A father is fed up of having to clear up old cocaine bags and marijuana scraps from a park before letting his toddler roam free.

Mark Downie has been taking two-year-old Jon to Riverside Park in Watford for around a year, but finding the slide completely burnt was the final straw.

The scorch marks on the slide are likely to have been caused by drug users melting heroin underneath it.

"Everytime I go down there, there are drug bags left," the 45-year-old said. "It winds me up. I can't let Jon run around until I've checked the park, and thrown all the drugs away.

"I'm always worried I've missed something. I'm constantly watching him but kids should be able to run around in a secure park, with no danger.

"It would only take a little kid to dip his or her finger into a bag which has a little bit of cocaine in it, thinking it's sherbet, and eating it.

"It makes me really angry that I have to do this. I'm not worried for my own safety when I pick the drugs up, it's just something I have to do."

Other offending items found in the park include discarded cannabis joins and cigarette buts, even though it is a no smoking zone.

He believes drug users congregate in the park at night and hide under the slide because it is set back from the road.

In the afternoon, he often sees older children and teenagers hanging around on their own - sometimes causing trouble.

He added: "You're always going to get vandals, but why melt a slide?

"A few months ago I was there and there was a couple with their kids having a picnic. The man had to go and shout at teenagers who were causing issues.

"When I was a teenager I am sure I hung around in parks too, but I wasn't doing drugs and I certainly wasn't leaving cigarette ends there.

"If you're going to smoke weed, do it in your own home. Don't do it in a children's park.

"It could have been such a nice place to take the kids, it's such a shame."

He has now been forced to take his son to nearby Oxhey Park, which in contrast he says is far cleaner and nicer.

Mr Downie, who has four step children, also called on Watford Borough Council to clean it up.

"They should do daily checks first thing in the morning, otherwise it's going to keep happening," he added.

The Watford Observer has requested comment from Watford Borough Council.