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Tot smeared fox mess "all over her face"

By This is Gloucestershire  |  Posted: September 23, 2009

  • Concerns: Jasmine Westgate. Inset: Highfield Garden Centre.

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A TODDLER was left with animal faeces smeared all over her face after using the children's play area at a garden centre.

Two-year-old Jasmine Westgate was playing in the sandpit at Highfield Garden World in Whitminster when she put her hands in a pile of fox mess.

The centre has said it will consider closing its sandpit following the incident, which saw the innocent youngster of Up Hatherley, proceeded put her dirty fingers to her face and in her mouth.

Jasmine's father Bruce said he was "disgusted" by the incident, which took place on Sunday, and says it may have led to E.coli or even blindness.

The 43-year-old, a martial arts instructor, said: "It was absolutely vile. Jasmine didn't know what she was doing and ended up with fox mess all over her face.

"She ingested some of it too which could have had harmful consequences. There are potentially life-ruining diseases linked with coming into contact with animal faeces.

"The sandpit shouldn't have been left in such a state. It obviously hadn't been cleaned properly by staff."

Mr Westgate said he and his family had planned to stay at the garden centre for lunch. But when he discovered what had happened he rushed his daughter home to clean her up.

He said: "I have lodged a complaint with officials at the garden centre. If a play area is open to members of the public then you have to look after it better than that.

"It was a very unpleasant experience and I wouldn't wish it on anyone else's children."

Staff at Highfield Garden World, which offers a range of activities for children, said the sandpit was now out of use until further notice.

Managing director Joan Greenway said: "We would like to apologise to the Westgates for what happened.

"We clean and inspect the sandpit every day during the week, although not on weekends.

"We are surrounded by countryside and a fox must have come during the night. We might well have to close the sandpit because of this, which is a shame because youngsters will miss it. But we can't let this kind of thing happen again."

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    foxy roxy, Glawster  |  September 23 2009, 1:45PM

    Bet miss trumpletrumps poo does not smell.

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    Stan, Quedgeley  |  September 23 2009, 1:43PM

    I think it was more likely something that was under Madeline Templetons nose myself.

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    Anon, Cheltenham  |  September 23 2009, 12:57PM

    This sounds disgusting. Fox poo really does smell vile and even worse than dog poo - it is quite distinctive. I dont know the family nor have i ever been to that garden centre but i do think that if the garden centre provides a play area for young children they should make sure there is no animal poo in it. Surely that makes sense. Yes you should keep an eye on toddlers at all time but I would expect if a sandpit is there for them to play in there wouldnt be poo in it.

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    A, Gloucester  |  September 23 2009, 12:49PM

    Well said, Matt, Cheltenham. There really is nothing else to add to that, other than the child was obviously playing with the stuff for longer than just a few seconds to have smeared it everywhere as well as eating it. My question is how long the parents had left the child unattended or unmonitored while they were chatting or otherwise occupied elsewhere?

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    Matt, Cheltenham  |  September 23 2009, 12:37PM

    OK, there shouldn't be faeces in a children's sand pit, anywhere, but animals will do "their business" where they chose, so there's a limit on what you can do to stop them fouling. Where though has it been confirmed that this incident was indeed fox faeces - it could have been a cat, dog, badger, any number of other animals. I also agree with other comments left about the parents supervising their own children whilst using a play area - surely the parents should check that play areas are safe for their children to use before letting them do so. In which case why didn't Mr. Westgate spot the faeces himself before his daughter got anywhere near it?? The garden centre has a duty of care to protect it's customers, but parents also have a duty of care to protect their children, and this must be even more the case when it involves letting your own children use a public facility, such as this one.

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    Proof Reader, Editing Suite  |  September 23 2009, 12:31PM

    Reality from Cheltenham sums up my view on this type of reporting perfectly. As for the story: I really can't muster the interest to complete this sen....

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    Reality, Chelt  |  September 23 2009, 12:11PM

    Drunken Munkey et al. Since when did Regional news have to encompass trivial news. Surely the online site should have enough newsworthy stories available to fill the 6 or 7 slots it usually puts up each day? I don't know what you mean by exciting or exotic news , but by your suggestion of reading the Sun more or less explains your viewpoint on what that would be. Excuse me if I don't think that one of the most interesting stories that happened in the county yesterday was a fox going to the toilet in a sandpit or the day before a dog attacking a cat ! That may be why you pay your few pence for every night, but that is your choice if that is the level of journalism you want to have. What amazes me is how these epic stories even find there way to a newspaper? I would bet that if it happened to most of the population 99.9% would think that contacting a paper about it would be the last thing they would do. I just PERSONALLY don't think it is news. As someone pointed out, cats foul my garden all the time, if I see it I clean it up, if I don't I suffer the consequences as to any visitors I may have. The major shock is that the Echo has never heard or reported on this. Not EVERYTHING that happens is worth putting in a newspaper, irrespective if it is a national one or local. I apologise for having an opinion on the standard of journalism, but being a regular reader of the Echo I know they are much better than this !!!! Now I will leave you to your erudite volumes that you obviously read as opposed to the Sun. Also pleae note I am not being negative or bullying !!! about the facts or contents of the story, just the need to have this 'type' of story as a 'headliner'. Now may you all have a wonderful day

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    David Mills, Hucclecote  |  September 23 2009, 12:07PM

    Oh dear here comes the moderator police, naughty naughty. I put a simple question to Madelaine and it got deleted. As this is a debate and what these comment sections are for then why has it been deleted. Mr editor/modertaor you have my e-mail address so please send a message or advise us all of why this is the case? What is the point of having this section when whenever there is a disagreement (nothing abusive or racial) it gets deleted. It is also clear by reading the comments nearly everone agrees with my point. Please e-mail me as requested with your response without me having to raise the issue any further. Many thanks David Mills

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    Andrew, Gloucester City  |  September 23 2009, 11:54AM

    Madeleine The problem people are having is that the parents in this story have run off to tell TIG all about it so therefore they come across as possible compo seekers. My son did roughly the same thing when he was young and guess what, we took him home and cleaned and bathed him. Simple really.

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    Tibbs, Gloucester  |  September 23 2009, 11:41AM

    Yeah Clive, and while we are at it, what about horses, hedgehogs, seagulls, badgers and all the other creatures that do their business on our planet. How about setting up a petition for toilets for these animals and that way we would not have to put up with this anti social behaviour. Where's Mr Dhanda's address?