Tot smeared fox mess "all over her face"
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."