Published: 19:08, 05 December 2018
| Updated: 22:09, 05 December 2018
A drug den littered with 30 unsheathed syringes has emerged inside an abandoned subway – for the second time in just over a year.
Among the scattered rubbish of burnt tin foil and food wrappers stands a tent with the words “your girlfriend slept here last night,” emblazoned on the front.
The "apocalyptic" lair sits in a tunnel off Folkestone’s Middleburg Square, one hundred metres from the town centre.
Last October, the Town Sprucer team discovered a soiled bed and smashed glass among the waste, with more than 60 discarded needles on the floor.
Sprucer leader Peter Philips re-discovered the den on Monday and said it was “haunting” to find.
He likened the abandoned underpass to a horror film and warned his team not to touch the paraphernalia.
“It’s just shocking down there, haunting, it’s like another world and it is right in the middle of town.
“It’s like a horror film – Folkestone’s own little Zombie Apocalypse.
“When I went down there I just thought there might be a bit of rubbish and the council would have taken care of it.
“I never would have dreamed it could get like this again.We’re not going to touch any of it, it’s too dangerous,” he said.
The walkway once served as a public crossing point below the busy Middleburgh Square road.
Now it reaches a dead end however, the hole can’t be plugged because it forms part of Bouverie Place car park’s fire escape, according to council leader David Monk (Con).
“I will arrange officers to go down there and clear it up right away, we need to be made aware of the issue so we can address it.
“We won’t block it off because it’s the fire escape for the car park.
“The subway is almost impossible for the public to access, that’s why these people go down there to use it,” he said.
However, a two-tiered ramp from outside the recently closed Nola’s Precious Time nursery in Cheriton Road leads directly to the den.
A Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) spokesman said last year the underpass was not part of its street cleaning regime because it is “not land that is in general public use.”
The council, which cleared the mess within hours of being notified last year. urged people to report such incidents before sharing them on social media.
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The council said it cleared the tunnel last week as the area remains under review.
A spokesman for Folkestone and Hythe District Council said: “We are aware of the issues at this location and have already been in discussion with Kent Police and our other partners about the best way to tackle it.
“We cleared the area last week and are arranging for the needles and other paraphernalia to be cleared again as a priority while discussions about a more permanent solution continue.
“The land is owned by Kent County Council so a decision about blocking access to the subway would need to be made by them.
“It is precisely this sort of problem that we are hoping to tackle with our proposed new Public Spaces Protection Orders, which would allow us to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to anyone caught with drugs or drug paraphernalia.
“So far the feedback shows that this is a measure the public overwhelmingly support and it would give us more powers to tackle the anti-social behaviour arising from drug-taking in our towns.”
KCC said the long-term future of the subway was under review but it was still required as an emergency route from the car park.
More by this authorSean Axtell