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Are anti-groping vigilantes patrolling Sweden's pools?

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A file image of a woman swimming in Åkeshov, Stockholm. Photo: Simon Paulin/SvD/Scanpix
11:05 CET+01:00
A leisure centre boss in Kalmar in south-eastern Sweden has dismissed as a fabrication media reports of bikini-clad anti-groping vigilantes patrolling the perimeter of the local swimming pool.

The pool started grabbing headlines after British tabloid the Daily Mail ran a report inviting readers to meet the volunteer “groping guards” who “patrol swimming pools in Sweden against migrants molesting female bathers”. 

But swimming pool boss Susanne Gryfelt says the group has only twice visited her leisure centre, the supposed focal point of the sexual attacks. 

“Both times they were just here to speak to the media. We have our own life guards keeping an eye on what happens in the pool,” she told The Local. 

In fact, the photos of bikini-clad vigilantes used to illustrate the British newspaper's article were not even taken at the Kalmar leisure centre. 

"We told the Daily Mail that they couldn't take photos here during a public session. They then went to the pool at Nybro and took them there instead." 

Gryfelt said recent media interest in the pool was having a damaging effect. 

"I'm really tired of this whole thing now. It has disrupted how we work. We didn't have a problem with groping but now we're hearing about girls and women who are afraid to come to our pool." 

One woman had reported an alleged case of molestation to the police, according to Gryfelt, who said the arrival of young refugees in the town had not led to an increase in reports of sexual assault at the pool. 

"Of course it's a challenge when we have a lot of people coming here from different cultures who don't know the written and unwritten rules. Sometimes they can be unruly and splash about a bit, but we don't see that as a major problem,” she said.

Kalmar made headlines in January after 14 women reported being sexually assaulted over New Year. 

A leisure centre in Stockholm also made waves earlier this year when it decided to introduce segregated jacuzzis following reports of groping. 

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The Local has sought a comment from police in Kalmar. 

 

 

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