A NATIONAL Trust car park, a lay-by near a visitor attraction, and a beach-side beauty spot are all on a list of Newquay sites where strangers meet for sex in front of spectators, the Cornish Guardian has learnt.
The underground practice – known as dogging – which involves people performing sex acts in cars or in secluded spots while others watch, has become increasingly prevalent.
Those who take part claim the activity falls through a legal loophole because it is not an offence to have sex in public unless it causes outrage to a witness.
But residents living near problem areas say the daily presence of so-called "doggers" can be "intimidating" – and worry children could be inadvertently exposed to lewd behaviour.
The Cornish Guardian has discovered that Newquay is one of Cornwall's dogging hotspots, with secret sex sites including two National Trust car parks at Holywell Bay and Crantock, an Indian Queen's car park near to the Screech Owl Sanctuary, and a St Columb lay-by just off the bypass towards Wadebridge.
One dogging website says participants at the lay-by need just "drive down, park near a farm gate on the left and flash lights once."
Tom Screech, of the Screech Owl Sanctuary, said he sees doggers visiting the car park near to his property several times a day.
"The other day my wife and I went out to walk our dog. We turned around and there were three different cars parked up – all men. I think it could be really intimidating if you're out on your own. It intimidated me," he said.
A spokesperson for the Meadow Holiday Park, which is located directly next to the Holywell Bay National Trust car park, said: "We always have lots of cars that come and go late at night. It's something you'd rather not have around. This is a family business with kids, so it is a concern."
While the landlord of the St Piran's Inn at Holywell Bay, added: "I see people in the car park three or four times a week, usually at weekends after 11pm. They're not dog-walkers – nobody goes for a walk at this time of night – so they're either late-night fishermen, young boy racers, or doggers.
"It's a massive car park, and apparently they go right into a corner at the back where no one can see them. I don't go looking, but we do hear about it," he added.
A spokesperson for the National Trust said it was "not aware of any issue with the car parks".
A spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said the force is trying to tackle the antisocial behaviour, but its powers to stop it are limited.
"Having sex in a public place is not actually an offence – the offence is one of public indecency, or public nuisance – so it's difficult to enforce any law. We cannot arrest anyone simply for having sex in a public place," he said.
"We are aware of the issue, and we've asked officers to disrupt the problem. We say to people to tell the police about it and we'll see how we can deal with it, but ultimately it's not just down to the police, it's also one for the local authority."