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Families want action on perverts

PUBLISHED: 20:00 25 June 2002 | UPDATED: 12:10 03 March 2010

WORRIED families are turning vigilante to drive out perverts using seafront toilets for sex.

In one incident a six-year-old boy went into the loo block on the prom at Felixstowe and saw two men engaged in an indecent act - and ran out screaming when they started to talk to him.

WORRIED families are turning vigilante to drive out perverts using seafront toilets for sex.

In one incident a six-year-old boy went into the loo block on the prom at Felixstowe and saw two men engaged in an indecent act – and ran out screaming when they started to talk to him.

Parents say they had had enough of the behaviour and have "chased out" men who have been loitering in the lavs, which are sited alongside a popular beach used by young children.

They claim there is a "triangle of evil" in which the perverts operate, keeping watch for police and prospective partners.

One hut owner said: "There are men going in those toilets all the time – sometimes for up to 20 minutes or more.

"We all know the dreadful reputation those loos have for indecency.

"But this is a family area where mums and dads and grandparents bring their children to play on the beach and you expect them to be safe.

"I got so angry about what was going on that I went in there. This man was inside and he gave me a salacious grin and I just told him to get out of there and not to come back. He left in a hurry I can tell you.

"I wanted to hit him, but you cannot do that sort of thing. What parents want to know is what we should do about it – do we ring 999 and get the police straight down there, or what? It is absolutely horrible and we all want something done."

The man, who asked not to be named, said Suffolk Coastal council – owners of the toilets next to the East beach at Bath Tap, at the bottom of Bath Hill – should install CCTV to catch the culprits.

People had seen some of the men who frequent the block sitting on the low wall at the bottom of the hill behind the chalets, apparently watching for the police. Another often stood on the prom near the ice cream kiosk, watching people going into the toilets.

One woman was furious after her six year old went into the gents. She said he was saw two men involved in indecency. They spoke to him and he ran out screaming, white-faced and "absolutely terrified".

The loos have had a reputation for unsavoury incidents more than 20 years. Two years ago people put up posters as a protest.

A Felixstowe police spokeswoman said officers were aware of the toilets but there had been no complaints or reports received about the activities inside recently. The force would act if people reported their concerns.

"We have had incidents reported in the past and these have been investigated, but we have had no reports recently," she said.

"If people have problems or concerns they should get in touch with us. If people see or suspect criminal activity, they should contact us immediately and call 999, but if it is something more general people should ring 01473 613500 and we will look into it."

The toilets, which have been branded "a disgrace to the town" not just because of the anti-social behaviour but their dilapidated state, are set to be replaced or completely refurbished.

Work – part of a five-year £500,000 renovation of the district's toilets – was set to have taken place before the summer season but has now been delayed until September because such extensive work is needed.

The century-old loos have been unchanged since Victorian times and generate many complaints from visitors each year because they stink, the latrines and cisterns – all original – are broken and totally unhygienic.

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