POLICE have started patrolling near a beauty sport (above) that has become a magnet for swingers keen to socially undistance as the coronavirus lockdown further crumbles.
Essex Police said it was responding to reports of "lewd behaviour" in the woods in quaint Little Baddow, near Chelmsford.
A force spokesman said: "We have increased our patrols near to woodland in Little Baddow following complaints about anti-social and lewd behaviour.
"We have received reports concerning activity on land near to Hurrells Lane and our community policing team officers have been patrolling the area."
According to locals, randy people are using the woods to breach Covid-19 social distancing guidelines and the activity is going on both night and day.
Sergeant Graham Thomas, of the community policing team, said: “We’ve been carrying out our patrols to try and deter anti-social and lewd behaviour in this beauty spot.
“We understand this activity may be going on both night and day and we’re proactively policing the area, including giving advice to members of the public, carrying out vehicle checks and carrying out uniformed patrols.
SCENE: The car park by the ford in Hurrells Lane is a hot spot (Google)
“We are liaising with the land owner and our partners and I want to reassure you that we will take action against anyone caught committing any offences.
“I want to thank the community for their support and I want to reassure you that the majority of people visiting the area are doing so lawfully.
“We want people to visit this beauty spot and we would urge you to be vigilant and to report any information to us.”
The force is having to work closely with partners including Essex Wildlife Trust and Chelmsford City Council to try to stem the lusty behaviour.
However, the area has been targetted by swingers for several years, with previous reports that police did little to stop it.
COMPLAINT: Extract from 2007 parish council annual report
In the 2007 annual report of Little Baddow Parish Council its chairman Tim Thorogood wrote of his frustration.
He said: "A number of meetings have taken place between the police and the council regarding the use of Hurrells Lane ford area for sexual activities.
"Unfortunately the police seem to be unwilling to discourage such use despite the wishes of our community and we are no further forward in recovering this beauty spot for the benefit of our local community."
A force spokesman said: "We have recently received complaints but are aware there have been issues at this site historically.
"Such activity in a public place is not necessarily illegal in itself unless it causes alarm and distress to others.
"If we do receive a complaint then we will investigate and will seek to prosecute individuals whose activities cause offence to others.
"We have not identified any offences as yet or made any arrests, but we continue to carry out patrols, speak to members of the public and work with the landowner and partners.
"We would urge people to report information to Chelmsford Community Policing Team on 101 or you can report information by visiting www.essex.police.uk.
"Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.""