WATCHING obscene content on Valentine’s Day, using recording devices and even urinating on furniture are just some of the reasons people have been banned from Essex libraries.

A Freedom of Information request revealed more than100 people have been banned from libraries in the county since 2016, most commonly for intimidating and aggressive behaviour.

But Essex County Council revealed more uncommon reasons for bans, including one person who is prohibited from Maldon Library for “viewing obscene content” on Valentine’s Day 2017.

Clacton Library banned one person for “accessing inappropriate content” in 2018, and another person for “using a recording device”.

In 2019, a person was banned from Braintree Library for “urination on furniture”.

The year with the highest number of bans issued was 2018, when 50 people were banned across all 74 libraries, but overall numbers dropped significantly in 2020 and 2021 - during the pandemic - to just two bans in each year.

A spokesperson for the county council said: “Pre-pandemic, Essex’s library service averaged 4.5million visits per year. Considering this high number of visits, we have very few incidents of poor customer behaviour and the vast majority of people use their libraries appropriately.

“Banning customers from library services is always a last resort but is an option available should the circumstances mean it is absolutely necessary in order to protect staff.

“All serious harassment or abusive incidents are reported to Essex Police directly.”

The county council’s response to the request listed 146 instances of libraries banning people since 2016.

The most common reason for someone being banned was “intimidating behaviour”, which was listed 46 times, followed by “aggressive behaviour” (21 times) and “inappropriate” and “disruptive behaviour” (eight times each).

Colchester Library had banned the most people by far, at 52 bans overall – higher than the total number for all libraries in any one year – followed by Basildon, which has banned 12 people since 2016.

Other reasons given for the bans included “attempted theft”, “intoxication”, “physical violence” and “threatening behaviour”.

However, 46 libraries have not banned anyone at all since 2016, including Chigwell, Holland, Saffron Waldon and Writtle.

12 libraries, such Great Baddow or Dunmow, have only banned one person during the six years – for “breach acceptable behaviour” and “aggressive behaviour”, respectively.

Libraries and non-essential retail have been allowed to reopen since April 12, 2021.