Ex-cop snares ‘beach pervert’

A dog walker got more than he bargained for when a leisurely walk on the beach ended with him catching a man allegedly performing an obscene act.

Former detective Paul Crossley, 52, was walking his pet French mastiff on the beach near Starr Gate, when he noticed a man touching himself inappropriately while ‘spying’ on an unsuspecting man and two women last Thursday at 5.45pm.

Estate agent Paul Crossley tackled an alleged sex offender who was performing an act in the dunes near Starr Gate in South Shore.
Paul at the scene.  PIC BY ROB LOCK
9-5-2017

Estate agent Paul Crossley tackled an alleged sex offender who was performing an act in the dunes near Starr Gate in South Shore. Paul at the scene. PIC BY ROB LOCK 9-5-2017

He said: “I thought, ‘This is outrageous’. He saw me and he knew that I’d seen him and started walking away.”

After calling the police, Paul, who served with the Metropolitan force, chased the man.

The dad-of-two said: “The young lad ran after him onto the bank going off the beach and the man punched him in the face. When I caught up to him he threw another punch and caught me on the side of my face.

“I thought well, I might be getting on a bit but there’s no way I’m going to let him get away with doing that sort of thing on the beach and then punching the victim.

“We ended up rolling around on the ground for what seemed like an eternity until the police arrived.”

Paul and the young man pinned the suspect to the ground for several minutes, while the two women guided officers to the scene.

Paul, who lives in Lytham and is managing director of Kenricks Estate Agents, said: “He put up an almighty fight.

“He was a big lad and we really struggled holding him down. When he heard the police sirens, it was like he had the strength of 10 men.

“My hands are all bruised and sore.”

The dad-of-two added: “This is supposed to be a family resort. It was a beautiful and quiet night and I was just thinking what a lovely walk I was having. I couldn’t believe it when I saw him.

“I think it’s deplorable that somebody can hide in the sand dunes and do that to people who are just enjoying their day.”

• A 27-year-old St Annes man was arrested and later charged with an offence of outraging public decency and two offences of assault by beating. He appeared at Preston Magistrates’ Court on Saturday and the case was sent to Preston Crown Court.