Man who turned home into sex shop sentenced

A MAN was found to be running an unlicensed sex shop from his home, selling pornographic DVDs by mail order.

When Gary Pickard’s address was searched in March this year 1500 DVDs were seized which if sold at his usual prices could have generated up to £12,000.

Kate Batty prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court yesterday the search was part of a multi-agency operation. Pickard had never applied to Leeds City Council for a license to operate a sex shop.

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A selection of DVDs was sent to the British Board of Film Classification and they had never been given a certificate which meant they were unclassified and could not be sold legally in this country.

She told the court Pickard initially tried to claim he had been operating his shop for about two- and-a-half years but inquiries revealed he had been advertising DVDs for sale since 2003, mainly with a homosexual content.

He had advertised in one publication alone on 21 occasions in two years. Prices ranged from £5-£8 with customers ringing in their orders by telephone.

The 1,500 DVDs seized including 300 with heterosexual content which he said he would have sold at car boot fairs.

Mrs Batty told the court Pickard was cautioned in 2006 for possession of unclassified DVDs.

Pickard, 55, of Parkwood Road, Beeston, Leeds, was given six months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to perform 150 hours of unpaid work after he admitted five specimen charges of having unclassified video recordings and one of using premises as an unlicensed sex shop.

Sentencing him Mr Justice Butterfield said he had carried on the operation over a seven year period providing unclassified DVDs of sex acts.

“You were prepared to supply anyone who ordered them and in so doing you obtained a considerable commercial advantage over those whose business was licensed and operated legitimately.”

The sentence would act as a spur to ensure he stayed on the right side of the law in future.

Pickard will now face financial proceedings with the authorities seeking to recover proceeds of crime.