Care staff plagued by sex pests

Cuerden Valley Park
Cuerden Valley Park

Prowling sex pests are making life intolerable for staff at a Lancashire care home.

Visitors to a “dogging” hotspot at Cuerden Valley Park, near Bamber Bridge, are becoming such a nuisance that care staff working nearby say they are afraid to leave their building.

Yet despite regular complaints to police and the owners of a secluded car park, the brazen behaviour of people looking for sex with strangers is blighting the area, say staff at Dixons Farm, in Wigan Road.

“We are scared of going out, especially after dark,” revealed care worker Kelly Tate.

“Most of the staff here are young women and they feel threatened.

“Men are cruising up and down the road outside. No-one has actually been confronted by these people but it is still very unnerving.”

The car park, which is down a leafy lane off Wigan Road, has been a popular location for outdoor sex for more than 20 years, according to the owners of the 650-acre Cuerden Valley Park.

Repeated attempts to eradicate the problem have all failed, admitted park manager Jim Longbottom.

“We have locked the place off in the past, but they have just moved to another car park further up the road,” he said. “All you do is shift the problem somewhere else.

“Most of the time, it has been a meeting place for men. But if female staff at this rest home are feeling under threat, then the problem clearly needs tackling.

“We are regularly in contact with the local police and they have done their best in the past to discourage men from hanging around there. But no sooner do the patrols drive off than the cars start appearing again.”

Dixons Farm is a care home for young adults with challenging behaviour and learning difficulties. Its rear garden backs onto Cuerden Valley Park and is not far from the Stag Lodge Car Park where the ‘doggers’ meet.

Kelly added: “This behaviour is not the sort of thing we want our young people to witness.

“I appreciate we would only be moving the problem somewhere else, but right outside here is not the place for that sort of thing.

“When we first reported this last year the police increased patrols in the area and quite often there was a squad car parked in the lane. That certainly scared the doggers off and the problem almost disappeared for a while.

“But the police can’t be there all the time, they have more important things to attend to. So as the patrols have dropped off the cars have started coming back. Now it’s as bad as ever.

“We have given the odd car registration number to the police and I gather they have cautioned a few people. But it hasn’t stopped them.”

Mr Longbottom explained: “There has been a problem at this car park for more than 20 years to my knowledge. Quite clearly you are never going to stop it, because if we close one car park, they move to the next one.”

Lancashire Police were not available for comment.