GLASGOW'S busiest needle exchange should never have been in the city's largest train station, a leading expert has said.

The in-demand exchange has been forced to close in Central Station after drug paraphernalia was found in public place and a person overdosed.

It had been open since July 2016, at a branch of Boots in the concourse, and provided more than 40,000 clean sets of equipment to addicts.

Now alcohol and drugs professor Dr Iain McPhee says the facility should never have been in the train station in the first place.

The senior lecturer at the University of the West of Scotland said the service should not have been based in such a public place, which is closely monitored by CCTV cameras and has a high police presence.

He said addicts throw away used needles in areas with a strong police presence as they are afraid of being arrested or discovered.

He has also warned of further drug deaths if addicts are not given appropriate places to inject that are safe, accessible and run by experts.

Dr McPhee said: "Drug injectors are scapegoats blamed for their addiction, demonised for their drug of choice and route of administration, and considered to be untrustworthy, selfish hedonistic and criminal deviants.

"What is forgotten is that people take drugs for several reasons and that they have the same rights as anyone else to access health services.

“Drug users that are not yet known to drug services, the police, or even their families, live in constant fear of discovery.

"As we continue to create a barrier of fear for accessing clean, safe and manageable environments for taking drugs, we will continue to see unacceptably high death rates attributed to drug injecting.

“We will also continue to see more incidents such as those in Glasgow Central Station, with no safe place for injectors to access clean needles or inject outside of a public bathroom.

“We need to ensure that all needle exchanges are based in locations that are fully accessible, and involve experts in decisions, rather than people who have little understanding of what drug injectors have to go through in order to access what is rightfully theirs.”

The academic's statement comes as the Scotrail Alliance said it would reconsider the closure, after public health minster Aileen Campbell said she recognised "very real concerns" about the move.

A Scotrail spokesman previously said they were "constantly finding leftover kits" in toilets, and "could not stand by and allow this to continue".

Glasgow's health and social care partnership said the closure "goes against local, national and international evidence on the individual and community public health benefits".