A tanning salon receptionist was shocked when a man looking for a prostitute asked her: “Is this the naughty shop?”
The punter left after being told he was in the wrong place and walked up an alleyway to get into flat above the Hemel Hempstead salon, where a woman was running a brothel.
Local businesses and residents in Hemel Hempstead High Street had been complaining about activities at the two bedroom flat, St Albans crown court heard Wednesday 24th September.
Over 7 months, men were seen to be visiting provocatively-dressed, heavily-made up women who were operating from there.
Prosecutor Catherine Rabaiotti said the police raided the High Street flat on 29 January 2013. They found sex toys, condoms, pornographic material, a massage booth, £200 cash and mobile phones. Two diaries were also recovered: they contained a log of takings from the brothel and prices for the services offered.
The woman who lived there was arrested. Text message recovered from her phone included: ‘Hello what ladies are on tonight?’ and ‘How much for two girls?’ Men were requesting the services of ‘Hot Thai Nadia’ and ‘Naughty Vicky.’
Ms Rabaiotti said when the defendant was interviewed she admitted working as a prostitute, but said she did so independently. She said she earned £300 a day. £27,000 in cash went through her bank account in the 7 months. Adverts for the brothel had been placed in newspapers and on adult network sites on the internet.
The 35 year old pleaded guilty to keeping a brothel between 22 June 2012 and 17 January 2013.
Andrew Kerry, defending, said; “She accepts she managed the brothel she was the tenant. She has never denied she is a working girl and other girls were working there.
He said the Thai woman had lived in the UK for 12 years and had no convictions or cautions. For 6 or 7 years she had been a ‘working girl.’
Mr Kerry said she had a serious gambling habit, which involved her losing hundreds and hundreds of pounds every day on the internet. He said that she had not made £27,000 and that the cash going through her account was as a result of her transferring money from other banks.
He argued that she had spent the equivalent of a 10 month sentence on remand while awaiting trial and asked the judge to pass a term that would prevent her returning to prison.
Recorder Patrick Fields agreed and passed a 9 month sentence, meaning she will spend no more time in jail. The judge told her: “Flat 4 was operating as a brothel under your management and directions. The evidence from the local residents is that these premises were a nuisance to the neighbourhood.”
A confiscation hearing will be at a later date.