POLICE are stepping up patrols in the Northumberland countryside after growing complaints over "dogging" on a secluded former road.
Villagers at Belsay in Northumberland say so-called “dogging” – car occupants meeting for sex – is steadily on the increase. Now police are to tighten up their watch on the site close to the A696 at Nunhill.
Although no arrests have been made, complaints from residents at the exclusive village have grown in recent years.
Local councillor Richard Dodd said: “This has been going on for three or four years and it’s something residents who live within a few hundred yards of have become quite upset over.
“I’ve brought it up before and the police have been involved before but if it’s going to be a constant problem I will pursue it further.
“This is a part of the old road that was there before the A696 was built and you often see half a dozen or so car headlights in there. It’s also used by poachers, and I’ve looked at whether the road can be got rid of – but the problem is there are utilities under there.”
Northumbria Police say they have received a number of reports from locals about people engaging in “inappropriate behaviour”. Officers have moved on motorists found loitering, but have not yet made arrests.
Now “high-profile” patrols will monitor the area and police say they will stop and speak to all motorists found hanging about there. Insp Kevin Oates of East Tynedale police, said: “Local residents near to the area where the cars park up have made a number of complaints to us about what’s going on and we are responding with this action.
“Officers will be visiting the area regularly and carrying out checks on who is using the area and for what purpose. The details of all those found acting suspiciously in the area will be taken by police.
“Anyone who is found to be committing any offences will have action taken against them and we will use powers to move on anyone found causing disorder in the area.”
Asking anyone to report suspicious activity at the site, Insp Oates added: “It is a part of the old road system near to the A696 and we have had a growing number of reports in the last few weeks.
“It is at a low level at the moment but we are going to carry out regular checks.
“The complaints have come from local people and anyone arrested can be charged with indecency or public order offences.”