Police hold ‘family fun’ day in park known for gay cruising

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Police in Croydon have held a ‘family fun’ day in a park that is usually frequented by gay men looking for sex.

The Beaulieu Heights park in Croydon, London, has long been used by the gay community for cruising, with men using the discreet wooded location for decades.

However, in an attempt to change the park’s reputation police held a “family fun” day in the park on Saturday – a week before Pride in London.

According to the Croydon Advertiser, cake stalls, face painting, martial arts demonstrations and a range of police vehicles were among the attractions at the event.

Sergeant Leah MacDonald from South Norwood Safer Neighbourhood team told the newspaper: “Since the 60s the park has been used as a gay cruising location and has developed a reputation as not being somewhere people want to go or take their children.

“We wanted to encourage local people to come and use their park and not feel they have to avoid the area.”

She added that the day was not intended to persecute gay people, saying:”The day was about us telling people that if they have a problem they can come and talk to us, and this refers to the gay community as well.

“If they are on the receiving end of homophobic abuse or persecution we want them to feel they can tell us.”

Last year, Brighton and Hove City Council were accused of allowing bushes to grow tall at a cruising spot, to help obscure men having sex from view.