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POLICE CLOSE GAY LAYBYS; Pick-up point shut down after spate of homophobic attacks.


TWO notorious lay-bys in Warwickshire used as a meeting point for gay men have finally been closed off after years of campaigning.

The laybys - one on the southbound carriageway of the A446 near to junction 4 of the M6, by Coleshill, and the other on the A452 near Little Packington - have become notorious after acquiring a reputation as a pick-up point for sex.

Now police and Highways Agency bosses have closed the laybys for good.

Six years ago Lord and Lady Guernsey, who own the nearby Packington Hall estate, sprayed the top of their fences near the layby with manure in a bid to deter the "passing trade".

A Warwickshire Police spokesman said: "Many people using the laybys have been victims of serious assaults, robbery and blackmail.

"Their vehicles have been damaged and they have been subjected to violent hate crime because they are gay or perceived to be gay by their attackers.

"This has led to a number of indiscriminate attacks against people who have stopped at the laybys and have been mistakenly taken as users of the site."

Lord and Lady Guernsey complained the ground was littered with condoms, lager cans and empty smoke- staining bottles, believed to be used for smoking cannabis.

The roadside fence was also trampled down by men eager to indulge in sexual encounters in the woods.

An undercover investigation revealed that dozens of men from across the country were parking up in the layby every day.

Speaking at the time, estate manager Nick Barlow said: "I don't care whether it is gay men or heterosexual couples using the woods but it is pretty disgusting that families might encounter any of this."


CLOSURE: The layby on the southbound carriageway of the A446, near Coleshill. Picture: RICHARD NELMES
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Feb 22, 2005
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