Discarded needles found on Northern Ireland beach
Officers set to increase patrols of area
Police have urged the public not to touch discarded needles after a number of them were found on a popular Co Down beach.
The items were found on Portavogie beach last week during the sunny weather.
Police said a member of the public found the items and took them to a place of safety and out of danger for young children.
Chief Inspector Gerry McGrath, speaking on the BBC Stephen Nolan show, said: "Finding needles on a beach in any location causes great concern.
"People dispose of these in a manner that causes danger to others. It is not something that happens often but one that when it does happen causes great concern."
He added: "It is very important anyone that finds needles discarded in such a hazardous and reckless way to approach with caution. They should not touch them, ring the police and the council and together we can resolve it and take the needles to be destroyed.
"I appeal to people, to anyone with information about this, to come to us.
"Together working on their information we can help protect everyone and give support and guidance to these individuals - many of them addicts - they need support and help.
"This is not something that is happening every week, but something we treat very serious when a report is made and work with partner agencies to work together to resolve this."
The inspector said police would be upping their presence in the area of the find.
"There are a number of options as to how the needles got on to the beach," said Chief Inspector McGrath.
"We need to determine if someone views it as a safe area to use drugs, or have they thought to dispose of them in the area or have the needles washed up on the beach.
"We will be patrolling that area, we will be increasing our profile in the area and getting to the bottom of this.
"Someone using drugs needs help and support and where a needle is left recklessly and dangerously post injection that causes concern for all of the community."