Crackdown on doggers at Darlington hotspot will see warning letters posted to homes (From The Northern Echo)
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Crackdown on doggers will see warning letters posted to homes
PEOPLE who continue to frequent a North-East dogging hotspot will receive warning letters, police said yesterday (Friday, September 6).
A lay-by close to The Swan House roundabout, near Darlington, has become notorious as a meeting point for ‘doggers’ and ‘cruisers’ – people who engage in voyeuristic sexual acts in public spaces.
Following complaints from local residents, police are now taking enforcement action against anyone they believe may be using the lay-by for sexual purposes.
Measures already taken in the area – including putting up warning posters and engaging with local community groups – have so far proved ineffective.
On Thursday night, three suspected doggers found in the area were advised by police that they were in a place commonly used as a public sex environment.
Registration numbers were recorded and the three males will now receive letters to their properties warning them against frequenting areas associated with anti-social behaviour.
A police officer also left a voicemail message after calling a number left at the site with the word ‘fun’ written above it.
In it, he stated illicit activities in the area would not be tolerated and invited the mystery note-leaver to contact him for advice, if required.
Officers say the enforcement action - which began around three weeks ago and is in line with national guidelines – is already having a positive effect, with the area appearing to be cleaner and less used than in previous months.
PC Julian Brown, of Darlington Police, said: “There have been lots of issues around the area, from rubbish being left to acts of indecency.
“It is a public safety issue. There are risks to the persons doing this, who are often using mobile phone apps to meet up with strangers.
“They are putting themselves in danger as they could be meeting up with anybody.
“There could also be health risks to others due to the sort of items left there and there have been incidents when people in the area have received threats and abuse.
“We want to deter people from using this area in this way.”
The police are also liasing with GADD (Gay Advice Darlington/Durham) in an effort to tackle the issue sensitively and to educate people on the risks of engaging in this kind of activity.