'How could this happen?' Questions about tent filled with used needles and bottles of urine in Norwich city centre
PUBLISHED: 08:38 20 May 2018 | UPDATED: 13:49 20 May 2018
Concerns have been raised over the number of rough sleepers living in miserable conditions in Norwich after a tent full of used syringes was discovered in the city centre.
Council workers spent more than an hour shovelling the grisly detritus, which also included bottles of urine, alcoholic pre-injection swabs and packets of condoms, into biohazard-safe yellow buckets.
The incident shocked community leaders and members of the public, with many left wondering how the rough sleepers who reportedly used it as their home for around two months lived in such conditions.
Norwich South MP Clive Lewis was chief among those wanting answers.
He said: “How in one of the richest countries in the world do we end up with people addicted to drugs living miserable lives in tents on the streets of our city?”
Workers from Norwich Norse on behalf of Norwich City Council were called in to clear the tent in the doorway of the disused Fix Coffee premises on Brigg Street at around 4pm on Thursday.
Shopper June Blythe, 71, believed that she had seen the tent there for around two months.
“I had seen movement in the tent but unless you see what is going on inside for yourself you have no idea what is happening in that tent,” she said. The black boxes that the syringes came in, which are intended to be disposed of once they are used to prevent contamination by reuse, were also left scattered across the tent.
Martin Schmeirer, Green Party councillor for Mancroft ward, which covers the city centre, said: “I think this incident really shows that there are two issues at stake. Firstly, there is a massive number of homeless people in Norwich. The other thing to note is that there has been an increase in the number of drug related case work.”
Norwich City Council called in Norse having received complaints from members of the public.
Clarks, which owns the freehold of the disused premises, confirmed in a statement that it was aware of the issue and was working with the local authorities to restrict access to the property by boarding up the doorway.
Staff from Pret A Manger, which is located a few doors down from where the tent was pitched up, provided free hot drinks for the council workers as they cleared the tent and its remains.