Criminal checks set for donkey operators?

Donkey rides in Mablethorpe during the busy summer season is always a popular attraction with beachgoers and holidaymakers. EMN-150213-092607001
Donkey rides in Mablethorpe during the busy summer season is always a popular attraction with beachgoers and holidaymakers. EMN-150213-092607001

Seaside donkey operators and their assistants could soon be required to undertake criminal record checks as a condition of having their annual licences renewed.

According to East Lindsey District Council’s licensing officer, Adrian Twiddy, such a measure would bring the authority into line with others coastal resorts such as Blackpool.

Welcoming the proposal at a licensing committee meeting, Coun Mick Harness said: “Given the public concern about sexual abuse of children elsewhere, we cannot be too careful.”

Agreement came from committee chairman, Coun George Horton who insisted “This council has to be seen to be doing the right thing.”

Coun Julie Pears revealed her pleasure at taking young members of her family and their friends for donkey rides.

“It’s fabulous tradition that should be celebrated,” she enthused.

However, she agreed that advance criminal checks should be undertaken because the escorts to the donkeys were in physical contact with the children as they helped them on and off the rides.

Councillors want the measure to be introduced in time for the start of the holiday season at Easter, but, before it is implemented, there 
will be consultation with 
the operators themselves - there are four in East Lindsey - and any other interested parties.

Also subject to consultation will be a further meeting recommendation, again submitted by Mr Twiddy, that a formal code of conduct should be drawn up to cover such areas as duty of care to the donkeys, environment, diet, health and tethering.

What do you think? Is this a good move? Email your views to louthleader@jpress.co.uk.