A MOTHER has described the horror of discovering that the ‘toy’ in her child’s mouth was a discarded syringe.

Jenny Gilhespy, of Roper Road, Maryport, said her daughters, Izzy, six, and Summer, three, were playing outside the front door of their home at the time.

“I called them in for tea and noticed Izzy had something in her mouth," she recalled.

“When I discovered it was a syringe I was horrified and terrified. Luckily there was no needle attached but I was so scared she could have caught something.”

Not knowing what else to do, she rang the police who arrived with paramedics and an ambulance.

“They checked the girls out and recommended that we take them through to A&E to have them assessed further."

Jenny said everyone had been great with the girls and reassuring to the parents.

But she said this did not relieve the fear or the anger that people would just drop syringes in the street.

“We live in a cul-de-sac," she said. "This is not a through-road to anywhere, so it would seem that someone was doing drugs here in the street.

“It is a quiet street and, while we know there is some drug activity in another location nearby, we have never had any trouble here.”

Jenny said her daughters’ behaviour had been nothing but innocent: “A popular brand of children’s medicine includes a syringe for accurate doses.

“I think the girls just thought that is what it was.”

She said both were upset by the drama but were fine, while she and partner Ross Tinkler remained shaken by the event.

“I think it will be a while before I let them play outside again,” Jenny added.

Allerdale council has warned against people picking up syringes off the street.

A council spokesman said: “We encourage anyone who sees a discarded syringe to report it to us as soon as possible so action to remove it can be taken, and we ask that people do not try to pick these items up themselves.

“It’s easy to report this to us through the myAllerdale mobile app (downloadable through the Apple or Google app stores) or through our website at https://www.allerdale.gov.uk/en/report/report-syringe.

"Those without internet access can call 0303 123 1702.”