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Another sex act in Debenhams - but bosses say it's "isolated" incident

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 17, 2014

By Ruth Mosalski / ruth.mosalski@swwmedia.co.uk / @ruthmosalski

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The Debenhams store in Swansea's Quadrant shopping centre

A MAN has admitted performing a sex act on himself in the toilets of Debenhams in Swansea city centre — and it's the fourth inappropriate incident at the store in 12 months.

Peter Harris, aged 52, said he had been thinking about his ex-girlfriend and "got carried away".

He was seen performing the act by another shopper who said Harris was stood next to him at a urinal in the men's toilets.

Following the latest case a spokesman for Debenhams said it took the safety of its customers very seriously.

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In Harris's case, prosecutor Linda Baker told city magistrates the incident on April 27 "went on for some time".

Other members of the public went into the toilets during the time of the offence at the shop in the Quadrant. The first witness reported it to staff, who called police.

When officers arrived, Harris said: "I know why you're here. I was thinking about my ex-girlfriend and got carried away."

Mrs Baker asked the case to be dealt with by magistrates rather than be sent to crown court, which they agreed with.

Phil Huxtable, representing Harris from Heathfield in Swansea, asked magistrates to order a report from the probation service before sentencing, adding: "My client does have a number of learning difficulties and mental health issues. It's in respect of that probation may want to be involved to investigate this fully." Magistrates agreed and a report was ordered.

Earlier this year a pensioner was ordered to pay a teenage girl compensation after he sexually assaulted her in a lift in the store. In January, Anthony Tierney, 67, of White Gates Court in Skewen, grabbed the 17-year-old by her shoulders and kissed her on her and rubbed her back.

And back in November Toufik Mekkid, aged 45, from High View in Mayhill, was sentenced to a community order for trying to engage a teenager in sexual behaviour in the store's toilet before exposing himself.

On April 27 last year a 60-year-old man with a "high sex-drive" performed a sex act on himself in the toilets. Thomas David Cooper whose address was given as Cwrt Isaf in Birchgrove, was fined £137 and told to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

A spokesman for Debenhams said: "We take the safety of our customers very seriously and our security team remain vigilant and continually focused on any potential misuse of our facilities.

"Our Debenhams Swansea store located in the Quadrant Shopping Centre has several thousand customers per week, some of whom use the toilet facilities. Any incidents that have occurred in our facilities have been isolated.

"As is our standard process we have contacted the police immediately who have duly taken the appropriate action."

Harries, who had pleaded guilty to outraging public decency, was given conditional bail and was told to return to the court next week for sentencing.

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