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Needles and hedges make path no-go area
PENSIONERS have been left unable to get out of their back gardens by a shockingly overgrown pathway which has become a magnet for drug addicts.
One couple, in their 80s, say the footpath at the back of ten homes in Malgraves in Pitsea has been an overgrown eyesore for the entire 35 years they have lived there.
Hedges and thorny shrubs have become so overgrown at the back of the properties, residents are entirely unable to leave their homes via their back gardens, which should act as their emergency exit in the event of a fire.
Over the years the eyesore has become a magnet for flytippers dumping rubbish, nappies and other litter.
But in recent months drug addicts have also taken to chucking their paraphernalia, including syringes, there.
When the Echo visited the footpath with Pitsea councillor Gavin Callaghan, we photographed a syringe which still had the needle in place.
Mr Callaghan, who is demanding Basildon Council take action, said: “This footpath poses a massive health and safety issue as none of the residents - some of which are elderly - would be able to get out through the back of their gardens if there was a fire.
“It is also really concerning that drug paraphernalia has started to be dumped there.
“Many elderly people walk outside of their homes in slippers and it doesn’t bear thinking about what could happen with hypodermic needles lying around.”
One resident, a 82-year-old woman who did not want to be named, said she and her 86-year-old husband struggle to get their heavy mobility scooters down the step outside the front door of their home.
She said the problem would be removed if the footpath was cleaned up and they could use their back gate to get the buggies in and out of the garden.
The woman said: “We have complained to Basildon Council several times over the years and nothing has been done.
“Even when we took them photographs and reported it, they wouldn’t recognise that we reported the problem.
“Because we can’t get out the back we never try to go out there, but I was shocked to hear there were needles down there.
“I would hate to think any young children might go around there as they could get hurt.”
A spokesman for Basildon Council said the authority had no record of complaints about the footpath.
He urged residents to contact the council’s Streetcare Team on 01268 294949.