needle near a children’s play park on Friday evening.
According to his grandmother, Deborah Lynas, the 11-year-old was climbing a tree with his three pals, all around the same age, when he was pierced by the needle.
The boys raised the alarm and were all taken to hospital as a preventative measure.
Police later found more needles in the area.
The fear was the needles could have been used for medical purposes and not disposed of correctly, or by drug addicts.
Mrs Lynas said she and her daughter were horrified when they heard what happened and are still worried that William could develop an infection.
“William and his three wee friends were climbing the tree near the Holywood Arches when William reached out for a branch and got stuck with the needle in his arm.
“He was rushed to the hospital where he had to have an injection in his leg,” she said.
“He slept for eight hours and was a funny colour with a high temperature, but thank God he seems to be alright now. The worry for us is that he now has to be checked every three months to make sure he doesn’t have hepatitis.”
She said she was disgusted that young boys could not play in safety.
“I’m warning all parents and families to be on their guard. Somebody has to make a stand as children should be able to play as children without being stuck with needles,” she said.
“What’s it coming to when young boys can’t climb a tree — that’s no childhood at all.”
One of William’s uncles, Jackie McNally, said he was at work when he got the news and was just stunned.
“It’s not good, but it could have been much worse. It’s hard to know how you protect against something like this but the needles just shouldn’t be there.”
DUP MLA Robin Newton said the incident was deplorable.
“Whoever it was that took medical needles into this popular play area knew exactly what they were doing.
“They cared nothing for the youngsters who use the park and the potential dangers to them. The entire community can play a part in helping keep children safe by working with the police on this case. The police deserve the support of the public as they investigate the incident.
“I know that the many responsible people who live in the area want to see a better future for their children and grandchildren. I appeal to them to provide any information they may have to the PSNI.”