GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Deputies are telling the public to stop having sex in a Greenville County park.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous complaints over the years regarding people meeting up for sex in the parking lot, in the woods and out in the open at Pelham Mill Park, located on E. Phillips Road, in Greer.

“Sometimes it’s just individuals. Sometimes it’s more than one. Often times they’re doing it in their vehicles. Often times they’re doing it out in the woods, in the parking lot, really all over on this location,” said Lt. Ryan Flood, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.

Flood said they have not seen anything to this extent when it comes to the frequency and volume that it is occurring. He also said they’re finding it’s people from all age groups.

“When I say volume, I’m talking about going on-site and not just seeing one couple, one or two people–anywhere from 10 to 30 individuals who are on-site at a time engaging in this type of activity,” Flood said.

“It’s been going on for years, but it’s something that we have recently really been trying to address, just because of the number of complaints,” Flood said. “We’re also receiving complaints from families and people who are going out there trying to enjoy this county park and they’re witnessing this type of acts,” he said.

The sheriff’s office said they have conducted extra patrols, canvassed the area and conducted several undercover operations throughout the years.

“We’ve made some A&B–assault and battery. For the undercover officers who have gone out there and they have been groped and touched by the suspect who are trying to engage in this activity, not realizing that the person that they’re engaging with is an undercover deputy,” Flood said.

“People are meeting up using various social media sites and apps, and they’re engaging in sexual activity with others who meet up in that park,” Flood said. “I think a lot of these cases the people don’t necessarily know each other. They’re meeting up on this app, on various apps, and literally communicating with each other– there on-site at the park, getting out of their vehicles and then engaging in these sexual activities,” Flood said.

While they have made some arrests, the problem has continued, deputies said. As a result, innocent bystanders, including children, have witnessed this activity.

“I think it’s very irresponsible and the fact that I’m hearing that they’re doing it during daylight hours where there are little children walking around, that could walk and see what they’re doing, knowing what they’re doing. I think it’s despicable,” said park goer Jessica Vaughan. “I had just only heard the details of it just today, and it’s not something that I would’ve expected, at a place that’s supposed to be peaceful, quiet, just tranquil and there’s people doing that–doing their business where they should not be doing.”

“It’s unfathomable to me. Just because I’ll sit and watch and there’s little children and they’ll go running into the trails and what if they run in to something that they should not be seeing,” Vaughan said.

“I found some objects that are a little shady, but I haven’t seen any people acting strange,” said Vaughan.

“Just scary,” said Mrs. Wolf, a park goer. “It is concerning. Why can’t they just do it in some place that’s not the public place.”

Now the sheriff’s office is warning people and want people to stop.

“Stop! That’s our message. People do not need to be doing this out in public, because people don’t need to be witnessing and seeing this,” Flood said. “It’s illegal. We’re going to arrest you. You’re going to go to jail, but more importantly, innocent eyes might see this. Children might see this. Families who are trying to enjoy the park might see this. They don’t need to see that.”

“Under no circumstance should a young child or community member who is trying to enjoy a peaceful day at a park have to be exposed to this sort of activity. We are continuing our efforts to patrol the area and to identify those who are blatantly exposing themselves and engaging in illegal sexual activity, but we also need the community’s help with reporting this suspicious behavior. More importantly, I want to speak to the people who are committing these acts and simply let them know, that we are familiar with the apps you use to engage in this activity, we know your intentions, and to STOP. There are appropriate places to engage in adult activities, and a public place is not that area. We must think about others when we act, and I ask the community to be considerate of one another and especially our youth.”

Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office said anyone involved could face any number of charges, including indecent exposure.

“Various charges. For the most part, we’re talking about indecent exposure,” Flood said.

If anyone in the community witnesses such activity, they are asked to call the sheriff’s office at (864) 271-5210.