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West Berkshire Council refuses to collect found ‘drugs waste’

Man told to put syringes discarded on common in his bin

Chris Ord


01635 886639

West Berkshire Council refuses to collect found ‘drugs waste’

A MAN was stunned by West Berkshire Council’s refusal to collect a large pile of used syringes and other apparent drug paraphernalia that he had found on Crookham Common.

Robin Weihs came across the discarded waste in a pile of plastic bags while walking his dog along Brimpton Road.

Fearing that the bags might be found by children, or rummaged through by local wildlife, he decided to collect them up and take them home before contacting the Environmental Health team at West Berkshire Council.

However, Mr Weihs was amazed to be told that because he had taken the bags home the council was refusing to come out and collect the waste.

Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News, he said: “I couldn’t believe it.

“I phoned up Environmental Health who told me they wouldn’t come and dispose of it because I had picked it up.

“Had I left it where kids or animals could get at it then they would have collected it.

“There’s needles and all sorts, I wasn’t going to leave it there.”

Mr Weihs, who is retired, said he was even more shocked when the council told him to dispose of it in the general waste.

“They said just put it in your rubbish bin,” he said.

“Well, you never know where it’s going to end up, plus they could be putting their workers at risk.

“It’s stupid in my opinion.”

After being contacted by the NWN, West Berkshire Council has now agreed to collect the waste from Mr Weihs.

West Berkshire Council spokeswoman Peta Stoddart-Crompton said: “We always recommend that if a resident finds any rubbish in a public place which they suspect is as a result of drug use, they should leave it where it is and notify the council straight away.

“This is a high priority for the council and we will get to the location within two days, or often, much quicker.

“We appreciate what this resident has done to protect fellow residents and wildlife, and on this occasion, will arrange to come and take the waste from their home.

“Putting this type of waste in the household bin is not illegal.

“However, as a responsible employer it is always preferable to minimise the risk to staff from accidents when dealing with waste collections. 

“Therefore, wrapping up or containing this type of waste is recommended as it reduces the risk to all concerned.”

However, after hearing the council’s advice Mr Weihs admitted it wouldn’t stop him moving potentially hazardous waste out of the way of the community in the future.

He said: “I’d do it again.

“I think as long as you’re not going to endanger yourself then it’s the best thing to do.

“That’s my opinion.”

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Article comments

  • sayitasitis

    25/01/2017 - 11:11

    I think this just goes to show what a bunch of idiots we have running our council, not that we needed any more proof!!