A PERVERT tried to snap a picture beneath a woman's dress as she tied her children's shoelaces.

The police report made by a 38-year-old woman last year was one of three received by Wiltshire Police in the first six months of a new law designed to outlaw "upskirting".

The Voyeurism Act, which came into force in April attempted to stamp out the practice of taking intimate pictures under victims' clothing.

In one incident, a 29-year-old woman told Wiltshire Police she was a victim of upskirting in a swimming pool changing room. Another woman said a man tried to use his phone to take a picture beneath her skirt.

None of the three cases led to convictions.

Across England, 153 allegations were made over the period, although two large police forces – London's Metropolitan Police Service and Bedfordshire Police – refused to respond to a request for information, meaning the true number could be much higher.

The vast majority of incidents involved female victims, taking place in schools, shopping centres and other public spaces.

Campaigners previously complained that the lack of a specific upskirting law meant police were unsure how to deal with allegations, and therefore many crimes went unreported.

Under the new law, a conviction at the magistrates' court would carry a sentence of up to one year in prison and could include a fine.

A more serious offence, tried in the crown court, can carry a sentence of up to two years in prison.

The Voyeurism Act also allows upskirting to be treated as a sexual offence and ensure that the most serious offenders are placed on the sex offenders register.

Campaigner Gina Martin, who spent nearly two years fighting to create a specific upskirting law after two men who took a picture up her skirt at a festival in 2017 went unpunished, welcomed the statistics.

She said: "The Voyeurism Act only came into use eight months ago and the difference in charges and reporting is already up greatly.

"Among those who were charged was a convicted paedophile and a man who police subsequently found had 250,000 indecent images of children.

"Upskirting doesn't exist in a vacuum. Sexual assault and violence is all linked, and I'm just so happy this law is holding those who perpetrate it accountable."

The figures were obtained by the Press Association under Freedom of Information Act rules.