Concerned Grey Lynn, Auckland resident battles to stop public bathroom sex after 'getting nowhere' with police

A public bathroom in Grey Lynn, Auckland, has become the site of an ongoing battle as a concerned resident tries to stop sexual activity happening.   

The bathrooms sit near an intersection with numerous businesses around it, five minutes walk away from Grey Lynn primary school.  

Grey Lynn resident, Trent Pitman, who lives near the public bathrooms, became concerned about happenings in the bathroom when he witnessed the bathrooms being used for sex.  

"I walked into that toilet, walked around a corner, and two guys were going for it," he said.   

A Google Maps street view of the Grey Lynn, Auckland public toilets.
A view of the Gray Lynn public toilets from the street. Photo credit: Google Maps

"The guy just looked at me, and he must have thought I had come in to line up too, and then just turned around and carried on."  

Pitman was "shocked", and he told Newshub, "imagine if I had been a kid?"  

In recent weeks, Pitman has repeatedly called police and alerted the council that a hole had been drilled between two of the cubicles that was reportedly being used for sex.

Auckland Council patched the hole with a metal plate last week, but by Tuesday, the plate had been removed.

A metal plate over a hole in the bathroom stall walls.
The hole was patched by Auckland council but the fix was removed a few days later. Photo credit: Supplied.

After first witnessing the public indecency on January 3, Pitman said he "left, went and sat outside, and I realised what was going on because people were walking in like every five to ten minutes".  

Pitman believed that many of the people entering the bathroom were entering to have sex.  

"It was almost like a constant stream, I was shocked."  

He said people began entering the bathroom for sex at 9:00am and went throughout the day.  

Shocked at the blatant behaviour, Pitman tried to put a stop to the activity.   

"I did end up telling them to leave a couple of times. I approached it quite peacefully and achieved what I wanted to do."  

Pitman said that once he started trying to stop activity in the bathroom, threatening men started parking opposite the bathrooms.

The hole was eventually covered by a metal plate, which was later removed.
The hole was eventually covered by a metal plate, which was later removed. Photo credit: Supplied, Google Maps

"One time I had like three guys around me and I told them 'I'm stopping this, just go home'."

While there was never an escalation of tensions, Pitman said, "a few people said, 'watch out'."  

On Wednesday, January 3, he was near the bathrooms and saw a police officer stopped at the lights nearby.   

"I went 'can you help me? They're having sex in the toilet'."  

Pitman said the cop entered the bathrooms and soon after a man quickly walked out with the cop running behind him telling him to stop.  

The officer talked with the man who had been in the bathrooms before returning and telling Pitman "You're right, that's what they're doing." 

Pitman alleges he was told the issue was a "legal grey-area".  

He told the officer that he was trying to get it shut down because "kids could walk in there".  

He said the cop responded very unprofessionally and said, "maybe that is what these guys want".  

"I was speechless," Pitman said.   

"Wouldn't he just want to shut it down straight away?"  

Police have since confirmed to Newshub, "the behaviour outlined can constitute an indecent act or indecent exposure, which are offences and Police will take action on". 

A selfie of a man wearing a hat and sunglasses on a boat.
Trent Pitman, the concerned resident who reported the activity to police and Auckland council. Photo credit: Supplied

Pitman proceeded to call the police on January 4th and 5th to try and ensure the spot was getting shut down.   

He was again unimpressed with the police response, and alleges that during his second phone call to them he was told "why don't you just cover up the hole yourself?"  

A police spokesperson confirmed "we received a report of information relating to a facility on Great North Road, Grey Lynn, on Friday 4 January around 12.10pm, where it was reported there was damage to the facility.  

"Additionally, two persons were alleged to be engaging in an indecent act in the public space, however had since left the area.   

"A second report was made on Saturday 5 January around 6.30pm regarding similar behaviour.  

Police did not directly respond to Pitman's claims police responded to his concern in an unprofessional manner.  

After calling the police, Pitman said "I got nowhere".   

He then called Auckland Council on January 8th.    

"As soon as I talked to someone he said, 'oh my gosh, what if kids walk in there?' and that was all I wanted to hear."  

The hole was patched over the next day and Pitman said activity seemed to have completely stopped.   

Police said, "Auckland Council were advised of damage to the facility immediately following the initial report".  

After the hole was initially patched over, Pitman said, "now and again, there are people going back but they realised what has happened and walk out two seconds later".    

Pitman emphasised that "people can do what they want, it's their lives, but just do it in privacy".  

However, the hole was confirmed as reopened and back in use on Tuesday.   

A hole drilled between two bathroom cubicles surrounded by ripped paint.
The metal plate had been removed. Photo credit: Supplied

Pitman told Newshub on Tuesday, "she's in full swing. There's a guy waiting outside, doors all shut inside, unbelievable".   

Auckland Council’s Area Manager Waitematā & Ōrakei, Martin Wong, confirmed to Newshub "on 16 January, the Council was alerted to damage at this same facility, where the metal plate contractors had earlier covered up the hole with, had been removed.  

"Today (17 January) Council contractors are scheduled to install a new metal plate over the hole, which will have security screws, to make the panel harder to remove."  

Pitman confirmed the hole had been patched over again on Wednesday. 

A larger metal plate covering the hole.
A more secure metal plate was attached on Wednesday. Photo credit: Supplied

Police told Newshub earlier on Wednesday, before the hole had been repatched, "we’re not immediately aware of there being ongoing issues at the location.  

"Police take reports of indecent acts in public spaces seriously.  

"We understand this sort of offending can cause a great deal of concern amongst members of the community."  

They encouraged people who witness instances of indecent behaviour to report it to 111 if it is actively happening, or to 105 if the report is after the fact.    

The hole between the two bathroom cubicles.
A hole drilled between two public bathroom cubicles. Photo credit: Supplied

Auckland Council contractors lock the facility each evening between 9 and 10pm and also encourage members of the public to report vandalism and graffiti to the council using their online problem reporting tool.  

Pitman said that the council only began locking the bathrooms overnight once he reported the issue.