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No sex please...car park locked at night to stop dogging
2:10pm Sunday 18th August 2013 in News
A SEAFRONT car park is being locked at night to stop people seeking sexual encounters.
Southend Council is locking up Shoebury Common Car Park at 9pm to curb a long-term problem of public sexual activity in the area and men meeting in public toilets near Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
The police have been working with the council to tackle the issue for at least three years, but are finding it increasingly difficult to patrol the area as resources are stretched.
Council officers tried to clear the car park by dusk, when it officially closed, but were having to hang around for hours for all the drivers to return to their cars, so now they are simply locking the gates at 9pm.
Shoebury Tory councillor Tony Cox said: “There was an issue of cottaging in the toilets. People were in the car park and dogging was happening at night. The police are welcoming the action we are taking.”
He reported seeing one man going into the toilets five times in half an hour. Peter Grubb, who runs Uncle Tom’s Cabin, said: “Over the years, the toilets outside Uncle Tom’s Cabin have been a cottaging hotspot.The police are aware of it. They used to launch operations to come down and arrest people, but because of cutbacks they no longer come down.
It’s a family-friendly place, but this is going on.”
There is a similar problem with the toilets at East Beach.
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