GARDAÍ in Wexford are investigating the dumping of medical waste found by children on derelict land owned by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

The materials discovered are said to have included blood-stained items and syringes and were stored in specially provided disposal buckets.

However, the HSE has ruled out the possibility that the material belonged to it and said it was determined to find out who had been dumping it in the field.

Concerned local residents sought a meeting with HSE officials to seek reassurances over the waste, which was discovered at Talbot Green in the town.

In a statement, the executive said that the matter was now in the hands of gardaí.

"The matter was immediately investigated by the HSE and the investigation concluded that the HSE South/South East policy for the safe use, handling and disposal of sharps and sharps containers was adhered to," it said.

"The HSE has now referred the matter to the gardaí for investigation because of the suspicious nature of the find and accordingly cannot comment any further at this time."

However, local sources believe the find may be linked to the increasing use of heroin in the area.

"I suspect that these were needles that were given to users and then they just threw them away," said one source.

"We can only take the HSE at its word, that someone wasn't incompetent."

The alarm was raised by the father of a young boy who had discovered the material while playing. He removed the waste until such time as it could be professionally disposed of.