Tyne & Wear

Newcastle trader 'threatened with hypodermic needle'

Needles left outside trader Terry Milligan's storage unit in Lisle Street
Image caption Trader Terry Milligan said drugs detritus was being left outside his warehouse every day

A street trader who claims he was threatened with a hypodermic needle has called for a crackdown on begging and drugs in Newcastle.

Terry Milligan said homeless people are leaving needles and excrement outside the door of his warehouse on Lisle Street.

"The council has totally lost control and there are no police on the streets, so we have no chance," he said.

Newcastle City Council said it prioritised clearing up drug litter.

Northumbria Police said the suspects had left by the time officers arrived at the scene on 2 September.

'Serious problem'

Mr Milligan, 70, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service on Friday it was "frightening when someone comes at you with a big needle and they are threatening to stick it in you".

"This problem has only come about in the last couple of years but in the last 12 months the drug problem has gone berserk. But everybody just passes the buck."

Ch Insp Steve Wykes said the force would "respond robustly" to reports of violence.

"It is important to recognise that people who beg in the city centre are often very vulnerable and we need a partnership approach to support them and get them off the streets," he said.

"Nobody chooses to be a beggar and many of the individuals we come across have been driven there by addiction and are caught in a cycle they can't escape [from]."

A council spokesman said "begging and drugs have become a serious problem" and that it was working with police and other bodies to help those sleeping rough.

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