A post box in Yeovil town centre has been taken out of service because needles were found disposed there, it has emerged.
Royal Mail confirmed the incident was not isolated as syringes had been found in the Lower Middle Street post box on “several occasions”.
The company refused to comment on reports that a post woman had been jabbed by a needle as she collected mail from the box.
Andy Marshall, 42, owner of Crofton Stores, said residents now feared they might lose the box for good.
He said: “It’s upset quite a few people, especially the older Wyndham Court residents. I was once a post man and I never had to contend with anything like this. I find it very concerning.”
Heulyn Gwyn, of Royal Mail, said: “We apologise to customers for having to seal the post box. This follows the discovery of syringes being posted into this box on several occasions.
“The safety of our employees is paramount and so the box has been withdrawn from service pending further investigation. In the meantime, customers can use an alternative post box which is also on Middle Street by WH Smith.”
Clive Davis, Mayor of Yeovil, urged people to report suspicious behaviour to the police. He said: “I am extremely concerned and disappointed at this development, which not only put the public at risk but has now deprived local businesses and the community of an important post facility.”
He said he planned to check if there is any evidence on CCTV footage of the area which could be handed to police.
In response to the incident, Yeovil police said they arrested three people following the seizure of class A drugs earlier this month.
Inspector Jamie Rees said a derelict property in the area, known as the Lazerage building, had been secured in an attempt to stop it being used for drug use.
He said: “Police respond to information received on an ongoing basis. It is our mission to target anyone involved in the supply or use of drugs within Yeovil town centre or the surrounding area.”
South Somerset District Council said 33 incidents of needles being found in the Yeovil area were reported to the local authority from April this year. The council noted a decline in reported incidents from 2009/2010 when it received 65 complaints, compared to 50 last year.
Turning Point, which provides substance misuse services, encourages people to dispose of needles in Maltravers House, on Petters Way, between 9am and 5pm.
Michelle McLeavy, Turning Point’s area operations manager, South West, said: “Turning Point does not condone this behaviour. We operate needle exchange programmes where we give out clean paraphernalia and expect returns of used paraphernalia. We also give out sharp bins for safe disposal.
“If any inappropriate disposal comes to our knowledge we deal directly with the individual concerned.
“All clients using our needle exchange are given clear instructions about the safe disposal of used equipment.”