Leeds joke shop sign was ‘terrible’ reminder of child sex abuse

The former Loony Bin joke shop on Town Street, Armley.
The former Loony Bin joke shop on Town Street, Armley.

People in Armley have welcomed a move to rid the town of a “terrible reminder” of a paedophile’s abuse of children at a joke shop.

David Slater, who owns the former ‘Loony Bin’ joke shop on Armley Town Street, was jailed indefinitely in January 2012 after he admitted a string of sex assaults on children aged under 13 in his shop as well as at his home in nearby Edinburgh Place.

Coun Alice Smart outside the former Loony Bin joke shop on Armley Town Street

Coun Alice Smart outside the former Loony Bin joke shop on Armley Town Street

Over the last four years, residents’ campaign group All Together Armley, MP Rachel Reeves and Armley councillors have been calling for Leeds City Council to take action at the site.

A Leeds City Council spokeswoman said the council has painted over the ‘Loony Bin’ sign, adding: “We are not looking to progress a compulsory purchase order at this time.

“However, we are looking at measures to secure improvements, which could involve taking formal enforcement action to improve the shop front façade.”

Miss Reeves said: “I am delighted the council have done this. The sign was a terrible reminder of the crimes that took place in that shop. This should now should be the start of the process to deal with the wider structural problems in the building and to re-invigorate that end of Town Street as an attractive place to shop and live.”

David Slater was jailed indefinitely in January 2012

David Slater was jailed indefinitely in January 2012

Coun Alice Smart (Labour/Armley), said: “We are pleased that the council are making improvements to the appearance of this site.

“Not only is the site a visual reminder of the horrendous crimes committed by its former owner but the site has become incredibly rundown and is now a visual eyesore which has had a negative impact on surrounding businesses.

“We are delighted that the council have painted over the shop sign and hope that this will provide some comfort to the local community, but there is still much more to be done.”