Police missed chances to bring a takeaway owner to justice earlier for sexual offences against under-age girls, said a judge.
Several witnesses, including a 12-year-old girl, complained about Azad Miah pestering them for sex in exchange for money but no action was taken and he continued for several years.
Judge Peter Hughes QC said Cumbria Constabulary needed to learn lessons and be “ever vigilant” to detect abuse and exploitation of vulnerable people and to take seriously what they said “however chaotic their lives may be”.
Miah, a 44-year-old Bangladeshi, was jailed yesterday for 15 years for paying under-age girls for sex, inciting others to become child prostitutes and running a brothel at his former establishment, the Spice of India in Carlisle city centre.
The married father-of-four paid for the sexual services of two teenagers who were introduced to him by the same woman. One was encouraged to have sex with him for cash when she was 15, while he had a sexual relationship with the other, a heroin addict, when she was aged between 15 and 17.
A jury also found him guilty of inciting three other girls.
Many of the girls were addicted to drugs or came from troubled backgrounds.
Prostitutes at his brothel were also asked to find young girls. The court heard money would change hands at the shop in Botchergate where Miah’s employees and workers from other takeaways would pay for sex. The judge told Miah he hid behind a seemingly respectable business to prey on vulnerable girls whom he sought to draw into “a life of drug dependency and sleazy sex for money”.
His trial at Carlisle Crown Court heard his youngest victim, the 12-year-old, complained to police about him on three occasions in 2008, three years before his arrest.
She said she gave up complaining because nothing was done.
Police finally intervened in December 2010 when one of the other girls he encouraged to be a prostitute spoke about him at a drop-in centre for youngsters with drug and alcohol problems.
Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Geoff Huddleston acknowledged complaints were made previously but the true picture of what was happening was not disclosed until the end of 2010 onwards. He said: “It was a 500-piece jigsaw of which we only had two or three pieces.”