Somerset

Paedophile-fear Puxton Park ban blamed on jailed mayor

Philip Judd
Image caption Philip Judd served as Weston-super-Mare's mayor between 2010 and 2011

A ban on lone adults at an adventure park has been blamed on a paedophile ex-mayor - even though his offences have no link to the attraction.

The ban at Puxton Park near Weston-super-Mare came to light when a man was refused entry to a falconry display because he had no children with him.

Puxton Park said it was being "safety conscious" in introducing the ban.

The resort's former mayor Philip Judd was jailed in September for possessing indecent images of children.

'Sinister secrets'

Puxton Park managing director Alistair Mead said the attraction did offer "falconry experience days" for individual adults, but Matthew Richards, from High Littleton near Bath, said he was turned away last week.

"I was told, because I was a single adult I wasn't allowed in," Mr Richards revealed.

Mr Mead defended the policy, saying: "The society in which we live has sadly forced us to implement necessary and stringent child protection policies.

"Mr Judd had visited Puxton Park to undertake a civic duty and his sinister secrets were only recently exposed and he was jailed for his crimes.

"If you cannot trust civic authority figures then, simply, who can you trust?

"It is for this reason we felt it necessary to introduce strict entry rules to ensure we are looking after the welfare of our young visitors at all times."

He said 90% of the park was "children's related play equipment unsuitable for sole adults".

"We would rather be over zealous when unaccompanied adults visit us armed with cameras than put children at any potential risk."

But Mr Richards said: "It made me feel a bit discriminated against. I'm actually a family man. I have three young grandchildren, so child safety is something I think is very important.

"Is it going to get to the situation as a single person you're not allowed to go for a walk in the park, you're not allowed to go to the swimming baths?"

Image copyright Puxton Park
Image caption The park said Matthew Richards' complaint was the "first in seven years"

Judd, 59, was mayor between 2010 and 2011.

He was jailed for 14 months in September after Bristol Crown Court heard he possessed 151 films and 200 images of children.

His crimes have never been linked to Puxton Park.

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