West Yorkshire brothel owner sent to prison

A MAN who ran a brothel for two years at a house he owned in West Yorkshire has been sent to prison.

Ribchester man will appear in court in January

John Dixon, 54, was given a four-month sentence after a court heard he made £300 a week from the illegal business.

Leeds Crown Court heard police executed a warrant at the property on Wakefield Road, Pontefract, on April 17 last year.

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Felicity Hemlin, prosecuting, said officers spoke to a woman at the premises who admitted she was a “working girl” and the property was being used as a brothel.

Officers spoke to Dixon who admitted that two other women also used the property for prostitution.

He said the women charged clients £35 per “service” and £15 of each payment went to him.

Dixon, also of Wakefield Road, Pontefract, said he had been earning around £300 a week.

Miss Hemlin said: “He accepted he did know it was a brothel and that he set up a website that offered sexual services.”

Dixon pleaded guilty to managing a brothel.

Anthony Sugare, mitigating, said Dixon had owned the property for 15 years but it had only been used as a brothel for the past two years.

He said the premises had previously been a legitimate sauna business but the tenant had stopped paying rent and the property became empty.

Mr Sugare said a woman offered to take over the premises but asked Dixon to set up a website to market the business.

He added: “For the last two years he foolishly took a more active part in the premises. He marketed it and said there were girls available. As a result of men looking at the site, they realised the innuendo of girls being available and business started booming.”

Mr Sugare added: “I am not saying that two wrongs make a right but there are other places in Leeds and other cities where the police turn a blind eye to what’s going on.”

The lawyer also referred to Leeds’s managed red light zone, in Holbeck, where women in the sex trade can operate freely.

He said: “We have in Leeds an area where prostitution is allowed to continue. I am not becoming moral about it in this court - he has pleaded guilty - but that is the way it is going.

“I would suggest it is not as serious as it might first seem.”

The court heard Dixon, a divorcee, has no previous convictions owns an audio shop based in Pontefract town centre.

Mr Sugare said: “The defendant has another business and this was a sideline - if I can put it that way.”

Jailing Dixon, judge James Spencer, QC, said: “It seems to me that, quite cynically, for the past two years you managed a brothel on your premises.

“You managed it in the sense that you permitted it and then took a share of the money that the prostitutes there were able to generate.

“It does seem to me that a prison sentence is manifestly justified.”