A SYRINGE filled with heroin was found dumped on a busy beach popular with children.

Karen and Andy MacLachlan were horrified to see the needle lying just two feet from where their grandson was playing on the seafront in Fairlie close to Allanton Park Terrace.

The frightening find was made on Tuesday at the local beauty spot, which is also well-used by paddleboarders, wild swimmers and families.

Karen, 51, said: "There was liquid, heroin, still inside.

"It was in the sand next to our beach furniture, a person or a dog could easily have stood on it and who knows what the consequences would have been.

"I never thought I would see anything like this on Fairlie shore, it is frightening, and people need to be extra vigilant on the beach.

"It was found two feet away from where our one-year-old grandson was playing."

Karen, who has worked as a emergency psychiatric nurse for 22 years, added: "It was too far up the beach for the tide to have washed it in at this time of year.

"It has been dumped and looked like it could have been sitting there for a few days.

"It is a very popular beach and a lot of people like to go on it bare-footed, if they are wild swimming or the likes, and it is also very popular with dog walkers, families and young children.

"I just hope that this is isolated incident."

Karen says anyone unlucky enough to have stood on the syringe could have been left facing months of worry.

She added: "You can easily catch a serious virus if a needle like this pierces the skin. It takes weeks to get tests results back too.

"A neighbour has since informed us that at the pier end of the street he has found some syringes washed out of the sewage pipe, which is also quite concerning."

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: "Discarded hypodermic needles and syringes can be a danger to everyone because of the risk of injury and infection to the finder.

"While provision is made for the safe disposal of such equipment they could unfortunately still be found in many places and finds can range from single items to larger quantities.

"Do not put yourself or others at risk from discarded needles and syringes.

"If you come across a needle or syringe don't touch it or try to hide or conceal it. Please don't try to dispose of it by kicking it down a drain or putting it in the bin or down the toilet.

"Contact North Ayrshire Council who have the equipment required to dispose of the needles safely.

"If there are a large amount of needles appearing on a regular basis then please also contact the police."

Councillor Ian Murdoch urged people to be on their guard.

He said: "It is a sign of the times and very concerning that this is happening in the area. I would urge people to be very careful when out and about, more so on the beaches. I sincerely hope this is a one-off incident."