A HEAMOOR mum was left horrified after finding a used hypodermic needle at a well-known local beach.
Making the most of the hot weather, Claire Emmett-Wright visited a stretch of sand at Marazion with her partner and two young children last week when she came across the worrying find.
After spotting the needle, she moved her family along the beach where she saw a number of needle lids and began warning other beachgoers of the dangers.
"I want families that go down there and use that area to really be aware," said Mrs Emmett-Wright, from Heamoor.
"If they don't know about this then their children could get pricked by a needle and that could be fatal."
The 32-year-old visited the picturesque beach with partner Nichola and children Charlie, aged 19 months, and Olivia, eight months.
Parking at Folly Field, they settled down in nearby sand dunes for a day in the sun.
But they had only just arrived when Mrs Emmett-Wright saw a needle.
"I picked it up and put it in a bin because I was worried about anyone else coming along and sitting on it," she said.
"We moved along to another area that wasn't that bad but I just spent the rest of the day keeping a very close eye on my children."
The mum of two said she had been visiting that stretch of beach since she was a child and believed cleanliness had dropped over the years.
"This has completely put me off going to that area of the beach," she said.
The stretch of sand visited by the Penwith family is under the control of the St Aubyn Estate which manages the beach from St Michael's Mount to Red River on behalf of the National Trust. It also owns the section of beach above the mean high water mark from approximately Red River to Station House.
"We take our responsibilities for the beach very seriously and this includes keeping it clean at peak usage periods," said Andrew Davey, head of land and property at St Aubyn Estates.
"We normally judge when to start cleaning the beach based on tides and currents and the amount of litter in evidence, as this does vary with conditions.
"It is unrealistic to clean the beach all year round, so we focus instead on peak usage periods.
"This year we will be starting our summer cleaning programme next week.
"In addition to this our car park staff are equipped with cleaning equipment, so that they can react instantly if they ever receive reports from members of the public using the beach during the daytime.
"We are confident we are doing all we reasonably can to keep the beach safe and clean but we are also dependent on the public using the beach in a responsible manner."