SEEDY strangers are using sites near to some of the North’s top tourist spots to go ‘dogging.’
Advocates of the kinky practice, which involves adventurous couples performing sex acts in cars or in secluded areas while others watch, have targeted popular family locations like St Mary’s Lighthouse, in North Tyneside, and Beamish, in County Durham.
But the activity falls through a legal loophole, as public sex is not an offence unless it is witnessed by someone who is “outraged” by what they see.
That “get out of jail” card means police forces and councils trying to crack down on the bawdy behaviour have had little success.
Among the scores of dogging sites spread across the North uncovered by the Sunday Sun some are in remarkable places.
That includes, according to one dogging website, a children’s play area in High Spen, Gateshead, where couples should “walk the dog for a few minutes on a Sunday morning for some no strings attached action.”
While on Teesside, raunchy ramblers are getting their kicks below the flight path of Durham Tees Valley Airport.
Another reputed site for the act is near to Beamish Museum where an online writer simply states to other doggers, “Beamish backroads loads of action.”
The popular Washington Wildfowl Park is also near to an alleged dogging site with nearby car parks described as “quiet areas where you don’t get disturbed.”
In County Durham, doggers are said to take to Hamsterley Forest for “lots of outdoor fun in the forest on a weekend.”
Back on Tyneside several sites are identified online as dogging sites including under the Redheugh Bridge, North Shields Fish Quay and in Newcastle’s Exhibition Park.
In Northumberland, even locations near to schools are not safe, with extroverts telling each other to meet within 500 yards of Ovington School.
Though his force launched a crackdown against doggers in the picturesque village of Belsay, Northumberland, last November following complaints from residents about amorous anti-social behaviour, Northumbria Police superintendent Mick Paterson said officers were not aware that it was a particular issue across the county.
He said: “However, we would advise people who are considering taking part in this type of activity that any type of inappropriate behaviour is unacceptable, and officers will take action against those responsible,” he said.
“Anyone concerned about this type of activity taking place should report it to police.”
The North has a long recent history of the bizarre sex craze with the sleepy village of Eglingham in Northumberland, a leafy haven for families and tourists, named a “top site for dogging” in 2004.
While in 2005, Carlisle Council ordered the closure of a popular parking spot on the A69 between Carlisle and Newcastle, near the quiet Cumbrian village of Hayton, near Brampton to try to stamp out the practice.
Around the same time, Causey Arch, near Beamish in County Durham, was named by FHM magazine in its guide to the 50 hottest “s**g spots” in Britain.
Three years ago police in Gateshead launched a crackdown against male doggers meeting in the Follingsby Lane area near Wardley.
But, despite the unwanted infamy, some have managed to see the funny side, with British comedy film Dogging: A Love Story, starring Clash of the Titans Luke Treadaway and filming scenes at the Angel of the North, on Newcastle Quayside and at St Mary’s Lighthouse released in 2009.
But a spokesman for Durham Police rejected the idea that the region had any form of dogging “hotspots.”
“This is not considered to be a particular issue in our force area,” she said.
“However, anyone who takes part in this type of activity can expect that effective police action will be taken against inappropriate behaviour. If anyone has concerns that this is going on in their neighbourhood they should contact their local neighbourhood policing team.
“We don’t believe it would be accurate to describe the areas listed as hotspots.”