Police warn of mall peepers

ANNA TURNER
Last updated 16:40 21/12/2012

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Police are warning Christmas shoppers to be on the alert for people covertly filming under womens' skirts at malls.

Four men have been arrested for alleged separate incidents of this at Christchurch's Eastgate shopping mall, Westfield Riccarton and the Eastgate Warehouse over the past three weeks.

"Police have received reports of a number of instances where males have been seen covertly filming under females' skirts using a range of devices - from cell phones to covert camera systems," Detective Sergeant Craig Farrant said.

The arrests have resulted in a large number of charges, which are currently being collated. 

The alleged offenders, aged between 30 and 55, have yet to appear in court.

In another case, a teacher is before the courts on charges relating to an incident at Westfield Riccarton in November. 

Farrant said in all of these cases the victims were unknown to the offenders. 

"Our concern is that once these images are captured there is no control over the potential use or distribution of the material," he said.

Police are urging vigilance.

"It's extremely disappointing that we have to issue such warnings - but we do encourage women to remain vigilant while climbing stairs, using escalators or standing in close confined spaces with others, where they may be susceptible to such activity," Farrant said.

"This type of offending is taken extremely seriously and anyone caught offending in this manner can expect swift action from the police, including arrest and court appearance." 

Anyone who sees any suspicious activity of this type should contact police or mall management immediately. 

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