Police are urging notorious “perverts’ paradise” public toilets in Padiham town centre to be closed.
The gents toilets beneath Padiham Town Hall have become infamous as a seedy sex den down the years.
But despite strong police action, officers are still getting complaints of “unacceptable” sexual behaviour by men using the toilets just yards from the busy high street in Burnley Road.
Padiham Sgt Mick Burnett said repeated operations have failed to stamp out the lurid behaviour and now he is calling for support from town councillors to finally close the facilities.
Speaking at a Padiham Town Council meeting, he said: “We are getting reports, even after all these years, of conduct in the toilets which is not acceptable in a public place.
“This has been going on for some time now. We have tried numerous ways of combatting it which is difficult to do. We are finding it hard to police.
“We are looking for support to close these toilets. We have got toilets up on Church Street around the CCTV cameras.”
Police have worked with the council to stop the problem with anti-vandal paint and taking names and addresses of people misusing the toilets.
But the toilets are mentioned as a hotspot for illicit sexual encounters on numerous adult websites.
Four men were convicted of committing acts of gross indecency in the facilities in 1995 and several years ago a joint operation between Padiham police and Trading Standards saw a haul of pornographic DVDs seized there.
One town centre worker, who did not want to be named, agreed the toilets should finally be closed.
“It is a no-brainer. It has been happening for at least 26 years. The problem is when people from out of town use the toilets and find there is something going on inside.
“These people should be arrested and named and shamed. It’s not good for the image of the town.”
But Bob Clark, who runs the Padiham Archive, want to see the toilets saved.
“I don’t want the toilets to close. They are part of the town hall which is a Grade II listed building.
“I think the toilets just need to be properly policed – maybe with surveillance cameras. In places like Skipton you have a small charge to use them and they are clean, tidy and safe.”
He added: “Even if the toilets are closed it will not resolve the problem – the people who are misusing them will just move on to the next ones.”