A Gloucestershire beauty spot has been beset by plenty of “revolting” behaviour over lockdown, according to nearby residents who claim the area has turned into a hotspot for dogging.
Barrow Wake, situated near the scenic village of Birdlip, is one of the county’s most favoured spots but it is fast becoming a haven for those after different joys than the scenery.
Residents have hit out at the “horrendous” behaviour that has started to become more and more common over the course of the Covid pandemic, saying it is damaging what is a “very respectable” area.
A retired woman did not wish to be named, a resident of Birdlip, told the Daily Mail : “This village is very, very respectable, so the villagers are angry that this goes on so close to them.
“[The doggers] do not seem intimidated or embarrassed. But I’ve seen television programmes about these people and it’s to do with others watching. They enjoy an audience!”
Gloucestershire Constabulary said it is fully aware of “this long-standing issue at Barrow Wake” and said it continues to regularly patrol the area.
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Another nearby resident said: “It’s horrendous. A lot of these professional doggers are married, and they are up there morning, noon and night, having sex in broad daylight. It’s revolting.
“They lead a double life. I know in some areas, if sexual offenders are caught the police might send a letter to the address where the car is registered, which then breaks up marriages if the wife sees the letter.
“If you come up the A417 from Gloucester, you can see on the hill that they’re there with their lights on, waiting. People from this village are intimidated.”
A further resident insisted that the people responsible for the upturn in salacious behaviour “are not locals” and saying it was “not in keeping” with the place.
They said: “These people are not locals. They come from far and wide ‘admiring the view’, if you see what I mean.
“This is a lovely village and it’s not in keeping with it. We reported a converted lorry — a horsebox — and people were inside naked in broad daylight at 10am. Extraordinary!”
The Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner, Martin Surl, also complained that he has been propositioned around the area and said he was most annoyed by the “seediness” of the situation.
Mr Surl, who has lived in Birdlip for decades, said: “What annoys me is the seediness of it, the secrecy of it, and what they leave behind.
“It’s heterosexual, it’s homosexual, it’s all types. People come to Barrow Wake because it’s isolated, it’s beautiful. But it should be a place where the villagers can go and not be interrupted by unsavoury behaviour.”
He also told the Mail that while police have “substantial interest in this issue”, further action would require introducing measures such as flood lights, CCTV cameras and re-routing of roads “which we have been asking for for some time”.
Gloucestershire Police have acknowledged the popularity of Barrow Wake among those involved as “a long-standing issue” and say the force is continuing to work with others to find an answer, although there are “no easy solutions”.
A spokesman for Gloucestershire Constabulary said: “We are fully aware of this long-standing issue at Barrow Wake and continue to regularly patrol the area. [We continue] to work with partner agencies to develop a strategy on the broad issue of public sex areas, including installing signs warning against anti-social behaviour … and there is a plan in place to identify the root causes of the problem and to find ways of tackling them.
“Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions and, if you were to drive into the car park, you would not necessarily see any sexual activity taking place.”