Salford playground 'drug den' concerns raised by toddler's mother

Toddler and drug den park Image copyright Manchester Evening News
Image caption The toddler was briefly placed on the slide so his mum could discreetly take a picture of the men

A mother who took her toddler to their local playground was horrified to discover four men in a stupor surrounded by drug paraphernalia.

Mandy Dickson said she placed her 20-month-old son Devon on a slide at Green Grosvenor Park in Salford so she could discreetly photograph the men.

She said the play area was littered with cannabis joints and a drug pipe.

Salford Council said it had begun an investigation and was working with Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

The incident in Lower Broughton on Thursday at about 11:00 BST was first reported by the Manchester Evening News.

Ms Dickson told the BBC: "My son wanted to use the slide and I noticed the people on the ground, who I thought were homeless."

She said Devon then kicked over what she thought was a water bottle belonging to one of the men.

The 35-year-old said she then realised the bottle had been "turned into a drug pipe".

Image copyright Manchester Evening News
Image caption The modified water bottle and other drug paraphernalia found in the playground

Ms Dickson said she had received criticism on social media for "letting my son play near drug addicts" but explained she had placed her son on the slide only "for a few seconds" in order to get some photographic evidence to warn other parents living nearby.

"I would absolutely not be able to live with myself if I'd done nothing and another kid had been harmed or died because of what they left behind," she said.

Insp Darren Whitehead of GMP said: "The Broughton Neighbourhood policing team regularly patrol this area and we have not had any previous reports of this nature.

"We will continue to conduct high visibility patrols and identify any individuals causing anti-social behaviour."

Salford City Councillor David Lancaster said the images were "very concerning".

"It would appear from the pictures I have seen that drugs are involved," he said. "For these young men to be seemingly unconscious in the middle of a family park - in the middle of the day - completely undermines the safe environment we need in which to let our children play."

Image copyright Manchester Evening News
Image caption Ms Dickson said the men were lying on the ground by a slide and were unresponsive
Image copyright Manchester Evening News
Image caption Mandy Dickson with her son Devon at the park where the men were found in an apparent drug-induced stupor

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