They’re meant to beautify downtown but planters often become receptacles for things like cigarette butts and gum.

But on Monday, there was something more sinister found in a planter outside a Johnson Street hair salon ? a hypodermic needle that Victoria police say appears to have been placed there deliberately.

The hair salon employee, a 70-year-old woman who didn’t want to be identified, discovered the needle in a planter Monday and phoned the police. She was not pricked on Monday but a week ago, she was planting bulbs in another planter outside the business when she felt a prick on her hand and found a needle placed upside down in the soil.

“She was disturbed of course and she went and got a blood test and of course the results will be another week or week and a half so hopefully, she doesn’t have anything,” said Scruples Salon owner George Molnar.

This is the third syringe incident in just a week ? last Monday a three-year-old was pricked by a needle in the Pandora Avenue McDonald’s restaurant. Police are investigating to see if it was placed there deliberately.

Then the following day, a dog walker accidentally grabbed a paper bag that was full of needles on Pembroke Street and was pricked on her finger.

Last June a security guard found one taped to a handrail in a downtown parkade and a few months later, an uncapped syringe was found in a parking ticket dispenser.

Victoria police aren’t commenting on whether any of the incidents are linked but city councillor Margaret Lucas, who works downtown, says it’s time for action.

“The Victoria city police, Island Health and ourselves need to make sure we come up with a plan because this can’t continue,” Lucas said.

“When is it time for us to use the retractable needles when do we put that program into place?”

While groups like the Downtown Business Association pick up needles downtown daily, George Molnar wants to see even more sweeps.

“It is disturbing so my recommendation and the only recommendation is have the police patrol the area before all the merchants open the doors because there are needles all over the place,” he said.

Victoria police will only say their investigation is ongoing and they want the public to be aware.

April Lawrence