A father claims his young daughter discovered a used syringe underneath a toy at a Big W store in the NSW Hunter region.
Tim McDonald took to Facebook on Tuesday to reveal his outrage over his daughter’s find at the Cessnock store, 50km west of Newcastle.
“[The] first toy she picks up had a junkies (sic) syringe under it,” he claimed.
“Absolutely disgusting that people use needles but to put them underneath children’s toys what a joke.”
His post was inundated with hundreds of comments, with many users in mutual shock over the images.
“This is a disgrace. It’s at a kids (sic) height too,” one person wrote.
“People shouldn’t leave them around that’s totally not safe,” another said.
“That’s absolutely appalling,” one person proclaimed.
Some noted the syringe may have been used for medical purposes instead of for illicit drugs. But many could not excuse its alleged placement.
“Yes this is careless and pathetic. But I need to put it out there that junkies aren't the only ones who use syringes,” one person said.
“My partner is a diabetic and uses them and constantly gets discriminated against.”
A Big W spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia staff members dealt with the discovery of the syringe swiftly.
“We take the safety of the families that shop with us very seriously and are relieved to confirm there were no customer injuries at BIG W Cessnock,” the spokesperson said.
“As part of our usual store operations, our teams refresh our stores frequently throughout the day to ensure stock is well presented.
In the rare event our teams find a safety hazard in the store, they will act quickly and in line with our safety protocols to remove it.
“At BIG W Cessnock yesterday, our store team immediately attended to the customer and ensured the whole store was carefully inspected to prevent any further incidents.”
The matter has since been referred to police for investigation.
Deliberately leaving a used syringe in a public place is a criminal offence in NSW and can incur a fine of up to $3300.
NSW legislation states syringes must be disposed of in the appropriate sharps containers provided after use.
Community sharps bins can be found at hospitals, some public toilets and some pharmacies.
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.