DRUG users injecting substances in a wooded area behind a nightclub have prompted a joint operation between the police and council to tackle the issue.

The area of woodland behind Peterlee’s popular nightclub, Vibe, is being littered with drug paraphernalia including dirty needles and packets of sterile water for injection.

These can be found alongside empty cigarette boxes, clear pill packets, broken bottles and prescription pills.

Residents believe the users get their Methadone, a heroin substitute, from one of the town centre pharmacies in the morning, and then go to the area to inject, preventing them from overdosing at home.

A statement on the issue from Peterlee Town Council said: “We are aware of the issues of drug use and anti-social behaviour in the Dene area behind the Vibe nightclub.

“We’re working closely with the police to identify how we can make the area less attractive to the small minority who are spoiling this area for the people of Peterlee.

“We have had a concentrated clean-up of the area this week and are meeting with the police again next week to agree next steps.”

The problem was previously raised in December last year when several dirty needles were found opposite Peterlee Library, worrying parents who feared for their children’s safety.

One resident said: “It’s actually vile, I was walking my dog through there once and some drug addict left their dirty used needles on the floor without cap lids on them. The dog nearly stood on them. He could have caught a disease.

“People also go there to smoke cannabis and use bongs.

“I don’t personally know who the group of people are, but when you see them you can definitely spot them – they really stand out from the crowd.”

“The North-East is full of drug addicts, it’s the same everywhere if you know the right people to talk to. All the places around here are linked when it comes to drugs.”

The area, which is surrounded by discarded shopping trolleys stolen from the town’s ASDA, is also covered in graffiti, showing foul language and obscene imagery, concerning residents who fear their children may start using the language.

Inspector Lee Blakelock, from Peterlee Neighbourhood Police team said: “We are aware of the rise in anti-social behaviour in the area which formulates part of our ongoing Operation Honeygate to tackle low level crime and anti-social behaviour.

“My team are working with Groundworks North East and Peterlee Town Council to improve street lighting, visibility and increase patrols around hotspot times to eradicate this problem.

“We would like to reassure residents that reports of anti-social behaviour are taken extremely seriously.”