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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2006, 11:26 GMT 12:26 UK
Council vows to fight public sex
Markeaton Park
Many families with children visit the park in the holidays
Patrols have been introduced at a park in Derby after complaints about people having sex in public toilets.

Police said they had received seven recent complaints about sex in Markeaton Park and a man was arrested for sexual activity in a public toilet.

A police spokesman said: "We are trying to dissuade people from coming to the toilets to use them for sex."

The council has agreed to put an attendant in place and to cut back foliage in the area.

Sgt Alec Wallace, from Derbyshire Police, said both heterosexual and homosexual people were using the toilets for sex.

"There is a problem with public sex in Markeaton Park but we do not want to demonise the gay population because it is not just gay people who use the toilets for sex," he said.

A lot of children use the park and I wouldn't want these children to witness some of the things that go on
Councillor Alan Graves

"There are businessmen who come to the toilets who are married with wives and children but they come here for that one rendez vous and casual sex.

"The dangers they face are from public health issues and homophobic attacks - and it is not worth the risk."

Sgt Wallace said the problem does increase in the summer, adding outreach workers are talking to people about the dangers of casual sex.

Derby City Councillor Alan Graves said: "We have had a request from police to close these toilets but we have to look at the need for facilities - and we have decided to staff them during the summer holidays.

"A lot of children use the park and I wouldn't want these children to witness some of the things that go on."

Connor Fittal, from ARC (Awareness Raising Cooperative) - a gay support group, said police need to apply the law equally to both homosexual and heterosexual offenders.

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