WARNINGS have been issued to the public after an increase in the number of syringes and drug paraphernalia being found on the streets.

Police working in Durham city and the surrounding areas issued the warning after a number of reports about syringes in Brandon were made.

Sgt Kay Howarth said there had also been an increase in syringes found in Durham city centre and Gilesgate over the last three months.

She said neighbourhood wardens were clearing up about a dozen needles every day, in areas including North Road, The Riverwalk and Claypath.

She said: "When you start looking at drugs its real issue. It's an issue for people using, it's an issue for the people they're with because they're often having to save them and do CPR and there's an issue with the debris.

"The worrying thing for me is that people are seeing them and videoing them using in broad daylight.

"I'm getting reports in the day of people shooting up in the street."

She added the increase was linked to rough sleeping and the city's transient population.

Police are working in partnership with other organisations, including homelessness and addiction charity Changing Lives to try and improve the situation.

Sgt Howarth added: "There's no easy fix but it's about education and trying to improve things."

About 10 needles have been found in Brandon in recent weeks.

Councillor Paul Taylor, who discovered and reported two, said: "I'm not suggesting it's a massive problem but what has worried me is finding a syringe in a public place.

"We've got wonderful beat officers. I'm sure as a community we can get a hold on it and nip it in the bud but it's not acceptable to see needles in public areas."

The issue will be discussed at Brandon's next Police and Community Together (Pact) meeting, which takes place on July 25 at Brandon Welfare Hall.

If anyone sees a syringe, they are asked to report it to Durham County Council by calling 03000 260000.