An eight-year-old girl faces an anxious three month wait to find out if she has contracted HIV – after she pricked her finger on a dirty syringe hidden in a DOLL.
Grace Hyde won the 12ins-high china toy on a charity tombola but hurt her finger on the needle which had been concealed in the layers of the figurine’s petticoat.
Shocked mum Katie, 41, rushed Grace to hospital where doctors treated her for Hepatitis B and took blood tests to discover if she had contracted any other diseases.
Grace was tested for HIV but must wait three months to be given the all-clear.
Lincolnshire Police are now investigating whether a drug user hid the needle in the doll before it was put on a tombola stall at a fair in Skegness, Lincs., on July 28.
Mum-of-three Katie said: “I am horrified that my daughter was pricked by a dirty needle.
“A needle, that could very well have been used by someone to inject drugs.
“I thought the needle might have been a diabetic one but the police said it was unlikely because it had plunger and most diabetics use pens with the insulin dose already in it.
“As a parent you want to protect your children and it is horrific to think they can have their lives risked by playing with a doll they won on a tombola.
“I was shocked, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I saw that needle.
“Grace had pricked herself while she played with it, she had seen it and taken the cap off before the injury and had put the cap back on.
“She didn’t tell me immediately, she told her step-sister who told me.
“I was terrified, I mean anything could have been in that needle. It must have been put in there deliberately, a hypodermic needle doesn’t just magically get into the clothes of a doll.
“I went back to the fair as it was run by the emergency services but they were packing up and all going home.
“The woman who ran the stall was mortified, she couldn’t believe what had happened. She said she just picked up the doll from a car boot sale as she did with all the other toys.
“At the hospital Grace had to have loads of tests and she was vaccinated against hepatitis B and tetanus there and then.
“But it could be up to a year before we get the all clear.
“I think these stall holders really need to be careful with what they sell. If they pick stuff up from car boot sales it could have anything in.
“Also parents need to tell their children that if anything like this happens they must tell them straight away.
“I dread to think what could have happened in the time between the injury and Grace telling me.
“It’s certainly changed all of us. I’m far more wary of these kinds of things, I will check all of the children’s toys before they play with them now.
“Grace is less sure about dolls now as well.
“She loved them so much, and would run up to the stall whenever she saw one, but now she doesn’t want to play with them so much.
“I took the needle to the police and they tested it but because it was dry they could find no clues as to who put it there.
“Because of that they can’t press any charges on anyone.”
Skegness Carnival Committee chairman Kris Bell, who helped organise the event, said: “It was horrific.
“I can’t even imagine the anguish the family must be going through – it must have been a horrible time.
“We take what we do very seriously, even though we are only volunteers and now is not the time for knee jerk reactions.
“From my own personal perspective I would suggest that any organisations working with second hand goods have to start being more vigilant with the way they handle the goods.”
A spokesperson for Lincolnshire Police has confirmed that the mother reported the incident at 8.30pm on Sunday evening after taking her daughter to hospital for observation.