A man caught having sex in the bushes at a popular park during a family treasure hunt event has been spared jail.
Colin Lowrie was naked from the waist down, with his trousers around his ankles, romping with a woman just meters away from where parents, children and visitors were having fun at the North Marine Park in South Shields.
The outrageous behaviour on October 29 last year was witnessed by a family who were on a day out with four children, aged between three and 13.
The stunned onlookers were left shocked by what they saw in the family-friendly public place.
Prosecutor Kevin Wardlaw told Newcastle Crown Court: “The park is close to the sea front, pleasure beach an amusement park.
“That afternoon there was a treasure hunt taking place. The place is popular with families and children.
The witnesses described the defendant being naked from the waist down, with trousers around his ankles.Kevin Wardlaw
“The witnesses were walking along a footpath through the park and in the bushes, about 20m from the footpath, was the defendant, who was having consensual sexual intercourse with a woman known to him.
“The witnesses described the defendant being naked from the waist down, with trousers around his ankles.”
The court heard the shocked family contacted the police and the pair fled the park but were quickly traced and arrested.
Lowrie, 21, of no fixed address, admitted outraging public decency.
He has previous convictions for sexual assault relating to an underage girl he met over the internet.
The court heard no charges were brought against the woman he was having sex with in the park due to her “background.”
Mr Recorder Nicholas Lumley QC sentenced Lowrie to a community order for three years with supervision.
The judge told him: “It was a public park in broad daylight.
“Mums, dads, children were there, there was a treasure hunt going on, taking place through the park.
“What you did was run the risk of you being seen by children or their parents.
“I accept you did not deliberately target the park because there were children
there and I don’t believe you intended to be seen, you were just taking whatever opportunity you had to have consensual sex with that woman.
“Your behaviour was very likely to be witnessed by the young and the vulnerable.
“Of course it was shocking to those who bumped into you.”
The court heard Lowrie has problems and vulnerabilities but the judge said his behaviour can be safely managed in the community.
He is already undergoing risk management and monitoring as a result of his last convictions.
Vic Laffey, defending, said: “He is receiving all the help possibly available to him.”