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'Sharps' is the collective name for needles, syringes and other objects which can cause potential harm to the public through contamination.

You may find a needle or syringe in a number of places, including:

  • houses
  • roads and pavements
  • bus stations
  • car parks
  • gardens
  • pubs
  • shops
  • public parks, grass verges and other open spaces
  • nightclubs
  • public toilets
  • school playgrounds

What to do if you find a needle or syringe

Never touch it!

If you come across a needle or syringe:

  • never touch it or try to hide or conceal it
  • never let your pets touch it
  • never try to dispose of it by kicking it down a drain or putting it in the bin or down the toilet

If you are a child – tell a grown up you can trust, such as your Mum, Dad, Teacher or Police Officer.

Who to contact if you find a needle or syringe

Public ground

If you find a needle in a public space such as a road (other than private road) pavement, verge, park, school and public building or Council house and their gardens please contact Greener Communities.

Opening hours, excluding public holidays:

  • Monday to Thursday - 9am-5pm 
  • Friday - 9am-4pm

Outside of these hours and in emergencies contact our 24 Hour Emergency Helpline. 

Give the person you speak to as much information as possible about the exact location of the object and your contact number in case they need further information then arrangements will be made to have the object uplifted by a trained operative.

Private ground

If you find a sharp/needle on private property you should immediately inform the owner and arrange for it to be collected and disposed of. 

We will dispose of the sharp if it is properly presented to us at our Communities Administration Office, Western Road Depot, Kilmarnock (this service will be free of charge).

What to do if you want to move a syringe yourself

Never touch a needle that is not attached to a syringe

  • Find a suitable container, for example, metal tin, hard plastic tub, empty water or soft drink bottle - preferably with a lid
  • Never use anything that could be easily pierced
  • Wear heavy duty gloves and use tongs, pliers or tweezers to lift the object – not scissors
  • Pick up the needle/syringe at the end of the syringe plunger or barrel
  • Hold the tongs/pliers in one hand and place the container on a flat surface in a horizontal position then place the object sharp end first into the container
  • Turn the container upright and let the object drop inside
  • If the container has a cap, put it on
  • Wash your hands thoroughly
  • Take the sealed container to the Communities Administration Office, Western Road Depot, Kilmarnock, where it will be properly disposed free of charge

What to do if you are injured by a needle

  • Never suck the wound
  • Encourage bleeding for a minute or two by pinching around the wound with your thumb and forefinger to push out any germs
  • If it is practical, run the site of wound under cold water for two minutes
  • If the skin is broken, contact your local Doctor of NHS 24 for assistance and expert advice: 
    • Crosshouse Hospital – Ayrshire Doctors on Call – 01563 545545
    • Ayr Hospital – Ayrshire Doctors on Call – 01563 545556
    • NHS 24 - 01292 513049
  • If possible, note as much as you can about the syringe (if there is one) such as did it have fluid in it and if so what colour it was and if safe to do so retain the syringe for examination by medical staff
  • If possible and safe to do so retain the syringe for examination by medic

There is a low risk of getting a blood-borne infection from a needle injury, for example, HIV or Hepatitis. However, it is important to get immediate medical advice if you are injured by a needle.

If you use needles and injecting equipment always remember to dispose of your used needles and equipment safely, such as in a needle exchange or sharps box which can be obtained through your doctor.

Never throw your needles away, leave them lying around or put them in litter bins, toilets or drains.

Remember, someone always has to pick them up.

Contact Information

Greener Communities
Western Road Depot
Western Road
Telephone: 01563 554061
Cleaner Communities
Western Road Depot
East Ayrshire
Telephone: 01563 554400
24 Hour Emergency Helpline
Telephone(local rate): 0345 724 0000