A happy day out at the beach turned in to every parent's worst nightmare when a five-year-old stabbed his hand on a used syringe.

The youngster - Henry Warren - had been playing in the sand when he suddenly turned to his parents and said 'mummy this has just cut my hand when I was building my castle, I need a plaster'.

What followed was a harrowing three hours at Dorset County Hospital Accident and Emergency as Henry underwent blood tests and received numerous injections.

Henry's mum Abbie said the whole incident has left her "devastated".

She said: "Myself, my husband and our two children, Esther who is eight and Henry, had stopped at a cafe on the beach for a drink with the plan to get something to eat.

"We grabbed a table overlooking the beach so the children could play in the sand and we could watch them.

"Our drinks had just arrived and the kids had their buckets on the beach when Henry started to cry.

"He came running up to us saying 'mummy this has just cut my hand when I was building my castle, I need a plaster'. His middle finger was bleeding and in the other hand he had the end of a syringe.

"We took the syringe from him to check it as we were both gobsmacked.

"My husband wrapped the needle up to take with us. I rang my sister who is a sexual health nurse and she told us we needed to take him to the hospital for an injection."

In shock the family headed to the walk-in centre in Weymouth but were told they needed to go to Accident and Emergency in Dorchester.

Abbie added: "Henry was a superstar we were there about three hours and he was so well-behaved. I told him what was happening so that he was prepared and he practised standing still as a statue so that they could take his bloods.

"As the nurse left the room to get his Hep B injection he turned to me and said 'mummy that really hurt, much more than you said it would and sobbed'.

"It completely broke my heart that he had to go through this.

"When the nurse returned with his injection he got a little panicked and said he did not want it and began to cry. I held him and the nurse did the injection again he was very brave but sobbed when the nurse left to get the paperwork."

Abbie then had to ring her GP to arrange a follow up injection in seven days. Harry will also need two further injections at a later date and a blood test in six months.

She said the family now have a "nervous wait".

Abbie said: "We come on holiday to Weymouth regularly and always thought of the beach as being clean and safe for children so this has really upset us. I have emailed the council to make them aware and ask who I should write to with my complaint - but as yet have had no reply.

"It makes me sad and angry that my child has had to go through this when he was merely doing something children love to do - dig in the sand."

In response to the incident, Graham Duggan, head of community protection at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “We understand the concerns and we share them. The borough council cleans Weymouth beach mechanically every day from May1 to September 30. We also pick litter from the beach throughout the rest of the day.

"Unfortunately this kind of waste can be found on beaches across the UK from time to time. If we ever receive reports we send staff with specialist equipment to dispose of this waste safely.”

Gary Spracklen, head teacher at IPACA was walking through Weymouth town centre with his family when he came across a discarded needle on the floor on Church Passage.

He called Dorset Police’s non-emergency 101 number for help.

Mr Spracklen said: “I was concerned about my children and for other people passing through. I called the 101 non-emergency number and they passed me to another department, where I was told it was the responsibility of the waste partnership. I called them instead, but they were closed until Tuesday morning so I moved it myself.

"The advice on the website says not to do that but there were a lot of people passing through and I didn’t know where else to turn to for help.

"Nobody could give me any advice. I didn’t know where to put it, there were no sharps boxes. What is the public supposed to do if they find something like that? There was nowhere to turn.”

Michael Moon, head of service (operations), Dorset Waste Partnership, said: “Our cleansing crews and supervisors were working every day over the Bank Holiday weekend and all crews are trained and equipped to collect discarded needles and sharps. In Weymouth and Portland we can be contacted over a weekend or Bank Holiday via Weymouth and Portland’s Borough Council’s out of hours number, 01305 838000. We will make sure that the 101 call centre are aware of this number.

“We would like to thank the member of the public for cleaning up the needles but in the future we would encourage people to report the issue so that our staff can deal with it safely.”