Mother’s anger as boy, 14, spied on while undressing at Hitchin swimming pool

Hitchin Swimming Pool

Hitchin Swimming Pool - Credit: Archant

The mother of a 14-year-old boy has criticised a swimming pool’s management for not protecting children after a man watched her son get undressed – the second such incident in five weeks.

The boy from Hitchin, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was at Hitchin Swimming Centre in Fishponds Road on Friday with his two siblings and a friend when a man repeatedly watched him get changed.

Two weeks ago the Comet published an e-fit of a man who had spied on an 11-year-old boy getting undressed at the pool on June 24 after police released details of the incident.

Officers are not currently linking the two incidents but Hertfordshire Constabulary said it is investigating the latest act of voyeurism.

The mother of the 14-year-old said: “My son went into a changing cubical and was sitting on the bench drying himself. He saw a shadow on the floor and then saw the man’s hands and his curly hair. He recognised him because earlier the man had smiled at them and had followed them into the changing rooms, but they didn’t think anything of it.


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“When he saw the man watching him he freaked out. He came out of the cubicle and told the cleaner, but she didn’t understand English so did nothing and continued cleaning. He then went back into the cubicle and started to get ready again, and he saw the shadow again, but this time it was behind him because the man had moved to the cubicle behind him. He heard the man doing up his belt so he ran out again and told the cleaner. This time the cleaner saw the man because he had made a run for it towards the outdoor pool.

“My son was shocked and shaken. It really weirded him out.”

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The boy’s mother has criticised the pool’s management for a lack of action.

“This happened at around 4pm and when I got there at 5pm the manager had not even bothered to report it to the police and asked me if he should call them,” she said.

“I am disgusted there is no protocol for this situation. The management said that they have clear images of the man and that he was seen five times on CCTV on the same day. He did not go for a swim and was seen loitering near the pool and changing area.

“What worries me is that the outdoor changing rooms are never monitored. I will not be sending my children there on there own. I am appalled by the management – they are doing nothing to protect children using the pool.”

The Comet contacted the pool when details of the first incident were released to ask what security measures had been taken but did not receive a response.

Following Friday’s incident, Ian Morton, managing director for Stevenage Leisure, which runs the centre on behalf of North Herts District Council, has commented.

He said: “We take incidents like this very seriously and have a zero tolerance approach to anyone behaving improperly. The safety of our customers is of utmost importance and therefore we are carrying out a thorough review of our policies and procedures, working with the appropriate authorities to ensure that the leisure facilities continue to be safe and enjoyable.”

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