PUBLIC toilets in Padiham could be closed after complaints that men are using them for ‘unacceptable sexual conduct’.

Neighbourhood Sergeant Mick Burnett has asked the Padiham Town Council for its backing in shutting the toilets outside Padiham Town Hall, in Burnley Road.

But some residents have called for the loos to remain open and supervision to be stepped up.

Sgt Burnett told town councillors at a meeting on Monday evening that the situation was ‘impossible to police’.

Speaking afterwards he said: “This is a problem that has been going on for quite some time. We are still getting complaints from the public and reports from neighbourhood officers.

“The activity is of a sexual nature and involves a number of males. Some have scratched telephone numbers and lewd comments into the anti-vandal paint.

“We can’t have the public feeling intimidated and embarrassed to go in. We are working with Burnley Council with a view to getting the toilets closed.”

Bob Clark, whose Padiham Archive Group uses the town hall, said: “As much as I respect Sgt Burnett, these toilets are central to the town and I am determined to see this building used to the best of its ability.

“I think we should keep the toilets open but supervise it in a proper manner, put up proper signage and allow proper people to continue to use them and not be penalised for the behaviour of others.”

John Kenyon, of Windermere Road, said: “If they close the town hall toilets then these people will just move to the ones on Church Street or Padiham Memorial Park instead.”

Sgt Burnett said: “I would say that the toilets in Church Street would be more difficult for these people to use as there is no free parking and they are more visible to CCTV.”