Derby man faced 'six months of hell' when pricked by hypodermic needle - in police station

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

A Derby man faced "six months of hell" thinking he had contracted HIV in a police cell when a hypodermic needle hidden in a boiler suit pricked him.

Kevin Lambert was under arrest at St Mary's Wharf Police Station when he was given the clothing to wear in custody.

The 32-year-old said the needle was inside the suit and pricked his left ankle during the incident in March 2016.

Mr Lambert, who was held for breaching a restraining order, was taken to the Royal Derby Hospital and later tested for diseases including HIV and hepatitis. He was again tested when he was sent to prison for the offence and said the six months wait for test results was "absolutely horrendous".

Derbyshire police wrote to Mr Lambert and apologised for the anxiety the incident caused.

St Mary's Wharf police station in Chester Green

St Mary's Wharf police station in Chester Green

Mr Lambert, of Oakwood, said: "I was being held in custody and was given a boiler suit to wear. I felt something prick my foot and it hurt quite a bit. I looked down and there was a hypodermic needle which scared the life out of me. I was really anxious and worried that I had caught something that was going to ruin my life. I thought I had.

"I was confident it must have come from a drug addict who had left it or dumped it in the suit. How on earth did it get there? How on carth was it not checked? The police have written to me to say it's not happened before and it won't happen again but I don't think that's good enough.

"It's a total disgrace. I had some tests done in hospital and at prison and I was so scared. It took six months for everything to come back all clear. I was so relived but I also feel very lucky. It could have been very different."

Mr Lambert said he admits it was wrong to breach the restraining order against a former partner. He added: "I should not have done it and I regret it. I was in love and could not help my feelings."

Police wrote to Kevin Lambert about the incident

Police wrote to Kevin Lambert about the incident

Mr Lambert complained to the force via his solicitors. The police wrote back to say they "cannot explain how this incident occurred" and said checks had taken place at the cleaning process, the station and at the cleaners for clothing.

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The letter also said the item was checked with a metal detector but this did "not pick it up due to its size".

Mr Lambert added: "That's not good enough. This could have done real harm. I'm glad to hear there have been no other incidents like this, but frankly one is enough. I'm really unhappy with the whole situation."

Gary Knighton, Deputy Chief Constable of Derbyshire police, said: “We received a complaint from Mr Lambert which was fully investigated earlier this year. The outcome of the investigation was finalised with a local resolution between Mr Lambert and the force.

"A letter was issued in January this year to Mr Lambert’s solicitors from our custody manager which offered an apology and explained that this was an isolated incident. There have been no similar incidents since.”