'Sick person used mirror with camera' to spy on schoolgirls in Northern Ireland leisure centre changing room, says furious mum
Police open investigation
Police are investigating a report that schoolgirls were spied on as they used the changing room of a Northern Ireland leisure centre.
A woman has said her daughter was left traumatised after a person used a mirror with a camera attached in Ballymena's Seven Towers Leisure Centre earlier this month.
Writing on social media, the woman said: "My daughter and other girls were very upset about an incident that happened in the cubicles. Some sick person using a mirror with a camera attached to it was looking at them while they were getting changed.
"I am really furious at what has happened.
"Now my daughter is afraid to go back swimming."
The leisure centre staff are working with the police, but Councillor Donna Anderson said consideration should be given to installing floor to ceiling partitions in all council changing facilities.
She described the incident as "truly shocking" and added: "I want to offer my best wishes to the schoolchildren affected.
"I know the leisure centre is working closely with the police investigation and are doing everything they can to reassure parents, including increasing the number of staff in the changing rooms."
Ms Anderson said shared changing facilities are becoming more common "but they do throw up an increased potential for incidents like this".
"Perhaps council needs to review what can be done to make everyone safer, but particularly with children using shared changing rooms and one possible solution could be ceiling to floor cubicles," she said.
"This was a truly shocking incident and I know it is something that all parents will be alarmed by, but I know the council do take public safety very seriously, demonstrated in the speed at which this incident was reported to the police."
A Mid and East Antrim Council spokeswoman said: "Leisure staff are committed to protecting children and young people and follow robust safeguarding procedures. Council is a member of Leisure Watch.
"Council wishes to reassure visitors that this is an extremely rare incident and more staff will continue to be deployed to cover changing rooms."
PSNI Inspector Michelle O'Neill said: "Police in Ballymena are investigating an incident reported to have taken place in the changing rooms of the local swimming pool on Monday, February 4.
"As part of our enquiries we will be reviewing CCTV footage. Anyone who was using the facilities between 11am and noon and could assist can contact us on 101 quoting reference 1093 04/02/19."