SEXUAL exhibitionists and voyeurs are making a beeline for Bolton. Some say people should be able to do whatever legal activities they want so long as they don’t upset others, but others find ‘dogging’ highly inappropriate, writes NEIL BRANDWOOD.

BY day they are the beauty spots enjoyed by families.

But by night they take on a sleazy and sinister aspect as the preferred rendezvous for sexual practices.

According to the website Swinging Heaven, there are a number of locations around Bolton that are highly popular for ‘dogging’.

For the uninitiated, Swinging Heaven gives a full explanation of what is involved.

It says: “Dogging is a predominantly British activity that involves outdoor exhibitionism in car parks, wooded areas and the like.

“The term dogging originated in the early 70s to describe men who spied on couples having sex outdoors. These men would ‘dog’ the couples’ every move in an effort to watch them.

“When the swinging scene discovered that open-air sex has its own special thrill, they began meeting in car-parks, and the doggers found a new and rich supply of voyeuristic fun.

“Moreover, the doggers soon realised that these couples were actively encouraging them to watch, even performing for them, and sometimes allowing them to join in.”

Members of the Swinging Heaven website have recommended the following locations as dogging hot spots, so to prevent any embarrassing encounters, these are the places to avoid during your strolls:

Anglezarke reservoir car park, Scout Lane car park, Entwistle reservoir woods, Winter Hill car park, Moss Bank Park car park, Moses Gate Country Park car park.

United Utilities owns a number of the sites but they declined to comment on the dogging issue.

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said: “Anyone concerned about illegal or inappropriate behaviour in a public space should contact Greater Manchester Police.”

However, the issue has raise concerns from councillors.

Farnworth ward councillor, Jean Gillies said she was “shocked and horrified” to hear about the activities, adding: “I am absolutely appalled. This is a public place where families go and take their children every day and every weekend.

“This is the first I have heard about it and it is totally inappropriate anywhere, especially in a park.

“I think the website needs to be addressing this and take responsibility for advertising this area because for one thing the area doesn’t belong to them, and it’s a family area.

“And I think GMP need to be taking a look at this quite seriously.”

Fellow ward councillor, Maureen Flitcroft said she was previously unaware of the activities, but described them as a “cause for concern”.

She added: “People are entitled to do what they like if they are not breaking the law. But in a public place it does become a wider concern for the community.”

Members of Swinging Heaven have even gone so far as to “rate” each site and offer tips to potential doggers.

Of Anglezarke reservoir, one wrote “Been busy recently — popular with couples during the day looking for a male audience. Some swapping goes on.”

One particularly recommended Entwistle reservoir, saying: “The action up there is becoming better once again as is over Rivington too bring it on…Let’s face it, with all the [police]cuts that’s been made they will have less time for this type of work as long as everyone abides by the rules and you’re discrete there’s no problem.”

Moss Bank Park car park was described as a “good meeting place …had a few successes”, and according to another contributor the car park at Winter Hill is popular “every night of the week.”

The most detailed reviews were for Entwistle reservoir Woods.

One person wrote: “This is an ideal spot for first time or experienced doggers alike. It is now enjoying a much better number of visitors once again… described by a few of the most experienced of the doggers as the best it’s been for ten years.”

From a legal point of view, there is no law against dogging. However, the very nature of it means it can transgress existing laws.

These include outraging public decency contrary to common law, behaviour that is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to other users contrary to the Public Order Act 1986, public lewdness, gross indecency and the offences of exposure.

Doggers have been prosecuted under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and can even find their names being added to the sex offenders register.

The majority of practitioners appear to abide by a strict code of behaviour that have been established within the community.

These include using condoms, respecting public property and not trespassing on private land, driving and parking legally, avoiding attracting the attention of unsuspecting members of the public and maintaining anonymity.

Women are advised against turning up at a dogging location alone.

But again, certain protocols and etiquette are practised to avoid making mistakes and causing offence.

Doggers are advised not to leave their headlights on as this can cause confusion.