A SHOP owner once plagued by needles left ‘daily’ outside his East Oxford business has praised council efforts to crackdown on drug use but fears the relief may be short lived.

Nay Aung from Honest Stationery in Cowley Road complained in December that syringes regularly discarded outside the store overnight were driving away trade.

Mr Aung, who has run the shop with his sister Pearl Phyu for two years, said three months on the situation was 'much better', saying: “We are okay at the moment and the council have been really helpful."

See our original story with concerns raised over child safety from dropped needles

He added, however, he was concerned the improvement was only a temporary reprieve.

He said: “I have noticed in the last few weeks the return of more signs of drug use on Cowley Road. It’s not effecting us yet but it is a worry.”

It comes after Father Philip Ritchie from nearby St Mary and St John Church revealed last month a drop in drug use in its ground meant the church soon hoped to reopen entrances to its grounds via Cowley Road, Magdalen Road and Leopold Street. The entries were locked in October after consultation with police and Oxford City Council.

ALSO READ: Church padlocks gates to keep out 'brazen' drug dealers

Katherine Miles co-ordinator for Bullingdon Road neighbourhood watch, which was created last summer in response to increased drug usage in Cowley Road and the surrounding streets, said: “The community has seen improvement, there are obviously still concerns over the drug taking in the area but it has been better.

"It is a concern that when the weather improves though things are going to get worse again."

She praised the efforts of the city council to work with residents to focus on problem areas and fix issues like street lighting.

Ms Miles said: "I think that has been a positive thing, the community and council are being proactive."

A new task force was created by Oxford City Council in September to tackle the issue.

It was formed in response to residents’ worries about the visibility of drug crime in public spaces in the city, with the number of discarded needles found on the streets going up by more than 15 per cent in a year.

READ AGAIN: Dealer caught walking down Cowley Road with 100 wraps of Class A drugs stuffed up his backside

The Oxford Public Spaces Drugs Taskforce is composed of a police sergeant, two police officers, two PCSOs and a problem-solving police analyst.

City councillor Tom Hayes, who is involved with the taskforce as executive board member for a safer and greener environment, said he was 'delighted' about the reduction in drugs activity. He added: "I've been seeing the situation get better as somebody who works in Manzil Way on Cowley Road.

"The city council's investment in the drugs taskforce is six-months old, but it's paying off for local residents."

He went on to say: "I'm pleased that the redevelopment of Manzil Way and repeated drugs needles clean ups that I've joined are having an impact, too."

Mr Hayes said anyone who needed drugs recovery help can visit charity Turning Point in Rectory Road to start treatment.

Have you noticed a reduction in dropped needles along Cowley Road and the surrounding streets or are there still problem areas?

Let us know in the comments below or email elyons@nqo.com.