Police launch operation to tackle gay cruising at Baldock nature reserve

PUBLISHED: 17:31 14 March 2012 | UPDATED: 10:05 16 March 2012

Signs have been installed in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour. Photo by Alan Millard

Signs have been installed in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour. Photo by Alan Millard

Archant

POLICE are launching a “robust” operation backed by the district council to tackle a gay cruising hotspot at a nature reserve.

"One girl had seen a man dressed in a yodelling outfit being led around on a chain by another man"

Anonymous letter to the Comet

Weston Hills in Baldock is described as “very active” on a website for men wishing to take part in sexual activity in public places.

The website also states that “there are several paths with plenty of cover” surrounding the car park in Hatch Lane.

Another site says it is popular amongst gay men in the daytime and with heterosexual couples at night.

One resident has raised concerns about the use of the area, citing one incident of “a man dressed in a yodelling outfit being led around on a chain by another man.”

In an anonymous letter sent to the Comet, Hertfordshire Constabulary and North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC), they said: “I am not prejudiced against gay people but this ‘gay cruising’ is not normal - not for a public family car park.

“The police and council should do something to stop this anti-social behaviour in a public place. This is not a safe place for unaccompanied children - in fact, it is not safe for anyone.”

Signs forbidding anti-social behaviour were put up at the car park by NHDC last week.

Greene King, which owns the nearby George IV pub, had also put up signs outlawing trespassing on land which is part owned by the company, although these have since been removed.

A police spokesman said: “We are going to start a robust police operation now. Anybody that frequents the area can expect to be caught if they are doing anything deemed to be anti-social.”

Andy Godman, NHDC’s head of housing and public protection, said: “We are aware of reports of anti-social behaviour in the area and are working with local partners, including the police, to investigate these issues.

“New signs have been installed clarifying that any kind of anti-social behaviour in and around the car park will not be tolerated, and the use of CCTV is under active consideration. Meanwhile, if anyone wishes to report any concerns, they should contact our community safety team on 01462 474000 or the police on their non-emergency number, 101.”

A spokesman for Greene King said: “We will continue to work with the council and police.”

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