Camera plan to curb Lancashire beauty spot sex acts

Cuerden Valley Park
Cuerden Valley Park
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Cameras look set to be used in a bid to stop lewd car park sex acts at a popular beauty spot.

And a call for police to be given tougher measures to move on the culprits on has also been made.

Problems of ‘prostitution’ at Cuerden Valley Park have resurfaced.

Car park gate closures and police patrols are said to have tailed off, opening the way again for the sex sessions – often between men in broad daylight – to return.

Former Leyland neighbourhood police sergeant Mark Douglas, who has since moved to Morecambe Police, gave a police report to Farington Parish Council last month, stating ‘issues with prostitution at Cuerden Valley Park and these were ongoing problems’.

However Simon Thorpe, park manager, told the Guardian yesterday: “I think what was happening was, we were locking the car park and police were patrolling in the evening.

“Now with police cutbacks, that arrangement has tailed off.

“We’re actually looking at a bigger solution.

“That area has become overgrown with trees. We’re moving an awful lot of trees, so there isn’t anywhere for them to run or do whatever they do.

“And we’re looking at ANPR camera for parking – that’s what’s on the cards.

“If that doesn’t come to fruition, we’re looking at closing the gates again.”

He added: “It’s not just us, there are other car parks that have the same problems. To close the car park altogether, we have a lot of people who like to walk their dogs in the area and we don’t want to discourage that.”

Councillor Paul Wharton, who represents Farington East on South Ribble Council, has written to councillor Graham Walton, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and street scene regarding the issues.

He said he had been contacted by residents and visitors complaining of ‘unsavoury acts namely sexual activity in public’ both daytime and in the evenings/night.

He wrote: “Whilst Cuerden Valley Park is a private park and not within the remit of South Ribble Borough Council parks department, I believe, after speaking with representatives of Lancashire Constabulary that the only way we can address this repeated issue is through a Public Space Protection

Order (PSPO) granted under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.”

He said the believed the council could apply for this.

He continued: “A PSPO could be issued for a period of up to three years, and give authority to the police to disperse persons from the site within which the order is made.”

As regards slapping a PSPO on the area, Mr Thorpe said: “I would be happy to talk to South Ribble about that. It’s in South Ribble’s area. We don’t have the power to do that ourselves. I’d be delighted.”

Councillor Graham Walton, Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Street Scene, said: “The council has not received any complaints about this from residents or visitors to the park. However, if illegal activity is taking place within the park or its car parks, we would be willing to work with Lancashire Constabulary and the land owner to investigate.”