Tough stance call on toilets

POLICE have been called on to take a tough stance over illicit sexual activity in public toilets after in a Suffolk town after it was voted to keep them open.

POLICE have been called on to take a tough stance over illicit sexual activity in public toilets after in a Suffolk town after it was voted to keep them open.

The “illicit behaviour” in toilets in Long Melford was discussed by parish councillors after police launched an investigation into a string of incidents.

Councillors heard that the village had become a hive of illegal activity after the toilets were mentioned on a national website.

But they agreed that closing the toilets in Cordell Road, following an earlier decision to shut the men's toilets at the Rodbridge picnic site, would severely hit Melford's vital tourism industry.

Their recommendation will now be passed on to Babergh District Council, which maintains the toilets and will make a final decision on their future.

Linda Goodban , council clerk, said: “Members felt it was unfair to the majority of well-meaning citizens to close the toilets.

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“In the current economic climate, we feel closing centrally-placed toilets could impact on the tourism trade when we have coaches of people visiting. The employment situation in Long Melford is precarious enough without any further hardship.

“Councillors were horrified to hear how extreme the situation has become with these toilets being advertised on a national website. But there was also some tired resignation that this is an argument we have had for years and one that periodically raises it head.

“Some felt that it will come back again but we have to be seen to be pro-active and to show these people that this behaviour won't be tolerated in the local community.”

Earlier this week, it was revealed that police had launched an investigation into incidents in the public toilets following a string of complaints from parents at the nearby primary school.

Ms Goodban said councillors wanted Babergh to remove obscene graffiti and bring new partitions in as the current ones had “peep holes”.

The parish council also suggested that the toilets could be managed by some “radar key” meaning the facilities would be locked but accessible via a key held by a local person or business.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said its preference remained a temporary closure until the start of the Easter holidays but added: “Officers will continue to patrol the area and deal with anyone found to be acting inappropriately or who we feel needs to provide further explanation as to what they're doing at the toilets.”

A Babergh spokesman said: “We are very concerned about the latest complaints regarding the situation in Cordell Road - and the council is willing to help in whichever it way it can.

“At the moment we are waiting for all the available information to arrive and officers, working with our partners at the parish council and the police, will look with some urgency at what can be done in both the short and long term for these toilets.”

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