Mum's shock as girl on drugs threatens teen on Belfast shopping trip
A mother has told of her shock after being accosted near a Belfast shopping centre by a drug user - who threatened to harm her 14-old-daughter - begging for money.
The mum, who was on a Christmas shopping trip with her daughter on Monday, said she was approached by a young girl who appeared to be high on drugs. The teenager then demanded money.
The mum, from Lisburn, who asked not to be named, said: "We were crossing over at the road just at Primark, going to CastleCourt, when we were approached by the girl who was obviously high on drugs.
"She lurched towards us and stuck her hand in my face, which had some sort of cigarette and a pound coin in it.
"I was really stunned because she came from nowhere.
"I grabbed my daughter and ran across the road, I thought she had gone away. But when we got across the road I felt something push up behind me, and it was her and she said, 'Don't get cheeky with me, I'll have your f****** daughter in two seconds'.
"She was pushing up against me so I told her to leave us alone, we have not done anything. I put my arm around my daughter and the girl disappeared."
The terrified mother said she looked around for a policeman to report the incident, only finding an officer at the Christmas Market at Belfast City Hall two hours later.
The mum said the officer told her there was a problem with drug users around the CastleCourt area and advised her to ring 999 and wait for officers to arrive if something similar happened again.
The 48-year-old, who has three children, contacted the Belfast Telegraph after reading a report in this newspaper yesterday about another mother from Lisburn who found drugs and needles strewn across a toilet floor in CastleCourt.
That woman, who was also with her 14-year-old daughter, found five needles, three syringes and an empty vial lying discarded on the floor on Saturday.
The mum approached by the teen on Monday said: "The policeman told me this is happening a lot in that area, it is really prevalent with drug users. I described the teenager and the officer said she was well known in the area.
"I just want to warn other people that this sort of thing is going on in that area.
"I was petrified, I was really worried for my daughter. The girl could have had a knife or a needle. If my daughter was with a friend something really bad could have happened."
PSNI superintendent Robert Murdie said: "Heroin abuse is a complex societal issue which is affecting many cities across the UK and Ireland.
"Although this is an issue being addressed by police working in tandem with partner agencies in Belfast, it is not on a scale of that being experienced by other cities.
"Needle finds are not specific to shopping centres, but, increasingly, people who use intravenous drugs are using publicly accessible toilets and other public areas.
"If anyone finds what they suspect to be drug paraphernalia, do not touch these items. Contact police on the non-emergency number 101, or to have the items removed from public areas contact Belfast City Council on 028 9027 0469."