01/10/2012 09:37 BST | Updated 02/10/2012 10:32 BST

Men Prosecuted For Consensual Gay Sex Can Have 'Buggery' Criminal Records Overturned

Gay men who were prosecuted for consensual sexual relationships can have their criminal records wiped clean from Monday.

Many of the men convicted continue to have criminal records for gross indecency and buggery - an uncomfortable record to have when applying for jobs and declaring criminal convictions.

There are still believed to be around 16,000 people who have a sexual offences record, despite the action that they took part in now being legal.

It has discouraged many from applying to jobs which require background checks. The offences were decriminalised in 1967.

Gay rights campaigners Stonewall have pushed for the scrapping of laws that criminalised gay sex as part of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: "Thousands of men who've been burdened with homophobic convictions can clear their names and Stonewall stands ready to help them.

"We never forget that the equality we enjoy today came too late for many.

"By correcting these historic injustices we can start to bring closure to a very sad period of this country's history."

The conviction can be scrapped as long as the relationship was consensual, involving a couple both over the age of 16 and was not carried out in a public toilet - which remains illegal.

The act also includes amendments enabling gay and bisexual men convicted of "loitering with intent" under Section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824 to have their convictions scrapped.

Stonewall will publish forms for those who wish to apply to have their convictions scrapped to fill out, and has created a step-by-step guide to the process.

Those who believe they may be eleigible to have convictions scrapped can apply via the Home Office website's online form.