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PlayZone in Herne Bay shut off after suspected drugs found by children

By Jack Dyson

Two bags of suspected drugs have been found by children in a popular soft play centre, KentOnline can reveal.

Police were called following the discovery of the suspicious packets by youngsters at PlayZone in Herne Bay yesterday.

The first, a bag containing a white powder believed to be cocaine, was found by six year-old Scarlett Pitcher.

She showed it to her shocked mum, Katie Bowell, having picked it up at the bottom of a staircase near the play area.

Ms Bowell, 26, says that shortly after, her friend’s young son found another packet in the centre’s ball pit.

“He was saying to us ‘look, I found this’,” Ms Bowell said. “He then dropped it in the ball pit. Kids were still playing in there.

“We were shocked and disgusted by the fact that some parent actually went in there with cocaine. You don’t expect it at a children’s play area.

“It could have made a child seriously ill. There were other children there and they could have thought it was candy or something.”

One of the bags of suspected drugs found in Playzone on Wednesday afternoon (8446178)
One of the bags of suspected drugs found in Playzone on Wednesday afternoon (8446178)

Ms Bowell, who is from Whitstable, handed the bag Scarlett found to the centre’s manager before calling the police.

But she says the second packet was not salvaged from the ball pit.

“I’m a bit wary of taking Scarlett to that place now,” she added.

“I hadn’t been to PlayZone for a while and then that happened.

Katie Bowell with her six-year-old daughter, Scarlett Pitcher (8446180)
Katie Bowell with her six-year-old daughter, Scarlett Pitcher (8446180)

“I might give it a couple of months, but it’s put me off going there.

“My friend’s baby is two and she wouldn’t have known what it was. If she found it, she would have ended up thinking it was some candy and eaten it.”

Another mother, who was with Ms Bowell at the time, believes the centre needs to carry out checks of the premises more regularly.

The play area in the Herne Bay children's centre
The play area in the Herne Bay children's centre

“When we told them there were drugs in the bag, there were children still in there," she said.

“A member of staff tried to say it was paracetamol. I have got a son of six and it just seems unbelievable.

"There was no urgency. The parents wouldn’t have known until we told them.”

Police confirmed they had been called to the scene at about 3.30pm following reports drugs had been found.

Officers “seized a small quantity of what is thought to be an illegal substance”.

Playzone in Eddington Lane, Herne Bay (8446212)
Playzone in Eddington Lane, Herne Bay (8446212)

Part of the play area remained closed while a "full clean" took place.

Playzone declined to comment when contacted by KentOnline.

Read more: All the latest news from Herne Bay.

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