A NOTORIOUS city centre gay “cruising” spot has been raided by police after reports of lewd behaviour in broad daylight in front of appalled visitors.
Officers were seen banging on cubicle doors and questioning men at the public toilets at the foot of the Mound shortly after 3pm on Wednesday.
Earlier in the afternoon, an uncle with his six-year-old nephew reported stumbling on a group of up to 12 men performing sex acts.
“I totally understand that cruising happens in every city but to do it in the public view takes it to another level,” said the 32-year-old supermarket worker from Duddingston.
He was taking his nephew shopping for a pair of trainers and a Hibs top when they unwittingly came across the graphic scenes on a loo break.
One man was “crouched down at another’s groin” while up to ten more were pleasuring themselves. “I just quickly walked out,” he said. “Luckily I had my nephew over my shoulder facing the other direction. I was just so taken aback.”
The shocked shopper phoned the city council to be told officers are aware of the problem but they cannot afford round-the-clock attendants.
“I think from now on I’ll be using toilets within premises as I don’t want to experience anything like that again,” he said.
“It really concerns me that if a child not with an adult was to go into the toilets what situation is that? Children go back to parents and say they’ve seen things. Wouldn’t that then make a parent think someone intentionally indecently exposed themselves to a child?”
The Mound toilets feature on internet message boards as a popular cruising site for gay men. But recent posts warn of increasingly brazen behaviour – with one man reportedly “smacked in the face” for propositioning a non-cruising toilet goer.
“Mind you, this guy is the least discrete person you’ll ever meet,” one user writes. “He’s lucky a gay guy hasn’t smacked him, let alone anyone else.”
A member of the gay community told the Evening News he saw police making their way up the steps of the loos on Wednesday afternoon.
“Two guys were being questioned outside but there was a crowd of guys that came running out just as the police went in,” said the 34-year-old from Portobello.
“We used to always keep telling guys stop the cruising. There is a sauna for that but they don’t listen. I’m gay myself and kind of embarrassed by it.”
A council spokeswoman said: “The council employs a mobile squad of attendants who visit and clean public toilets around the city seven days a week, as has been the case for some time. Any inappropriate behaviour witnessed in public toilets should be reported to Police Scotland.”