Drug paraphernalia stops Reading park work

Image caption, Both used and new needles were found at Beresford Road recreation ground.

Work to upgrade a recreation ground in Reading has been stopped for safety reasons after council staff uncovered needles and other drug paraphernalia.

Reading Borough Council has now ordered mechanical clearance of the site in Beresford Road.

Local councillor Chris Maskell said the area had become a hotspot for drug use and prostitution since police patrols stopped.

The BBC has contacted Thames Valley Police for a response.

The council is planning to spend £89,000 on improving the grounds, including replacing children's play equipment and an all-weather pitch and installing a new fence and signage.

But the work was halted after both used and new needles were found on the site, along with other drug paraphernalia.

'A shock'

Ward councillor Mr Maskell said he had reported anti-social behaviour to police in the past, but felt that the problems were being ignored.

He said that pressure on police resources meant that fewer patrols were taking place in the area and the community office in Oxford Road is rarely manned.

He said: "I had no idea it was going on to that extent, so it was quite a shock."

But Mr Maskell added that the discovery meant all of the shrubs in the area were now going to be removed.

He said: "It is going to be turned over to grassy banks, so there will be no place for prostitutes and drug dealers to hide."

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