Two phone boxes wrapped in plastic to raise awareness of drug use in Birmingham

Two phone boxes in Kings Heath have been wrapped in plastic and plastered with “biohazard” stickers in response to alleged drug-taking inside them.

Images of the phone boxes in Kings Heath which have been wrapped in plastic and plastered with 'biohazard' stickers. Photo: LDRS
Images of the phone boxes in Kings Heath which have been wrapped in plastic and plastered with 'biohazard' stickers. Photo: LDRS

Councillor Mike Leddy, who represents Brandwood and Kings Heath, has taken the step of coating the BT cubicles in sheeting to warn members of the public about paraphernalia such as syringe fragments left inside.

Following campaigning by residents, he has been pushing BT to either establish a more frequent cleaning regime for the boxes or even to remove them completely.

The two boxes are located at Institute Road near Kings Heath High Street, outside Costa Coffee.

Writing to BT, Councillor Leddy said: “I would like to report the two telecom booths outside the above address, where I have removed a number of syringe needles in to a sharps box, however there are still drug related paraphernalia and in particular a number of needles, where the plastic shoulders have been broken off and are lying in the cracks of paving slabs all around the boxes.

“In addition the one booth without a door has a smashed hand receiver.

“To protect members of the public further, I’ve wrapped the two boxes in cling film and fixed biohazard stickers, informing those who pass by to take great care.

“[…] I will once again ask that you arrange a regular clean up on telephone booths and in particular these two telephone booths in my ward.”

Workers in nearby businesses have also expressed their frustration with the situation.

An employee in one shop who did not want to be named said: “We do see it happening and needles are just left there.

“It’s a concern. They could remove them or keep on top of cleaning them.”

Another worker in a different shop said: “[People] will make phone calls for someone to come in a car.”

They also believed it is a “concern” but said perpetrators are moved on by Kings Heath’s security guards.

They added: “I think the boxes should be taken out completely.”

A BT spokesperson said: "These phone boxes are being used on a regular basis by members of the public and are providing a vital community service, so it wouldn’t be right for us to remove them at this stage.

“We would encourage anyone who witnesses antisocial behaviour to report it to the police. We are committed to working closely with the police and the local community to resolve any problems and assist their investigations.”

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