PEOPLE in Chard are being offered free panic alarms after a spate of indecent exposure incidents in the town.

The alarms – one type a hand-held device and the other a slightly smaller wristwatch-style alarm – have been funded by Avon and Somerset Police and South Somerset District Council.

They are aimed particularly at workers from local shops and pubs in the town who have to walk through the town centre at night to their homes or vehicles.

Sgt Rich Barnett said: “We believe Chard’s a safe place but making these alarms available gives people extra reassurance.

“We and our partners take such incidents extremely seriously and will do whatever we can to protect all members of the public.

“While no-one should have to experience anything like this, a silver lining is that coverage of it has raised people’s awareness of the issue and we’ve had more reports of such incidents.

“That’s really positive because it’s never right for someone to expose himself to vulnerable ladies just because they’e drunk – it’s completely disgusting behaviour.”

A 27-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure in the town in December and bailed until a date in February.

Two other men were arrested and bailed after another report of indecent exposure.

Anyone who feels they need a panic alarm should apply via Chard police station’s front office or from the PCSO on duty in the Guildhall every Thursday between 10am and noon.

People with mobility problems can call 101 and ask the Safer, Stronger Neighbourhoods team to arrange for an alarm to be delivered to them.