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Mum takes idyllic nature photo of toddler feeding squirrels in Hackney churchyard – but can you spot the syringe?

PUBLISHED: 15:32 01 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:31 01 December 2017

This squirrel is enjoying his nut oblivious to the syringe lying next to him. Picture: Christine Butler

This squirrel is enjoying his nut oblivious to the syringe lying next to him. Picture: Christine Butler

Christine Butler

A mother who took her toddler to feed the “wonderful squirrels” in a Hackney churchyard was horrified when she flicked through her photos of the day and spotted a syringe inches away from the idyllic tableau.

Little Johnny playing in the leaves, which his mum is now worried might contain nasty surprises. Picture: Christine ButlerLittle Johnny playing in the leaves, which his mum is now worried might contain nasty surprises. Picture: Christine Butler

Christine Jones now wants Hackney Council to put up warning signs in St John at Hackney in Lower Clapton Road urging other parents to be careful there – especially at this time of year, when fallen leaves might conceal nasty surprises. 
Christine takes two-year-old Johnny to the churchyard every day after dropping off her three other children at St John and St James primary school next door.

He loves to “walk along the wall and feed the many wonderful squirrels that inhabit the church grounds,” Christine told the Gazette.

But she has decided to ban him from playing there ever again after noticing the hypodermic needle in her photo pointing towards one of the squirrels – which was munching on a monkey nut, oblivious to the danger.

One of the One of the "wonderful" squirrels in the church yard, next to the monkey nuts Johnny was feeding them. Picture: Christine Butler

She said: “I was horrified when I saw the syringe, especially remembering the times where Johnny had been running through the leaves. If there had been a syringe it could easily have stuck into him.

“There aren’t that many places in the city where true nature can be admired and the saddest thing is that Johnny is too young to understand why he will no longer be allowed out when we come past.”

She added: “This area is regularly visited by very young children who enjoy walking on the walls and running through the leaves – a syringe could stick in them at any time and possibly even go unnoticed by a parent.”

"I was horrified when I saw the syringe, especially remembering the times where Johnny had been running through the leaves. If there had been a syringe it could easily have stuck into him."

Christine Butler

She berated the “selfish careless people who are endangering our kids by leaving needles and god knows what else lying around”.

“People say: ‘Well, it’s Hackney, what do you expect?’” she said. “But I don’t think it should be accepted. More needs to be done to keep the public and children safe.

“What a terrible thing to be happening in a children’s area of play, and an area where nature could be enjoyed.

One of the One of the "wonderful" squirrels in the church yard. Picture: Christine Butler

“It’s such a scary thought that my child was in such danger doing something so natural.”

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