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tawdry tardree Irish beauty spot sees rise in indecent exposure incidents and 'sexual shenanigans'

Posters have been placed on trees highlighting how members of the public can contact police to report inappropriate behaviour

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Tardree Forest. Credit: Visit Antrim & Newtownabbey

Tardree Forest. Credit: Visit Antrim & Newtownabbey

Tardree Forest. Credit: Visit Antrim & Newtownabbey

A popular Co Antrim beauty spot has needed increased police activity following a rise in reports of indecent exposure, public sexual acts and antisocial behaviour in recent months.

Tardree Forest “hosts a healthy wildlife population with numerous bird species present” and “also provides a place of relaxation and recreation for many visitors, offering panoramic views over Co Antrim and Lough Neagh”, according to the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council website.

However, the PSNI has confirmed that its Antrim Neighbourhood Policing Team has been working in conjunction with forestry services and local councillors to address issues of ‘sexual shenanigans and goings-on’ in the open-space area, following concerns raised by residents and council representatives.

When contacted by the Sunday World, Neighbourhood Sergeant Tate said: "Police are aware of concerns raised by residents and those using the forest for recreational walks and activities about suspicious activity and anti-social behaviour.

"Officers have regularly patrolled the area to provide reassurance and have conducted other operational activity to deter and detect criminal activity.

"During patrols, police have on occasion issued Community Resolution Notices for indecency offences.

"Posters have been placed on trees in the Forest highlighting how members of the public can contact police to report inappropriate behaviour using 101 or 999. Anonymous reporting can be completed using the Crimestoppers Charity on 0800 555 111.

"We would like to reassure the public that Antrim Neighbourhood Policing Team will continue in their efforts to reduce the anti-social behaviour and work with our partners to make Tardree Forest a welcome environment for everyone."

UUP Alderman Paul Michael told the Sunday World that these “unacceptable” actions are “not new” and there have been ongoing incidents of such behaviour “over the last number of years”.

“Local residents are very disturbed clearly by the fact that people would stoop to such a crude act in a place that’s open for all,” he said.

“It’s a lovely area and one of a number of forests round the country where people can go for nice walks and cycles, and sadly we’re looking at headlines where police are now having to issue warning letters to those who would be involved in such rude acts.

"I support the police. It’s unfortunate that it has to come to this, but it’s required to stamp this out.

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"We try to encourage people to use these open spaces for their mental health and wellbeing but sadly there are a minority of people who see this as a place where they can get up to indecent acts of exposure and all of that.

"I do hope that we see prosecutions along the line here because it has to be stamped out once and for all.

"The police clearly have stepped up here and there are a number of properties in and around the Tardree area. It’s sad that action has to have taken place, but that’s where we are.”

A spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Council said: “This is an issue for the PSNI.”

One of Northern Ireland’s oldest forests, Tardree is a prominent feature on the M2 between Antrim and Templepatrick.

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