A metal fence has been erected alongside a wooded area, at Skelton, north York, that’s become notorious for dogging and cruising activities.
The work has been supported by the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC) and paid for by a grant of £18,000 pounds from the Community Fund, after complaints by some local people about the layby being used for sexual activity.
The ‘Friends of Skelton Layby Group’ will maintain the fence, which will include cutting back of vegetation and litter picking.
But the fence only covers the area alongside the layby and access is still possible from the road leaving some asking how will that stop it?
Tomorrow (Tuesday) the PFCC, Zoe Metcalf, will be at the layby along with other community leaders to explain how they hope the fence will solve the issues there.
The layby was formed years ago when the A19 was rebuilt to straighten it out.
Ever since it’s been used not only by drivers taking a break but also as a place for people to meet up for ‘al fresco sex’.
The layby has also provided an opportunity for people who are not open about their sexuality to meet others in a similar situation.
Activities at the site in the past have caused problems especially during school holidays and numerous visits from the police have failed to stop it.
However, YorkMix understands, via various online forums, that the fence is proving a deterrent even though access is still possible. It’s thought that the fence will restrict escape should the police turn up.
It’s likely to move the problem to laybys further north though but these are not as close to villages.
The law on dogging – known as cruising if it involves men meeting men – is not that clear.
Sex in public spaces, watched by other people, is not in itself a crime, but it can be if someone who may be offended by it, sees the act.
It isn’t illegal to be in an area with the purpose of meeting other people
The Community Fund has awarded more than £1,872,137 to support more than 249 local projects, all helping to keep your community safe.
Funds from £500 up to £20,000 can be awarded for specific projects that support communities within North Yorkshire to “Be Safe and Feel Safe”, including:
- Diversionary activities for children and young people
- Promoting safety and reducing the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour
- Support for victims
- Improving community cohesion
- Preventing crime and anti-social behaviour
- Supporting the purchase of specific pieces of equipment in key community locations