UK Sex Shop News

 2005

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27th December

    Charity Shop Worker Thrown out onto the Street

From the Daily Record

A  charity worker has been suspended after she applied for a licence to open a sex shop.

Helen Beaton was sent home from her local Barnardo's after a complaint about her plans to sell hardcore porn at her clothes shop.

Beaton runs a fashion boutique in Galashiels, Selkirkshire, which has a sideline selling sex aids and lingerie. She had applied for a sex shop licence so she could expand to include hardcore DVDs and videos. But Borders councillors rejected her bid last week after more than 60 objections.

Afterwards, Helen hit out at the town's "repressed" sexual attitudes.

Then someone complained to Barnardo's, claiming Helen was not fit to work in one of their shops.

Shameful Barnardo's last night confirmed they were carrying out an investigation

 

20th December

    Unscrupulous Licensed Rival

From the News and Star A Carlisle porn shop boss was fined 4,000 with more than 1,000 costs today after admitting possessing unlicensed sex videos after around 1,000 tapes were seized in a raid.

Trading SubStandards and police took 33 bags of DVDs and videos, worth around 50,000 from The Parade in William Street in November last year after a tip-off from a rival.

Peter Burns admitted eight charges under the Video Recordings Act. Magistrates heard how his shop, off Botchergate, stocked unlicensed and unclassified videos.

The court heard that an undercover trading standards officer bought a video in the shop on November 16 last year which had no classification certificate.

Later that day, trading standards, police and licensing officials visited the shop and seized 941 videos and 228 DVDs, 296 video cases and 137 DVD cases. Of those, 929 had no classification certificate or were classed as R18 – which only licensed sex shops can sell The Parade does not have a licence.

Geoff Clapp, defending Burns, told magistrates that the case was down to business rivalry: There are two licensed sex shops in Carlisle and two unlicensed. Mr Burns runs one of the unlicensed shops as manager. It was a complaint from one of the licensed shops which led to this. Burns could not afford a licence to sell R18 tapes because it would cost around 11,000.

He said Parade had been selling tapes for around 17 years without any objections. The videos had no British classification because they were imported: Mr Burns has been in this business for a number of years and knows what it is right to sell . Everything he sells is above board and legal except that it hadn't got the certification.

 

16th December

    Supermarket Buzz

From The Telegraph

Asda is to become the first supermarket to stock sex toys, after striking a deal with Durex over its range of vibrators and lubricants.

The move follows Superdrug's decision to stock the toys.

The supermarket chain, which promises that the products will be on a high shelf, out of the reach of children.

Catherine Gort, Durex's marketing manager, said that the decision was a sure sign that as a nation we have become more at ease with our sex lives.

 

12th December

    New Summers Colours

From Brand Republic

Ann Summers has outlined ambitious expansion plans to grow the sex-shop chain by 40%, with up to 50 outlets opening this year and the creation of concept stores, to secure its lead in the sector.

The 121-store chain has faced increasing competition in the past year as traditional retailers, including Boots and Debenhams, have unveiled plans to sell sex toys.

The new-look format for Ann Summers will include an overhaul of shop layout, fixtures and lighting, as well as alternative colours to its turquoise and pink theme.

The Ann Summers Group, which includes the Knickerbox chain, announced a 10% increase in like-for like sales during December, with 1m people visiting its stores in the last eight weeks of 2004.

The first concept store will open in March to coincide with the relaunch of the Ann Summers website, which will be more content-focused and will build on its links with celebrities such as Abi Titmuss, who wear its lingerie.

 

11th December

    Hardcore Problems at Softcore Hustler Hollywoo d

From the Ilford Recorder

Thousands of pounds worth of sex toys and lingerie was auctioned off in Hainault, after one of the UK's largest sex shops failed to pay off its debts.

The goods were seized by bailiffs after Hustler Hollywood, which has stores in London and Birmingham, failed to pay a creditor a substantial sum of money.

Bidding took place at Plaistow Auctions, Fowler Road, Hainault. Hustler Hollywood was the brainchild of Theresa Flynt-Gaerke, the daughter of US pornography magnate Larry Flynt.

The Birmingham store was opened in a blaze of publicity in October 2004, and was billed as the largest sex product outlet in the UK. It stocked lingerie, sex toys, body oils, scented candles, novelties for hen and stag nights, Hustler branded clothing, books and jewellery.

The items sold at auction were bought by one buyer, but there is still some stock left - to go on sale at a date yet to be confirmed. Managing director of Plaistow Auctions, Stephen Zealander, said: We have had sex toys and lingerie before and they are always very popular, especially with the ladies. We expect to have a lot of interest, particularly as Christmas is looming and they make excellent presents.

 

5th December

    Richmond Enriched

Based on an article from the Richmond & Twickenham Times

A sex shop is set to open in Richmond after it was granted a licence. More than a hundred letters of objection were considered.

The Private Shop will replace Private Lines at 111 Kew Road and will be controlled by conditions imposed by Richmond upon Thames Council on Wednesday. Residents' objections that the area, which is both residential and commercial, was not suitable for such an establishment were not considered strong enough for the licensing sub-committee to reject the application.

The licence is required because Darker Enterprises, the applicants, will be selling a significant degree of products intended for use in connection with sexual activity. They plan to exhibit moving pictures, sell R18 rated videos and articles which may be used in acts of restraint.

Clive Sullivan, a management consultant representing Darker Enterprises, argued that issuing the licence would provide the council with more power over the look of the shop then they currently have over Private Lines - which does not require a licence.

He said: We are very happy that the committee has decided to exercise their powers to control the activities of the shop in line with conditions attached to the licence. The law feels that this is the best way for this premises t o be run and the local residents will see the benefits of the action over the fourth coming months.

In agreeing to licence the premises, which will be known as Private Shop, the committee's conditions included: restricting opening hours to Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 8pm excluding all public holidays; to consult with the council's urban design team with regard to the design of the shop front; to ensure that the windows and doors are covered with a material to ensure passers by cannot see in; that there will be no display or advertisement visible outside the shop; that CCTV will be installed; that the council and police will have access to details of employees.

The committee heard from nutters that the premises is situated in a conservation area, which parents, children and people with learning disabilities and drug and alcohol dependency problems regularly pass to use near by help amenities. But Cllr Roger Avins, chairman of the committee explained: It has to be the toughest decision I have had to be involved in since I became chairman of the licensing committee. The sub committee looked at the law and the evidence. The one area we could consider was location. In looking at that we had to take into consideration whether there are any schools. There are no schools within the immediate vicinity. There was nothing we could find that would cause the application to be objected. He believes the licence will result in 111 Kew Road being tidied up.

Darker Enterprises run around 100 sex shops throughout the country and the council accepted that it is fit and proper to run the business. They hope to have the shop up and running within a couple of weeks but will have to wait for a full list of conditions from the council.

Councillor for North Richmond Ward, Philip Taylor, who helped organise the nutters' campaign said: I am disappointed by the decision of the sub committee and hope that the conditions that have been set out are adhered to. I am sure the residents of North Richmond are not going to be happy with the decision of the committee but we have to accept it.

 

3rd December

    Glasgow Hustled

Based on an article from the Evening Times

A sex shop chain owned by American porn icon Larry Flynt want to open their first Scottish store in Glasgow.
Hustler Hollywood, which recently opened its first UK shop in Birmingham, is hunting premises for a 1million store in the city.

Bosses hope the outlet will rival existing adult shop chain Ann Summers and spark "sex wars on the high street".
No site has yet been identified for the Glasgow store, which is planned to be one of 10 for Hustler Hollywood in the UK.

However, bosses today confirmed they were looking for a large store in Buchanan Street, Argyle Street or in the Buchanan Galleries. Hustler Hollywood describes its shops as "conceptual erotica department stores" and they sell sex toys, lingerie and Hustler-branded T-shirts.

However, Flynt's controversial reputation is likely to spark a storm amongst nutters, who have objected to sex shop bids. Jim Coleman, shameful deputy leader of Glasgow City Council, said: It is fair to say Glasgow has so far managed to keep these shops to a minimum. If it is an Ann Summers-type operation, we have one of those in Sauchiehall Street so it would not need a licence.

Hustler Hollywood bosses insisted no hardcore pornography would be on sale so the shop would not need to apply to the council for a special sex shop licence.

Existing company outlets around the world are decked in velvet and leopard skin print, with the adult material displayed in walk-in cubicles, hidden from the view of the passing public. Shops sell body oils, scented candles, novelties for hen and stag nights, books and jewellery.

The store concept is the idea of Theresa Flynt-Gaerke, daughter of Flynt, Flynt-Gaerke insisted the Glasgow store would not be seedy. She said: The target audience we are looking at is couples aged 19-26 .

 

2nd December

    Dundee Fruit Cakes

Based on an article from the Evening Telegraph

A bid to change an existing business in Dundee's Albert Street into a licensed sex shop failed narrowly at a meeting of the city council's licensing committee today.
A
n application for a sex shop licence had been lodged by Morag Wilson for premises at 51-53 Albert Street, known as Desire. The licence would have allowed the shop to sell age-restricted R18 videos.

Objections to the application were received from local nutters, rector of Morgan Academy, the Stobswell Forum, local councillor Elizabeth Fordyce and residents of the area.

Morgan rector Stephen Shaw said he felt very strongly that a licensed sex shop would be completely inappropriate for the community, because of its nature and the clientele it would attract.

Councillor Fordyce, who appeared before the committee, said she and various community agencies had been trying to make the area one where families would want to come to live. Having a sex shop in the area would be detrimental to that aim. Fordyce said there were problems with prostitution in the area which the police had been working to eradicate. She felt a sex shop would compromise those efforts.

Solicitor Wilson McMichael, appearing for applicant Morag Wilson, said she had been operating the premises since March without any complaints. The application for a sex shop licence was to allow the sale of R18 videos, following requests from customers for that service. McMichael submitted letters in support of the application from a number of local traders.

Councillor Joe Morrow moved refusal of the application on the basis it would not be appropriate for the locality, which does not have a sex shop. He said the premises were in an area which was near churches and a school, and were on a main thoroughfare into the city.

Councillor Charles Webster, seconding the motion, said he also had regard to the objection submitted by the rector of Morgan Academy.

Moving approval of the application, councillor Fiona Grant said the issue was not about morality but about someone's right to trade. She said a condition should be attached to the approval stating that only R18 videos should be sold and no other products covered by the sex shop licence.

When the vote was taken the committee was split 4-4.

It was then up to committee convener Bruce Mackie, who had supported Grant's motion to approve the application, to give the casting vote. Councillor Mackie decided to change and use his casting vote to refuse the application in order to maintain the status quo in the area.

 

27th November

    Nutters and Mad Hatters

Based on an article from the Welwyn & Hatfield Times

A sex shop application has been refused despite claims it would benefit the community.

Members of Welwyn Hatfield Council's licensing committee decided not to allow an adult establishment to be incorporated into a newsagent on Manor Parade, Hatfield.

Applicant Linda Parker had planned to sell hardcore magazines and DVDs in an enclosed section of Tony's Discount Wine Merchant.

Over a dozen nutters could barely contain their anger as they listened from the sidelines to her arguments at last Wednesday's meeting.

Her solicitor, Richard Barker, told councillors the shop already stocked a wide range of adult publications which were in full view of youngsters who regularly came in to buy sweets and comics. If the application was granted, he said, all the magazines would be hidden away in the adults only section. To shut your eyes to what's going on at the moment is, in my view, irresponsible, he said. There is a lot of adult material there and there's nothing this council can do about it except grant this application. Existing sales of magazines make up three quarters of the take of the whole shop so the demand is there in the area.

Amid a storm of protest, Parker denied the sex shop would attract "seedy people" claiming customers at her two existing shops came from "all walks of life". It's more in the line of Anne Summers which you can find on any high street. It's done very tastefully. It would be an enhancement to the shops in Hatfield.

The Reverand Nutter Derek Jones, of Christ Church United Reformed Church in Hatfield, said: My concern is that if you start advertising in adult magazines it will attract to the area people with certain sexual appetites. With the shop that close to a primary school we would be putting children at risk.

Committee chairman Colin Couch said it had been a "very borderline case" but the proximity of a primary school and residential housing meant the licence could not be granted.. .[border line dodgy...exactly what is the harm in being near a primary school and why did the council not explain this harm?]

 

23rd November

    Sex Shop Research in Harlow

Based on an article from Herts Essex News

The first sex shop to be granted a licence by Harlow Council will open in the next few weeks. The adults-only Private Shop will replace a newsagents and off-licence in a small row of retail units at Cawley Hatch, in Elizabeth Way.

Darker Enterprises, the company behind the operation, already runs 100 similar outlets throughout England and Wales. It will sell sexual literature, films and sex toys and be strictly off-limits to anyone under the age of 18.

A double door system and window blinds will be installed to prevent young people and nutters from looking in.

The application for a licence was approved by councillors on Monday. Licensing officer Peter Bourn said that back in 2001 the council took a decision to restrict sex shops to only two areas of the town - the Pinnacles and Templefields industrial estates.

Tony Hall (Conservative) asked: How will it be run? Will it be your friendly local sex shop? Sullivan responded: It is not in our best interests to say 'we have got the licence, we can do what we like now'. We aren't going to put the other 100 shops at risk by doing that.

After a five-minute closed session, members voted to grant the licence.

Harlow Civic Society chairman Stan Newens said the group had not discussed the issue of sex shops but added he was pleased restrictions had been placed on the company.

However, Harlow Chamber of Commerce vice-chairman Adrian Archer said: I believe in free trade. It's just part of the way we live now, but as long as the shop front is discreet, that's the main thing.

 

17th November

    Adding to the Climate of Fear

This is an absolute nightmare. Note the use of the word indecent, this is a much milder legal adjective than obscene. Many perfectly legal films with 15/18/R18 rated sex scenes can be considered as indecent even if they would never be considered anywhere near obscene.

This is seriously worrying. The problem is that the courageous decision to fight the case as far as Crown Court has proved counter-productive. We now have a judicial ruling constituting a legal precedent which will hold until it is overruled by a higher court. Since the importer isn`t going to lay out further money on an appeal, the only ways to get this nonsense stopped will be a challenge by an importer big enough to fight a future case to the Court of Appeal or above or to find some MP prepared to introduce primary legislation to amend the law. Not easy!

By Littleman from Inquisition 21st Century

A landmark decision taken by judges at Maidstone Crown Court on the 9th of November 2005 has created a legal precedent that even if a DVD, video, magazine or whatever was legally obtained in the UK, but in your possession while traveling, Customs can seize it, if it contains a single image that they consider to be indecent. This could mean that you lose your home because you own something you bought legally in a high street shop.

Let us imagine for one second a typical scene. You are going on holiday to the continent in your car with your family. In order to while away the journey, your teenaged (18+) children have brought along a portable DVD player with a DVD of, say, 9 songs, which they intend to play on the way. This DVD was bought quite legally in the UK high street and has been classified (censored) by the BBFC and your children are old enough to watch it legally. On the way back you get stopped by customs officers at Dover and, having seen the DVD, they decide that it contains a scene (or even a single image) that could be regarded as indecent. They quote the Customs and Excise Management Act of 1876 to you as justification for its seizure, but then they also quote the Customs and Excise Management Act of 1979 as justification for seizing your car and all its contents. They even strip search you and your family. You all now find yourself standing at the side of the road in Dover with just the clothes you stand up in trying to get home.

You naturally contest the seizure, but you have to travel to over Magistrates at Penchester Road Magistrates Court, which must rate as one of the worst run courts in the whole British Legal system – they have no staff except a security guard and, crucially, no law books or knowledge of the law; even the clerk of the court admits that he has no knowledge of condemnation proceedings so they just wing it based on 'advise' tendered by the Customs Barrister. You have to go here, because even though CEMA 1979 allows Customs to move the hearing to a court nearer your home they won't. They want to cause you the maximum inconvenience in order to try and provoke you into dropping the case.

But you don't drop it, because (a) you feel you are legally in the right, as the DVD was legally obtained in the UK and (b) your car and all its contents are at stake, which can be worth many thousands of pounds. You find yourself confronted by a barrister in court, who shows a still of the indecent image from the video and asks the magistrate to judge whether or not it is indecent (not obscene note – just indecent which is a VERY low hurdle to cross and one that Customs have previously said they wouldn't be using in future: in other words they lied). Dover magistrates almost invariably find in favour of Customs (I've never heard of a single case where an appellant – i.e. you – has ever won). So not only do you lose your car and contents, but you also get hit with thousands of pounds in costs (Customs Barristers charge 150 pounds for each letter they read).

You could of course challenge the magistrate's court decision and appeal to the Crown Court. But by now you are aware that you have to provide a barrister of your own at a cost of thousands of pounds, and of course if you lose then Customs will heap on extra costs so you could end up tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket: indeed you could even lose your home because Customs will obtain a court order within 14 days of the hearing to send the bailiffs in to recover their debt. You could end up financially ruined and living in a hostel.

Sounds a bit far fetched doesn't it? Britain is (was) the envy of the world in that its legal system is fair and if you bought the DVD in a high street shop then you assume its legal to own and re-import.

Well you'd be wrong.

In a landmark decision taken by judges at Maidstone Crown Court on the 9th of November they have created a legal precedent that even if the DVD (video, magazine or whatever) was legally available in the UK, Customs can still seize it if it contains a single image that could be considered to be indecent.

So what is the legal definition of indecent? A leading barrister is quoted as saying:

"No easy definition of indecency exists. The courts have said that this is something that 'offends against the modesty of the average man, offending against recognized standards of propriety at the lower end of the scale'. It depends on the circumstances and current - and in some cases local -
standards. This vagueness is dangerous. Posters for causes such as animal rights, which are deliberately intended to shock their audience, have sometimes had to contend with indecency prosecutions. Indecency is easier to prove than obscenity because there is no defense of public good, there is no need to consider the article as a whole and there is no need to satisfy the 'deprave and corrupt' test."

In other words, it can mean anything that the Customs Officer decides offends his standards of propriety and ultimately it is him (or her) who decides that it is indecent, and you have to appeal against that decision. And what is more, the case is decided on the balance of probabilities (in other words the subjective prejudices of the officer and the magistrate) as to whether it is indeed indecent. Do you still think you'd win if they showed a single still image from the DVD (which is what the judge at Maidstone allowed) completely out of context? Particularly as there is absolutely no defense: you can't quote public good or the fact you bought it from WH Smiths, so the article and the fate of your car and possessions and indeed even your future are weighted on whether the magistrate finds that single image indecent. That, in my opinion, is a huge miscarriage of justice.

Now it is possible that Customs will not use this legal precedent in future cases, but I wouldn't bank on it. They have not shown themselves to be wooly minded liberals in the past and they are going to glory in their new found powers, which are over and above their already draconian powers.

For instance, they could use it not only to confiscate your car but also in order to obtain a search warrant to search your home and computer and who knows what they might find there - there is a lot of child porn going round at present primarily distributed by the FBI and the LAPD (who brazenly admitted that they now control the cp market), so there could well be a CP image lurking on your system that you didn't know about. The next thing you know you are branded a pervert and appear on the violent sex offenders register. Now that's a cheery thought isn't it?

The judge himself had misgivings about his ruling, that much is clear, as he said:

"Mr. Jones [Customs Barrister] submitted that the fact that items were lawfully available in the UK did not mean that they could be necessarily imported and it is this aspect of the case that caused us the most trouble. Although we are satisfied that broadly comparable movies are available in the UK, Parliament has seen fit to maintain the prohibition on the importation of indecent or obscene articles which, of course, include the DVDs in question. Since it is an offence under Section 170(2) of the 1979 Act [CEMA] to be knowingly concerned in attempting to evade the prohibition on the importation of indecent or obscene articles imposed by section 42 of the 1876 [the original Customs and Excise Management Act] we are driven to conclude there is no lawful trade in existence in the UK with regard to articles which are judged to be indecent or obscene and that, accordingly, section 42 is saved by the exemption provided by article 36. It, therefore, follows that this appeal must be dismissed although we recognize that this decision may cause some surprise to the proprietors of the many licensed sex shops in the United Kingdom."

'Surprise' is in my opinion a judicial understatement and it is not only licensed sex shops that will be 'surprised'. The majority of 18 and R18 rated DVDs are pressed overseas, primarily in the Far East where costs are cheaper and they have spent vast sums on automation. Under this ruling the Customs can seize a consignment of these DVDs (or Video Cassettes) if they contain a single frame that Customs consider to be indecent. And it could be months before, assuming the importer/distributor wins the appeal against the seizure, they get them back which could end up breaking the smaller distributors in court costs alone never mind the loss of trade.

But at least they have a trade association which may or may not provide legal/financial backing to fight the case. The individual, i.e. you, has no recourse to such backing and must fight this alone, in court, against a very experienced barrister that knows every trick in the book to make you lose. No blame attaches to him, he is just doing his job; it's the system that is unfair and so archaic in the 21st century. This law was brought in as a result of a moral panic in the late 1800s, led by the tabloid rag of the time the Pall Mall Gazette, that was worried about the importation of smutty images from the continent (Belgium mainly for some reason – the Pall Mall Gazette contended that Belgium was a hotbed of white slavery, which was the moral panic at that time). It has very little relevance to the modern day where the public (but not it seems our political masters) have become a lot more tolerant towards adult material. Customs still inhabit this bygone world and see anything that smacks of smut as being a danger to society. Indeed if you query them on their nonsensical application of this law they say they are 'protecting the public'. Against what exactly? Broadmindedness? Tolerance? A deeper understanding of their own sexuality?

The ramifications attaching to this judgment are immense, particularly in the civil liberties front and as such you'd have thought that there was some sort of legal precedent that actually allowed you to import material that had been classified (censored) by the BBFC. There is of course the case of Conegate V Customs and Excise (2WLR39). This case was brought by David Sullivan (of Asian Babes fame) against a seizure of inflatable sex toys which were considered obscene by Customs. He had to fight his way all the way to the High Court before (after a ruling by the ECHR) he won the case on the basis that the prohibition meant a restraint of the free passage of goods contrary to the Treaty of Rome on the basis that similar articles were legally manufactured and/or available in the UK. However the Customs Barrister successfully claimed that a later ruling in Noncyp heard by Bow Street Stipendiary Magistrate (1989 2WLR39) stated that the prohibition on the importation of obscene/indecent articles was permitted under the Treaty of Rome (in that a state could decide to ban the importation on the basis of protecting public morals) and that Conegate referred to sex toys and could not be applied to this case. The judge decided that even though the articles had been passed by the BBFC there still couldn't be a lawful trade in indecent material in the UK.

The case in question was appealed by an artist who wanted to import certain videos so he could use them as models for a series of drawings he had been commissioned to produce. The videos were recommended to him by the commissioning editor. He checked to see if the videos (which were about spanking) were likely to be seized and was confident that they wouldn't be. The legal advice he got was that they'd be covered by Article 12 of the Human Rights Act as they were to be used in the production of artistic works and anyway there was no sex in them (they were deemed obscene on the basis of a 10 second long piece of footage). The judge ruled out the application of the HRA in customs cases. Customs are evidently above the Human Rights Act, which is bizarre and very worrying. And it also calls into doubt the very future of the BBFC. Do they, in future have to get Customs clearance before they can issue a certificate or will they just issue a warning that you could be held legally liable if you are dumb enough to try and re-import a video you legally purchased in the UK which they passed (censored)?

So what can be done about it? Well it could be appealed, but the appellant does not have the legal expertise or the finances to appeal it (he did well to get that far as a private individual and indeed was praised by the judge for the submission he made) and the reason for him wanting this material has long since gone and he didn't want to get hit with more costs (the judge in this case reduced the costs claimed by Customs by a considerable amount) and no-one in the video distribution industry or any Human Rights Group seem interested so it is doubtful whether it will be. So we are stuck with it.

So the next time you find yourself standing in your holiday clothes at the side of a wet and rainy road on the outskirts of Dover, together with your granny and screaming kids, trying to hitch a ride while Customs are rummaging through your house, then praise the Almighty that you are a citizen of the 'most tolerant nation in Europe'.

You can contact the appellant via the www.inquisition21.com website.

Report from an observer in court

Further to the above account of the Customs trial, I have a number of additional notes by way of appendage as it would be nice to include just one of the most blatant absurdities in this case.

A twist in the tail

As Customs had seized the material, the artist duly notified the party who had commissioned his work to say there was a problem. No doubt aware of the strange practices by UK customs, uninvited, they simply made a new shipment. The video in question was intercepted and viewed by Customs and this time cleared for onward delivery to the artist.

The artist therefore presented the video to the judge as part of his legal case against Customs & Excise together with the original packaging which indicated it had been duly approved for importation by Customs & Excise.

At the end of the trial, the judge ruled that Customs & Excise made a lawful seizure, and that if any part of any article was deemed indecent, the entire shipment is subject to confiscation. These goods were therefore not given to the artist. The judge, gave back the video the artist had submitted as evidence, as it was entirely lawful, knowing this was the very same video that Customs & Excise had objected to and had just been seized.

It would seem the legal precedent that had just been set had been based on a contradiction, as the judge had ruled one video to be indecent and therefore unlawful and withheld it, and judged the other video to be lawful and returned it to the artist. The two videos were the same; this was known to the court, which rather begs a question or two!

There may yet be a sting in the tale as I observed that Customs & Excise made a note of the artist's license plate as he set off on his long journey home.

Court witness

Second report from an observer in court

Comedy in court

The Bench consisted of a judge flanked by two magistrates. The judge who was normally a barrister had no idea as to what the law actually was and kept asking the Customs Barrister what he should rule on.

The Customs Barrister was none the wiser, and despite quoting some criminal laws that did not directly apply to the case in question and he admitted as much, he attempted to look up the law during one of the breaks from court by
borrowing a book from the bench. Nevertheless, the judge seemed to always follow the directions of the barrister, despite the fact they were not based on the actual laws that applied to this case. The barrister even said he was happy for the judge to use the ordinary dictionary in deciding what was
obscene or indecent. It appeared there wasn't a dictionary in the court.

There were many breaks in court proceedings, primarily due to the fact that the Customs censor, a young girl called Sarah, could not either find the right video or find the frames of the video she wanted to show. In the case of the third video, it would not play at all and when something was shown in its place, even the Judge noticed this was the first video being played again.

After most of the time had been wasted while Sarah was playing with the video machine, the Judge simply requested the Customs censor take the stand and asked her if she had reviewed all the material to which she responded with a rather unconvincing yes. He then said he presumed that Customs had shown the worst material to start with which Sarah agreed with. The video with what was deemed to contain the worst scene was the same as the video
the judge gave back to the artist as perfectly legal, that is, presuming the judge did not break the law.

What was most bizarre of all was the fact that it all appeared to be done with with a splash of comedy. Some Hungarian history videos included some spanking and most of the time in court was spent looking for the spanking. No one in court looked either entertained or disturbed by the video, though
the judge was too disturbed by the descriptions of videos readily available in the shops to want to see them, despite the fact that one of them was simply rated 18. The Customs Barrister was unable to define any relevant law, the Bench did not have a clue, but the defendant quoted relevant law, provided supporting evidence, had taken every precaution not to break the law, and despite Customs & Excise suggesting that he had not quoted the Customs & Excise website that made rather a strong case against them, a
printed copy was presented by the artist to the judge and read out in court.

It all appeared to be a one off victory for the little man against the power of the state, but from what unfolded in court, it was as if the judge had ruled that white was black. Customs & Excise changed its website and an artist had a bill with menaces for 1500. What had he done wrong?

Absolutely nothing. What had Customs & Excise done wrong? According to the judge, absolutely nothing.

 

6th November

    Welsh Wind

Based upon a biased article from ic North Wales

Dummies dressed as saucy police officers, a nurse, a masseur, and a judge yesterday adorned the window of a proposed sex shop. The mannequins appeared in Lancaster Square, Conwy - yards from the town's police station. Also on show was a variety of bondage gear, whips, ball and chain and truncheons in the window.

Elderly nutters 'tutted' and predictably spoke of their disgust.

A notice stated: "Best stock in North Wales" with magazines, latex, rubber costumes, uniforms and leather wear, DVD's videos, marital aids as well as a "personal masseur" and 10 video cabins to watch pornographic films.

Builders were yesterday at the site and a sign revealed the sex shop would be opening soon and a licence is being applied for.

Stephen Dickens of Llandudno, has also lodged an alternative application for the building which he owns. He has applied to change the use from a funeral directors shop to a coffee shop/tea rooms. The coffee shop application has been submitted by his company Dickens Properties, of Century House, Wynnstay Road, Colwyn Bay. Dickens last night said he would rather have a coffee shop than a sex shop.

Last month Dickens, said to be Conwy's largest private landlord, was banned by District Judge Andrew Shaw from intimidating, harassing or unlawfully evicting tenants - following a string of complaints against him.

Seedier Enterprises Xtra Ltd, of St Helens Place, High Street, Rhyl, has applied to Conwy's licensing department to turn the building into a sex shop. It has also submitted a plan for another adult shop just off the promenade in Llandudno.

A council spokeswoman said: "We have received many representations on the matter. The application will go before the Licensing Committee for consideration ." It will be discussed by Conwy planning committee next week.
 

Meanwhile Rhyl council said it accepted an apology from the  Llandudno mayor over an alleged sex shop slur. (See Proud to be Prude ). Rhyl town councillors said they now wanted to draw a line under the controversy.

It was sparked when Llandudno mayor Ann Parry objected to a proposed sex shop in the town. She said such a development was more suited to Rhyl or Colwyn Bay, adding Rhyl used to be a nice town but it has gone to the dogs. And she reportedly said: Let Rhyl keep their ideas, we don't want tacky shops here. Her remarks infuriated Rhyl town councillors.

Parry wrote: I am deeply sorry that any offence may have been caused to any resident or member of the town council by the reporting of such comments which were, in my opinion, misrepresented by the articles in question. My comments were made in conjunction with the proposed sex shop development within Llandudno Town; a proposal which I and Llandudno Town Council still thoroughly object to.

She claimed her remarks were sensationalised to cause controversy between the towns which quite naturally provoked sharp reactions from our well-respected neighbours.

The man behind the Llandudno sex shop plans was revealed as Gary Lloyd of Rhyl. He was also bidding to open a second sex shop, in Conwy, in premises owned by Steven Dickens as reported above.

Lloyd vowed to open the Conwy shop before Christmas, whether or not he was granted a licence to sell hardcore DVDs. He said his shops would enhance Conwy and Llandudno as tourist centres: I'm very proud to be part of the community.

 

2nd November

    Belfast Rights Abusers Brought to Book

From The Irish Independent From Newsletter

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has ruled that Belfast City Council ignored a businessman's human rights under the European Convention when it refused to grant him a licence for a sex shop.

Lord Chief Justice Kerr also ruled that the council had breached correct procedures when it accepted late objections to a proposal by Misbehavin' Ltd for a sex establishment in Gresham Street in Belfast.

The court heard that Misbehavin' Limited had applied for a sex establishment licence on May 13 2002 but this had been refused in March 2003 after the council ruled that there was a blanket ban on sex shops in the Gresham Street area.

The council also said it was unacceptable that the proposed outlet would be near to churches and family-orientated shops.

Last September, Misbehavin' Ltd's battle with the council appeared to have been cut short after a judge turned down an application for a judicial review into the decision. Misbehavin' Ltd appealed that ruling and yesterday the Court of Appeal agreed that Belfast City Council's decision was unlawful.

Lawyers acting for Misbehavin' Limited had argued that the council was guilty of procedural unfairness in allowing late objections after the 28-day cut off period. They also claimed it had failed to allow the applicant to properly address the council on its proposal. They also argued that the council had ignored Misbehavin' Ltd human rights under the European Convention.

The court said that only one of 70 objections was received within the 28-day time limit.

The legal costs of the case will have to be paid by the city council, and these are expected to be close to 100,000.

The city council has already fined three sex shop traders for continuing to trade after they were refused a licence.

Belfast Council is now considering a challenge to the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal over its ruling in favour of a Belfast sex shop. Belfast City Council's director of legal services, Ciaran Quigley, has urged members to appeal the decision to the House of Lords. Now facing legal costs of up to 100,000, the city council is investigating the possibility of appealing the Court of Appeal decision.

Richard Gordon QC, a leading expert in human rights legislation, was instructed by Quigley to provide an opinion on the merits of an appeal to the House of Lords. He has told members he is "optimistic" about the prospects of success. A report to members states: It is Mr Gordon's view that the House of Lords is likely to grant leave to appeal even if this is refused by the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland. The decision of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has potentially very serious adverse consequences for the administration of local Government and indeed for public administration as a whole.

In his summary, Gordon cites that there is a "valid argument" that Belfast City Council properly exercised its discretion to admit late objections. Members have agreed in principle to support plans for an appeal. The committee decision is due to be ratified at tonight's monthly council meeting.

 

14th October

updated 2nd November

    Simply Pleasure

Simply Pleasure.comABS stores are renaming all their stores to Simply Pleasure.com to help promote a new brand image. The company is still owned by the same people and they have also purchased a further 11 shops around the country in the last two weeks bringing the total abs stores to 39. 

ABS stores are now stocking shoes lingerie and all stores will be undergoing a complete refit as of next year. First will be are flagship store Simply Pleasure.com in brewer street (currently Pirate of Soho).

 

1st November

    Spirited Away

From a shitty piece in ic Wales , edited for disrespectful slurs

A spirited entrepreneur who opened a sex shop next to Welsh Secretary Peter Hain's Neath office has been killed in a road crash in Spain. Pietro Manca quit Wales last year and he died after being involved in a collision with a car near his new home on the Costa del Sol.

Being abroad did not deter Neath Port Talbot Council officers from alleging that he was running his Little Amsterdam sex shop in Neath without a licence.

Manca enraged Neath MP Peter Hain when he set up the sex and drugs paraphernalia store next door to the minister's constituency base. The shop in Windsor Road eventually closed last year when the summons was issued for Manca to appear before Neath Magistrates Court.

In March 2004 he was fined 4,000 for illegally selling porn videos from the shop in Windsor Road. He was also ordered to pay 7,349 prosecution costs and then boasted outside court: What a result. What's a week's takings - absolutely nothing. I am going to flood Neath with hardcore pornography which I can sell legally through the internet from Spain.

Manca's son said today: We are devastated. The family have all rallied round but I'm so shocked by what has happened.

Pietro Manca's funeral will take place on Wednesday at Swansea Crematorium

 

30th October

    Online Award

From Sex Toys

Award winning adult retailer sextoys.co.uk scoops the prestigious national ETO award for 'Best Online Retailer 2005'.

ETO awardWe are proud to announce that sextoys.co.uk has been awarded the title of 'Best Online Retailer 2005', so you can now rest assured that you are shopping with the very best online adult retailer in the country.

Fending off some strong competition sextoys.co.uk is delighted to have won the prestigious national award for 'Best Online Retailer' in the adult industry, presented by Erotic Trade Only Magazine (ETO).

World class customer service, great range of quality products and easy site navigation are just some of the things that would have swayed the voter's decisions. The winners were those who received the most votes from ETO readers, making these awards the most democratic the adult industry has yet seen.

Sextoys.co.uk is extremely proud to have been recognised and awarded for our excellence, and promise you (our customers) we will endeavour to maintain the highest levels of service that you have come to expect from the UK's number one.

 

24th October

    Age Checking Payment Service Available

From Out-Law.Com

By adding less than two seconds to an e-commerce process, website operators can now check the age, identity and vital status of customers against the UK Electoral Roll, BT directory enquiries, a credit reference database and a mortality database.

The new service to reduce card fraud and assist compliance with legal age restrictions comes from payment service provider Metacharge. Working with 192.com it integrates the automated age and identity checking service with payment processing.

It isn't cheap: at 1.50 per query, Metacharge is targeting only the high-risk operators, in particular the online gaming industry. But the London-based company also points out that fraudulent card usage is costing over 1 million a day in the UK.

Managing Director Scott Law told OUT-LAW that online gaming "is a magnet for fraud". He said that the fastest growing form of identity theft is not phishing; it is taking the identities of dead people and using them to get credit. So a check against a mortality database tells an offshore internet casino if its latest poker player is a corpse.

Anyone with age-restricted goods or services or high value items, like consumer electronics, can benefit, said Law. It may also be of interest to banks taking online credit card applications, although Law is focusing on his gaming industry customer base for now.

This customer base has a good opportunity for growth over the next two years.

With Metacharge's Verify Your Customer (VYC) system, merchants can automatically authorise or decline transactions based on the results. They can also set the system to hold a transaction, triggering a manual check. The customer might then be asked to fax a copy of his driving licence and a utility bill.

About two or three customers in 10 will trigger the need for a manual check. But Law points out that before tools like this, all tests were manual, adding much more significant running costs to gaming operations.

The VYC system runs a geographic IP address lookup. Law says the accuracy of such checks has improved greatly in recent years. It used to be that all AOL accounts looked the same, but not any more, he said.

The first six digits of any credit card identify the issuing bank and country. Metacharge's service reports this information to the merchant together with the country and city submitted by the cardholder and the distance in miles, if any, from his IP address to his street address. Some countries are hotspots for fraud Law is particularly wary of Nigerian, Malaysian and Thai addresses.

The system also reports the number of chargebacks received from the card in use and from the customer's IP address.

The date of birth of the cardholder is also required although lies will likely be spotted and the merchant again has the option to accept or decline or hold the transaction.

 

15th October

    The people with the problem are those who frequent shops like that.

Based on an article from the Belfast Telegraph

A new Northen Ireland adult "sex shop" in Omagh was last night at the centre of a predictable row.

Named Bliss, the shop sells "adult play things" and three days after opening at Old Market Place it is already causing a storm amongst nutters.

The opening of the shop has been attacked by rights abusing town councillor Paddy McGowan. He said the council took a decision six months ago that if an application ever came before it regarding a sex shop in Omagh, it would be totally rejected. He said he believed that such a premises could not open without a licence and he will be raising the "very worrying matter" immediately.

The owner of the shop, however, Ian Brown, hit back that no council had the right to decide what adults could or could not purchase. He also said the shop was orientated towards the novelty hen and stage party industry and was similar in content to an Ann Summers outlet.

Shameful Councillor McGowan replied: I think it is morally wrong and there is no need for it in any town, much less Omagh. He also rejected any notion that he was being narrow-minded. I do not think it is me who has the problem. The people with the problem are those who frequent shops like that.

His angry sentiments were echoed by another shameful councillor Tom Buchanan, who said he was horrified to learn that such a shop would open its doors in an area of town which is frequented by children. I will not rest until it is closed. It is absolute filth and there is no place for it in this town.

Stating that he had been in contact with the council and would now apply for a license, shop owner Brown hit back at the claims: This is 2005 and people are here to enjoy life and it is time moralistic people took a back seat and let them. The stock is some toys, hen and stag and novelty stuff, blow up dolls, lingerie. There are some R18 rated magazines but it is a very soft shop. People want it. It is okay for Ann Summers to come over from England and set up in Belfast and Lisburn but when local people try to do something there is hassle," he said. I wish these people would keep their moral decisions to themselves. Councils are democratically elected but they have no right to make moral decisions for people who do not want them to. People over 18 can make their own decisions.

 

14th October

    Supporting Local Shops

From ic Wales

Plans to open a hard-core sex shop in a Valleys town has prompted more than 100 people to sign a petition - SUPPORTING the move.

Sisters Michelle McConnell and Sharon Bowen have decided to expand their current shop, Lush Lingerie, in Aberdare, and have applied for a licence to sell porn films, adult toys and saucy novelties. And rather than being met with a barrage of protests, the plans have even been backed by a vicar.

Barmaid Tracey Evans, from Aberdare, who signed the petition, said: It's brilliant - saves us from having to go into Cardiff for underwear and novelties while keeping the money in the local economy. In Penywaun, mum of two teenagers Debbie Leach who has also added her name in support, said: It's about time we had something like this in town - I don't see any harm in it for consenting adults.

Retired local Unitarian clergyman Eric Jones has not signed the petition but said: We're living in a much more tolerant, enlightened society now which is good in many ways, though lifting one taboo makes it easy to go even further.

Shop owners Michelle and Sharon said they are delighted so many people are backing them in their new venture.

At their 18-month-old business in Station Road Michelle said: We'd always fancied opening our own shop and, with my buying experience from office work, we stocked up with high quality sensual lingerie, basques, stockings and the like. When other stores improved their underwear, we added sexy toys, novelties and gimmicks in a classy but sexy atmosphere. The R18 films will just help bring more people in.

Councillors at Rhondda Cynon Taf council will consider their application on Monday.

 

10th October

updated 14th October

    Nutters Mad As Hatters in Hatfield

Based on an article from The Welwyn & Hatfield Times

Nutters are threatening to boycott a newsagent after hearing that part of the premises could become a sex shop.

The Welwyn & Hatfield Times reported last week on the application for a sex shop at Tony's Discount Wine Merchant, on Manor Parade in Hatfield Garden Village.

Resident Vicky Hewitt-Day said: I am disgusted that something like this in a very small residential area is even being considered. It already has very hardcore pornographic magazines, added to this there will be a sex shop. There will be people coming in and out of the shop, buying their stuff in full view of these children. I know these things are widely available on the internet, but our community is just not a suitable place for this to be established .

Dennis Pedley, headteacher of nearby Green Lanes Primary School, has written to Welwyn Hatfield Council's licensing committee to object: I share the parents' concerns, this is a local shop that is frequented by vulnerable children buying sweets and their comics. We use the area as part of the local studies and I'm concerned that the children will be asking questions about the nature of the establishment which will be difficult to answer.

Edgware company Robinstone Estate Limited has applied for a sex shop in the rear of the newsagent. Residents have until October 19 to register their objections.
 

Ian G Replies
Resident Vicky Hewitt-Day said: I am disgusted that something like this in a very small residential area is even being considered. It already has very hardcore pornographic magazines, added to this there will be a sex shop. There will be people coming in and out of the shop, buying their stuff in full view of these children. I know these things are widely available on the internet, but our community is just not a suitable place for this to be established.

Well Vicky, if the area isn't suitable then rest assured no one will be buying the products on sale. But as you say the shop already stocks 'very hardcore pornographic magazines' then I guess there is a market for such material in your area and children will already have seen people 'coming in and out buying their stuff'. It would seem the only place that isn't suitable for such a shop is inside your head.

Dennis Pedley, headteacher of nearby Green Lanes Primary School said: I share the parents' concerns, this is a local shop that is frequented by vulnerable children buying sweets and their comics. We use the area as part of the local studies and I'm concerned that the children will be asking questions about the nature of the establishment which will be difficult to answer.

Yes Dennis, it's awful when kids ask questions adults are too ashamed to answer. Goodness knows what impressionable minds make of stories about babies being left by storks or being found under bushes. Just to help you out, how about something along these lines, "Well, it has been a long held belief by the British Establishment that sexual material is something 'we' don't want in 'their' ideal society. Research has however shown that puritanical notions regarding sex as being dirty, filthy and thus taboo are not healthy for society in general and as such those beliefs do not lend themselves to creating a 'nice' society but actually lead to the creation of perverts and undesirables, which is of course exactly the opposite of what those beliefs were intended to do. Sex is a natural part of the life process and as such we should embrace it with as much relish and gusto as we do eating, sleeping and exercise."

 

6th October

    One Sex Shop, One Rights Abusing Council

Based on an article from Shropshire Star

The joint owners of a Shrewsbury sex shop which has been operating for nearly two months without a licence have lost the latest round in the business's battle to expand its operation.

Peter Hughes and Mark Haines, owners of the S X Warehouse in Harlescott, applied to council bosses for a full sex shop licence to enable it to sell explicit R18 DVDs and videos.

The premises have been open unlicensed since August so are limited to only using 30 per cent of the floor space to display goods.

But in a meeting yesterday members of Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council's Licensing and Safety Committee refused to overturn a 22-year-old law which only permits one sex shop to operate in the borough.

The town already has one sex shop on Wyle Cop in the town centre.

At yesterday's meeting Hughes said the shop was tastefully run and no one had complained about the business, with the owners even collating a petition in support of it.

 

6th October

    Herts and Minds

Based on an article from Herts Essex News

An unlicensed sex shop is set to open in Hertford town centre next Saturday in Market Place, two doors away from the tourist information centre.

Wendy Stevenson insists that her shop, SA Lingerie, will be tasteful. The front of the store, including the window display, will be devoted to ladies' lingerie, although there will also be a dancing pole as part of the design. The adult section, featuring sex toys and other naughty novelties, will be at the back of the premises and strictly for over-18s only.

She said: There has been nothing like this in Hertford before. It's not some seedy sex shop, it's going to be very tasteful and feminine, aimed at woman, but I want couples and men to feel welcome too. I know some people may object, but I won't be selling pornographic magazines, which are readily available on the High Street anyway, or DVDs, which I hope will relieve people's worries.

Unfortunately, people have a lot of preconceived ideas about adult stores with blacked-out windows, but it's not going to be like that. People are much more aware of their sexuality these days and the success of our parties shows that people realise it's out there.


The shop, which is a listed building and was formerly a florist and a children's footwear store, does not require planning permission because it will remain a retail outlet. Based on the products it will be selling, it is unlikely to need a licence.

Town centre manager John Barber said: I've nothing against sex shops, although it wouldn't be the location I'd choose in an ideal world. The tourist information office is trying to sell the town as a historic place with something to see and this isn't everyone' s cup of tea. However, you can't tell people where to open a shop, you have to set up where you think you can make a living and as long as it abides by taste and the law, doesn't flaunt it in people's faces and the business is carried out in a professional way, then I can't see a problem.

 

3rd October

    One Sex Shop...One Rights Abusing Council

Based on an article from Shropshire Star

The owners of a Shrewsbury sex shop which has been operating for nearly two months without a licence look set to lose the latest round in their fight to expand the business.

S X Warehouse has been open since August. The owners now want permission to be allowed to operate as a fully licensed sex shop and hence be able to sell R18 hardcore movies.

But council officials have refused to change a 22-year-old law, which only permits one sex shop to operate in the borough and on Tuesday councillors will be asked to reject the application.

But the company's owners Peter Hughes and Mark Haines have vowed to appeal if the decision goes against them.

The store has been open on Greenwood Industrial Estate, Harlescott, since August 1. The business partners, who are both from Oswestry, are able to operate without breaking the law as they are not selling DVDs and are only using a percentage of the shop floor to display goods.

 

27th September

    Underwear on Display

Based on an article from Eastbourne Today

A sex shop will be allowed to display lingerie in its window in a bid attract more couples and women, and fewer 'seedy' customers.

The owners of Pillow Talk in Upperton Road have overturned a council condition to black out the windows of the shop.

Councillors had been concerned about the impression the shop would make on children and visitors to the town.
They also claimed shoppers would be unwittingly misled by the underwear in the window and would be shocked at the explicit products on sale inside.

But on magistrates decided to uphold the appeal of Alan Butler, the owner of Pillow Talk and 12 other sex shops, and he will now be able to be able to display lingerie provided it's not made from leather, PVC, vinyl or plastic. They also ordered sex aids, sex toys, adult magazines, bondage and fetish equipment or clothing must not be displayed.

Kelly German, representing the company, said, 'He wants the shop to integrate with the local area, not to stick out like a sore thumb. He doesn't want to mislead the public and he has a great deal of experience in this field. If he is allowed a lingerie display he would be able to attract more couples and women, rather than just the seedier element.

Cllr Barry Taylor, chairman of the licensing committee which imposed the condition to black out the window, was called before the appeal. He said,' We had concerns because it was within the gateway to Eastbourne and close to the station and the library. We felt the general public could be drawn in by the window display, unaware that it was a sex shop. We were protecting the people who may have been fooled into thinking it was an ordinary lingerie shop.

 

20th September

Updated 22nd Sept

    Nutters win in Aylesbury

Based on an article from Aylesbury Today

Plans for a sex shop to open in Aylesbury town centre were turned down on Monday after hundreds of objections from the public.

The decision was met with a round of applause from the public gallery when Aylesbury Vale District Council's licensing committee voted to reject the sex shop licence application for a new store in Buckingham Street.

Nutters had placed an advertisement in The Bucks Herald which resulted in almost 200 responses. Petitions were also collected by nearby supermarket, Sainsbury's, which was concerned about the sex shop having an adverse affect on its store.

The application was made by Darker Enterprises, which had previously attempted to gain a licence for the unlicensed adult shop currently operating in Cambridge Street.

The latest submission was to transform 6, Buckingham Street into a fully licensed sex shop. The shop previously operated as a bridal wear shop and currently stands empty.

The application  attracted 147 letters of complaint to the council. A further 200 signatures were collected by Sainsbury's which is located opposite the proposed shop.

Clive Sullivan, a legal representative for Darker Enterprises, argued that the shop would not be detrimental to the local area and invited the council to impose a number of conditions to minimise any negative impact the shop may have.

Update: Nutter Sensitivities

One of the local coucillors today got the police to visit the shop because she felt the window display depicted her!!

The sales assistant has been threatened with court action if certain items are not removed. This includes a shopping trolley (the ones the grannies use) and newspaper...

 

17th September

    Human Rights Abusers Found Out In Belfast

The Belfast Council made it clear that they were putting there own moral views ahead of the law by operating a blanket ban and have rightfully been found out to be abusers of their authority. They should also be forced to compensate the shop for trade lost due to the unlawful licence refusal. Perhaps the councilors themselves should be surcharged and made to pay out of their own pockets.

Based on an article from News Letter

An appeal court ruling in favour of a Belfast sex shop owner could set an important precedent, a city councillor warned last night. Belfast City Council was found to have ignored a businessman's human rights when it refused to grant him a licence for his sex shop, Miss Behavin'.

Lord Chief Justice Kerr also told the Court of Appeal that the council had not followed the correct procedure when it accepted late objections to a proposal by Miss Behavin' for a sex establishment in Gresham Street.

The shop's owner applied for a licence in May 2002 but it was refused in March 2003 when Belfast City Council announced a blanket ban on sex shops in the Gresham Street area.

The council also said it was unacceptable that the proposed outlet would be near to churches and family-orientated shops.

In September last year, Miss Behavin's battle with the council appeared to have been cut short after Mr Justice Weatherup turned down an application by the company for a judicial review into the decision.

But Miss Behavin' appealed the ruling and, yesterday, Lord Chief Justice Kerr, Lord Justice Shiel and Mr Justice Hart agreed that Belfast City Council's decision was unlawful. The Lord Chief Justice said legal costs will have to be paid by the city council and these are expected to be in the region of 100,000.

Yesterday lawyers acting on behalf of Miss Behavin's owner welcomed the ruling but the shameful Ulster Unionist Jim Rodgers said a deeply worrying precedent had been set. The human rights excuse is being used left, right and centre and I will be asking for a report on this. It is absolutely horrendous. Human rights has gone mad. I'm all for human rights being protected but.. I don't think this ruling is in the best interests of the city.

A spokesman for Belfast City Council said: The council only received the judgment earlier today. It is a lengthy and complicated document, which currently is being considered by the council. Therefore, the council has no comment to make at this time.

 

15th September

    Nice 'n' Naughty, Nice t' Staff

Based on an article from ic Cheshire

A  Chester-based sex shop chain has become the first business in the adult industry to receive an Investors in People award. Nice 'n' Naughty,, which has branches throughout the North West and North Wales, won the internationally recognised accolade after eight months of assessments of working conditions.

Director Simon Prescott said the company's achievement signalled that mainstream attitudes to the sex industry were changing: It's unheard of for an adult company to get an Investors in People award, so we are made up. The assessors were impressed with the way we treat our staff. They get good wages, conditions, health benefits and even gym membership. So it's easy for us to attract good-quality staff.

Hopefully this award will break down barriers and change people's perceptions of sex shops as seedy back street premises with boarded-up windows. Our shops are nothing like that. They are clean and our managers are dressed in corporate uniform. We wanted to create an atmosphere in which couples would feel comfortable.

 

12th September

    Summers Hyper

Based on an article from ic Wales

A large sex superstore couldn't help boasting yesterday when it opened its doors with the biggest selection of lingerie, handcuffs and PVC wear in the country. At 4,000sqft, Ann Summers in Cardiff's Queen Street is three times bigger than its normal high street shops.

The chain, famed for its sales parties and spicy stores, picked the capital for its first superstore after discovering Welsh consumers are among the most enthusiastic devotees of its risque products. Chief Executive Jacqueline Gold said: Wales has always been a very good part of the country for us with some of the highest sales of any area. It seemed a good place to trial this new store.

The company's top selling products in Wales include the Rampant Rabbit vibrator and edible thongs as well as masseuse-style lingerie.

The new store stocks the old favourites that have made the company's name but will also sell new ranges exclusive to Cardiff such as shoes and home accessories. If it's romance you want rather than lust, customers can buy scented candles and even rose petals to strew in the path of their beloved.

There is a brand new range of bondage equipment, complete with animal print basques and matching cuffs, and one entire wall is occupied by serried ranks of vibrators and other sex toys.

Gold said that attitudes had changed since she started selling sex toys to women. At the first parties girls were giggling at the vibrators. Now customers are much more product aware and they are more interested in sizes, speeds and shapes. I think Ann Summers can take some credit for that, certainly making sex toys much more accessible.

 

10th September

    Proud to be Prude

Based on an article from ic NorthWales

Rhyl businessman Gary Lloyd has submitted a licensing application to Conwy County Borough Council to sell erotic DVDs and videos on the corner of Mostyn Street and St George's Place, Llandudno.

The shameful mayor of Llandudno, Ann Parry, expressed outrage at proposals for an adult store on Llandudno's main street and claimed such outlets are more suited to Rhyl and Colwyn Bay. Talking of the application lodged by Seedier Enterprises Xtra, she commented: We don't want that sort of thing in Llandudno. We are a Victorian town, what would our ancestors think? The Victorians had good standards and principles. The population is older here and Llandudno is very much an elderly resort.

Cllr Parry went on to say such a shop would be bringing Llandudno down to Rhyl's level . People come from all over to Llandudno, it is a beautiful resort. Rhyl used to be a nice town, but it's gone to the dogs. Let Rhyl keep their ideas, we don't want tacky shops here!

 

8th September

    Wrong Sort of Nutters Ignored in Gosport

Based on an article from Portsmouth Today

Utopia, in Forton Road, already sells sex toys, games and outfits. Now it will start stocking hard-core pornography as it has just received a licence from Gosport Borough Council.

But the decision has predictably outraged some nutters, who fear it will attract 'the wrong sort of person'.
They are complaining the shop is too close to a children's playground and is passed by dozens of pupils on their way to school every day.

Among those who have joined the campaign against the sex shop is shameful Forton ward councillor Keith Farr, who said: 'It worries me that there is a sex shop almost opposite a park where children play.'

Owner Nicola Mundy said: This is a legal business selling legal items and we pay our rates the same as everyone else. We have CCTV cameras monitoring the entrance, which is sectioned into two parts so we can see if any under 18s are coming in.'

 

3rd September

    Private Mail Order Warning

Um... a bit of bummer if you are unwilling or unable to get to the nearest shop. Perhaps the Private Shops are going to have to fight another battle with Trading Standards...

From the bgafd forum

I ordered via the Private Shops Ads in the Sport, for the College Girls Teens sex, Baby Sitters set , 14, 15, 16, 17 18, & Teen sensation. For the price of 32.99.

The cheque was cashed about 2 weeks ago, after the order was sent on Aug12.

Today got a Letter, "Product Voucher" due to the lawR18 DVD can't be sold via mail order...blah blah, please go to the local sex shop to collect.

Phone local Private Shop , no longer stock , but will give same sort of DVD.

 

2nd  September

    Stay Away from Staid Worthing

From Yahoo News

A group of women who wore hot pants and corsets to a street carnival have been told to cover up by police. They were informed they could only take part in the event for Worthing Rotary Carnival in West Sussex, if they put more clothes on.

Some of the 18-25 year olds, representing Secrets lingerie shop, had dressed as bunny girls and nurses. But it was the six who wore only corsets, frilly hot pants and stockings to the Bank Holiday Monday charity event who made officers hot under the collar.

Sergeant Andy Westwood of Sussex Police, who was supervising the event, said: I thought it was inappropriate for young women to walk through Worthing High Street in knickers and bras. I asked them to dress themselves more appropriately before I allowed them in the parade. What they were wearing was bedroom attire ... I asked them to put more clothes on. I wasn't really looking at this from a criminal offence point of view, I was looking at it as a family event. [Although] if a member of the public had been offended they could have committed a public offence.

Secrets owner Victoria Zoutewelle, whose idea it was to join the carnival in the seaside town where her business is, said she thought the incident was amusing. I don't think it [the underwear] was that bad , she said. Fair enough if it was really erotic but it wasn't .

After the women changed into less revealing policewomen, maid and Little Miss Muffet costumes they were were allowed to take part and their float won first prize in the business category.

 

27th August

    A Good Move

Based on an article from the Galway Independent

The owner of an adult shop has said that business is booming since he moved to a city centre location.

High Society owner Mike Fitzgerald said his move from 180 Bohermore to Lower Abbeygate Street was the best move he could have made.

Fitzgerald's business hit the headlines in July 2004 after local Bohermore residents organised a series of protests in a bid to move the shop out of their area. He finally moved to his new premises in June.

He told the Galway Independent this week that business was going from strength to strength since the move. It's been a good move , said Fitzgerald, insisting that he has had a very good reception from customers and other traders since. It's a commercial area so there shouldn't be any problems.

Fitzgerald said that the sex shop industry was booming in Galway, with another sex shop recently opened in the Liosban Estate and another due to open shortly: I did all the hard work and then everyone else moves in .

Since moving, Fitzgerald said that his customer base has split 50/50 between men and women, with women becoming increasingly interested in his lingerie wear. So much so, in fact that Fitzgerald is branching out and opening his new store 'Leather and Lace' on the ground floor of the building that currently houses 'High Society' on Lower Abbeygate Street.

 

26th August

    Self Proclaimed Seedier Enterprises

Sounds like someone with a sense of humour is involved in this application

Based on an article from ic NorthWales

Two sex shops - one including private viewing booths - could be set to open in North Wales. Applications have been lodged for a sex shop in Llandudno and a "private adult shop" in Conwy. Neighbours of the proposed shop in Conwy last night reacted angrily to the plan.

The proposal would see the former Co-operative Funeral Director transformed into a Seedier Enterprises Xtra (SEX) Ltd adult shop. The Conwy plan would see 10 "viewing booths" built, where customers can retire to watch pornographic films in privacy. Visitors would also be offered a "personal masseur" in the shop, which would sell DVDs, videos, uniforms, bondage equipment, leatherwear, marital aids and latex and rubber wear.

The building on Lancaster Square has been shut since the funeral director, which employed only two people, closed last summer after two years' trading. A sign in the premises' windows says the new shop would contain the biggest stock of adult material in North Wales.

Another plan has been lodged for a sex shop at the former Barratts shoe shop on St George's Place, just off the promenade, in Llandudno.

A spokeswoman for Conwy County Borough Council said they had received formal applications for sex establishments in Conwy and Llandudno.

 

22nd August

    Infantile Nutter Wants to Crush Sex Shop Applicants

Based on an article from Metro News

A schoolgirl is campaigning to block a proposed sex shop which, if it got planning permission, would open on her route to school. She fears that visitors to the shop could include "paedophiles, perverts and rapists".

Georgia-May Quinn, 12, attends the Loreto Grammar School in Altrincham and walks past the currently empty shop on the corner of Shaws Road and Greenwood Street.

Red Rock UK Ltd wants to open an adult store but the application has met with resistance from councillors, nutters  and the shameful Graham Brady MP, who said it would make the market quarter a "no-go area for families"

In a letter to the council she says: I am writing to you to tell you how strongly I oppose the idea of having an adult shop in Altrincham. If we let these people have their way and get their filthy shop then we let something terrible happen. This shop will attract paedophiles, perverts and rapists. As well as the fact that the crime rate may rise, we will be letting children in the community get contaminated. Altrincham will become an alleyway of crime with strange people hanging around when children are walking home from school as it is a direct route from Loreto Grammar School which I attend. I do hope you take my points seriously and help me crush the people who are giving Altrincham a bad name.

The date for public objections passed last week and council officers are currently drafting a report that is due to go before the public protection regulatory committee on September 1.

Altrincham ward's shameful Cllr Stephen Ogden said: I wrote to Georgia-May today on this matter. I share her sentiments [even wanting to crush the applicants?] and I've registered my strong personal objection to the licensing application. I have great admiration for Georgia-May and her campaign. It is always good to see young people taking an active role. Local residents of all ages can make a difference in matters such as this.

 

16th August

    Outdated Nutters Win

Based on an article from The Scotsman

Councillors voted unanimously against Alan Cameron's bid to convert a Leith Walk launderette into Sinsations during a planning meeting on Friday.

They were cheered by nutters who attended the meeting. They had previously sent 50 letters of opposition to Edinburgh City Council, as well as a petition with 50 signatures. The plans had also been opposed by the World Conquerors Christian Centre and Lorne Community Council.

Their main concerns had supposedly been the impact on children attending nearby Lorne Primary School. Local councillor Phil Attridge said he could not believe neither the police nor council officials had pointed out the close proximity of the primary school before it reached the planning committee last Friday. The applicant had argued that the windows would be blacked out, but in an area where all the shops are quite bright that would just have made it stand out more - especially if it has 'Sinsations' written over the door. It is just an unsuitable setting. No-one at the meeting was moralising about this, we all know the city has sex shops. But this was never going to be a suitable location and quite rightly the council have turned it down and said that area is not suitable for a sex shop. If he had applied for a site away from a school, there would still have been complaints but at least he would have had a case to argue.

He said Sinsations should be used as a test case for the council to refer to in future applications from people who want to open similar establishments.

Cllr Attridge added: There was a question about drawing up guidance on this for anyone in future who is considering opening a sex shop, and I think that would be a welcome move. It could not be done in terms of setting aside a certain area as suitable for a sex shop, but certainly, guidelines on where a sex shop simply will not be allowed would prove very helpful. The applicant here has wasted 1000 on this application. He said that he wasn't selling anything worse than stuff sold on the High Street in HMV, but if that's the case it's even more of a waste of his money as there would have been no reason to apply for a licence to sell hardcore sex films

 

12th August

    Hell and Damnation in Ashton

Based on an article from The Tameside Advertiser

A sex shop has been given the go-ahead in Ashton despite nutter opposition from shopkeepers and church leaders. Michael Oldfield was granted a licence by councillors on Tuesday. Councillors approved the controversial proposal by Oldfield to turn empty premises in Old Street into an adult store in the face of letters of objection and a petition containing more than 100 names.

The shop will sell R18-rated DVDs, magazines, sex aids and lingerie, but promises to operate a strict over-18s policy.

Oldfield said: People have got to move with the times not going to be seedy. There's not going to be a queue of men in dirty raincoats waiting to come in. We will be selling products that people want to buy. In fact the majority of customers nowadays are women or couples. I'm delighted by the decision and we will comply with the strict conditions set down by the council.

Some members of the speakers panel were against the proposals, with shameful Councillor Joe Fitzpatrick most vociferous. He said the only place for a sex shop was in hell.  

Ashton Parish Church vicar Rev Roger Farnworth said: We place a very high value on human life and human dignity and object in principle to an industry which seeks to make profit through degrading, abusing and misusing people. [but that's exactly what the church have been doing over the last few hundred years]

But after discussing the application, the panel agreed to grant permission to Oldfield. He hopes to open the shop within the next few months.

 

10th August

    Out-Dated Nutters

Based on an article from The Scotsman

A sex shop is set to be given the go-ahead to open despite Church nutters mounting a campaign to stop it. Police and council officials have backed taxi driver Alan Cameron's attempt to open Sinsations on Leith Walk.

More than 50 letters objecting to Cameron's plans have been sent to the city council, as well as a petition signed by about 50 people from the nearby World Conquerors Christian Centre. They predictably claim the sex shop is "morally repugnant" and will drag down the local area.

But Cameron has accused the campaigners of displaying "out-dated" and "Calvinistic" attitudes to sex. The Church is behind this campaign, but the kind of complaints that have been made to the council are just so out-dated. There are plenty other shops like this that operate without any problem at all in Edinburgh, including one on Elm Row and another on Easter Road.

I'm not selling anything stronger than you can get in Virgin Records, Ann Summers or Boots these days. My windows are completely blanked out, so there is more risk to children being exposed to adult entertainment on television or in a newsagents. He said youngsters will be further protected from seeing the goods in his shop because a door-entry system will be fitted.

Lothian and Borders Police have said they have no objection to Cameron being granted a licence to convert a former launderette, at 237 Leith Walk, as long as he meets standard conditions in place at other licensed sex shops.

Angela Santoro, nutter minister of the World Conquerors Christian Centre, said: This sex shop application is not Christian, it's not Godly and is against the teachings and values of the Bible. The growth of these sex shops is completely out of control in Edinburgh now. There is nothing out-dated about our attitude to them."

Lorne Community Council has also objected to the sex shop. Lorne councillor Phil Attridge said he could not believe that neither the police nor council officials had pointed out the close proximity of the primary school: You can't have a sex shop just a few doors down [Actually 300 yards away] from a primary school, it's pretty obvious and parents are really worried about the prospect of it.

Councillors will discuss the application on Friday.

 

9th August

    Adult Retailer of the Year

The inaugural Erotic Trade Only (ETO) awards and dinner were held at the Belfry hotel, Birmingham last weekend.

Among the categories of this prestigious event were Adult Retailer of the year 2005 which went to Melon Farmers' sponsors, Nice N Naughty, beating off competition from Anne Summers as well as the other 5 short listed companies.

Simon Prescott of Nice N Naughty said: This award is voted for by the industry itself so is extremely gratifying to realise we are so well respected and acknowledged by our peers.

Congratulations to Nice N Naughty

 

5th August

    Eroding the Moral Fibre

We wouldn't want anything to erode the morality of intolerance and repression now would we?

Based on an article from Manchester Online

Nutters ever furious over plans to open a sex shop in Ashton warn it will erode the moral fibre of the town.

The congregation at St Michael and All Angels are predictably appalled by the prospect of an X-rated store opening its doors in Old Street.

The council's licensing panel will decide on Tuesday whether or not to approve the application. Businessman Michael Oldfield, who was born in Ashton but now lives in Shropshire, wants to transform Dee Jay's discount store into an adult only establishment.

But churchgoing nutters have urged the council to throw out the plans. They insist it will corrupt young people, increase promiscuity and ruin the Old Town image. As a Christian organisation we object in principle to all aspects of a commercial sex trade and the damage it does to people.s lives . a letter from the team parish says. The addition of the proposed sex shop will not only send out the wrong message from the council to vulnerable people, but will also encourage increased promiscuity in the area and all the problems associated with that . It added: The results of scientific research points to the corrupting effects of films of a violent and pornographic nature, particularly on young people . [maybe the same science that believes in Adam & Eve]

Eleven letters of objection and petitions containing 117 names have been sent to the council.

Licensing chief Ian Saxon said: There is a precedent for having a sex shop in Ashton. There was one on Wood Street for some time. The appearance of the shop would be extremely tightly regulated and nothing would indicate from the outside what the shop sold.

 

31st July

    Utopia Spoilt by Nutters

Based on an article from Portsmouth Today

Utopia, in Forton Road, already sells sex toys, games and outfits. Now it wants to start stocking hard-core pornography and is asking Gosport Borough Council for a licence.

But the application has predictably outraged some nutters, who fear it will attract 'the wrong sort of person'. They are complaining the shop is too close to a children's playground and is passed by dozens of pupils on their way to school every day.

Among those who have joined the campaign against the sex shop is shameful Forton ward councillor Keith Farr, who said: It worries me that there is a sex shop almost opposite a park where children play.

Owner Nicola Mundy said: This is a legal business selling legal items and we pay our rates the same as everyone else. We have CCTV cameras monitoring the entrance, which is sectioned into two parts so we can see if any under 18s are coming in.'

 

30th July

    Restricted for What?

Based on an article from The Shropshire Star

Two businessmen who were denied a licence for a sex shop on the outskirts of Shrewsbury due to a 1980s law are opening next week working within the restrictions imposed on an unlicensed sex shop.

Shropshire business partners Peter Hughes and Mark Haines say they were stunned at the council's refusal to grant their application in February.

But They are opening their SX Warehouse on Greenwood Industrial Estate in Harlescott on Monday, and will be using their "own morality" to govern who they allow in the store and their hours of opening.

The entrepreneurs, who are both from Oswestry, are able to operate without breaking the law as they will not be selling R18 DVDs and are only using a percentage of the shop floor to display goods.

Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council's licencing committee had voted in favour of the applicants opening their store. But councillors at a later full council meeting refused to change a rule, dating back to 1983, which states only one sex shop can operate in the town centre.

Haines said they saw themselves as "mavericks" but they would prefer their business, which is primarily internet sales, to be governed by the council.

 

28th July

    Bottom of the Barrel Nutter

It shows the depth of nutterdom when they object to events with no public access. Just the knowledge that business people are talking about adult products is enough to get them foaming at the mouth.

From ic Birmingham

The Erotic Trade Only Show will be held at the NEC on Sunday. Around 45 traders will come together at the show and bring with them adult dvds, adult magazines and other erotic goods.

Organisers threeonethree events had to apply for a sex shop licence from Solihull Licensing Committee which was granted.

Bottom of the barrel Bickenhill councillor Jim Ryan, whose ward covers the exhibition centre, is outraged at the decision to stage the adult only show. He said: The NEC must be desperate to have to agree to an exhibition like this. I understood that the NEC was a premier national and international centre and I do not see why they would scrape the barrel with an event like this. It saddens me that the NEC feels it can agree to hold this. I think it's sending out the wrong signals to the region and the rest of the country that the NEC is having to rely on the porn industry for business. It detracts from the quality we expect from the NEC.

But licensing chief, Councillor Peter Hogarth, vice-chairman of the committee, defended the decision to grant a sex shop licence. This is a private show - it is only for the trade and invited guests. The public will not be given access to this show and there will security to prevent them getting in. Under 18s will also not be allowed in and there is only one other show there that day, an antiques show which will be some distance away from this event.

 

15th July

    Strange Goings On in Neath

There is something more to this story than meets the eye. The complaints about the shop are seemingly dubious. The first is about vibrators being sold in an area of the shop where under 18s have access and the second is about hardcore magazines for sale.

As far as I am aware only R18 video and DVDs require strict sex licensing conditions. Sex toys and adult magazines are sold in high street shops such as newsagents. I am not aware of any law that says they cannot be sold in a shop with access to under 18s.

Unsurprisingly Piet Manca is pursuing this harassment via the appropriate Government ombudsman.

The court hearing was postponed until September 11th to allow Neath Council to serve the summons

From the This is South Wales

A Former Neath man charged with running a sex shop without a licence is set to defy the courts and stay in Spain instead of returning to face magistrates. Piet Manca set up the Little Amsterdam sex shop in Windsor Road, Neath. He stocks bongs, cannabis seeds, pipes, sex toys and porn magazines in his shop but has always denied it is a sex store.

He said: There's not a hope in hell of me coming back. I don't open mail from Neath. I only know about the summons thanks to an informant in the council. The shop in Neath is going to close on July 6.

 

6th July

    The Greatest Evils in Derry

Claiming that pornography is one of the greatest evils on this planet is a bit rich. Surely religious intolerance, war and terrorism should rank just a wee bit higher.

Based on an article from the Derry Journal

Nutters who want to see the closure of Derry sex shop "Bliss" are to present a petition with more than 1,500 signatures in favour of their cause to members of Derry City Council on Thursday of this week.

The group, who call themselves "Dignity of the Human Person" were this week collecting signatures on some of Derry's busiest shopping thoroughfares calling for the immediate closure of the shop, which they claim is corrupting the people of this city.

The group have told those they want to sign their petition that they believe the store primarily sells pornography, which, they claim, is one of the greatest evils on this planet. We know people who have gone into the shop and have been disgusted by what they have seen. This is debasing the human person at the most basic of levels and making sex a commodity to be bought and sold- not as the pure form of love that it is.

It is believed the group have also been collecting signatures outside St. Mary's Church in Creggan as Mass go-ers have been leaving the chapel.

A delegation from "Dignity of the Human Person" will meet with the Environmental Services Licensing Committee on Thursday of this week where they will hand over their petition and express their concerns directly to councillors.

This is the latest twist in the sex shop saga, which began in November of last year when Council indicated its intention to refuse Ian Brown, manager of Bliss which is situated on Waterloo Street, a licence to trade.

Brown said: There will be a judicial review of the matter in September and we will go forward from that point.

 

3rd July

    Ashton Nutters

Based on an article from the Thameside Advertiser

Plans to to turn a former grocers into a sex shop and cinema has provoked the usual nutter outrage. Several Ashton traders with shops near to the proposed site have sent in objections to the council.

Michael Oldfield of Telford has applied to convert the former Deejay Discount store in Old Street.

Jane McGuinness and Andrea Mallinder, who run Toddlin nursery shop, said: we've sent off a letter objecting because it's inappropriate in a town centre and for us in particular, being a baby shop. Ashton Old Town is trying to do everything to encourage trade since the market hall fire and in view of this we can't believe anyone would agree to have this kind of establishment here. This sort of place should be somewhere out of the town centre.

Shubar manager Debbie Meakes is worried customers will be put off. We just cannot believe the council would let something like this happen in the centre of Ashton Old Town. We run a children's shoe fitting shop and people won't want to come here with their kids.

At a recent meeting of the Old Town traders, 15 traders registered their objections. The plan will be put before a Speakers' Panel in August.

Head of environmental enforcement, Ian Saxon, said: The panel will consider what shopkeepers have to say. The location is relevant to whether the licence is granted, for instance if it were near to a school.

There is a precedent for having a sex shop in Ashton and there has been one for some time. Of course the appearance of the shop would be extremely tightly regulated and nothing would indicate from the outside what the shop sold.

 

18th June

    Croydon Gets New Sex Shop

Based on an article from From ic Croydon

Croydon Council's licensing committee granted Darker Enterprises a licence, allowing it to open one of its chain of Private shops in Selsdon Road, Croydon, London

The committee did, however, lay down conditions before the shop can start trading. These include all staff being subjected to police criminal record checks; no signs to be visible outside the shop, other than the name; the installation inside the shop of CCTV; and the closure of the shop if a member of staff leaves the sales floor for any reason.

The committee rejected a request from Darker for permission to show promotional videos of sex films inside the shop.

Councillor Maria Gatland claimed the location was entirely wrong. Selsdon Road is an area of small businesses, something which is becoming increasingly rare in Croydon. We are lucky to have such a variety of shops and restaurants. She claimed many of the premises operated on tight margins and there were concerns they would lose business if the sex shop opened.

But the committee's chairman, Cllr Charlotte McAree, reminded them that moral objections could not be taken into account for the licence application.

Clive Sullivan, for Darker said after the hearing: We are more than willing to comply with the conditions.

 

12th June

    Burying the Past

Based on an article from the East Anglian Daily Times

Nutter leaders have branded a council's decision to allow a convicted criminal to open a sex shop in the heart of a historic town "absolutely disgusting".

A three-man licensing sub-committee of St Edmundsbury Borough Council gave the controversial plan the go-ahead, despite concerns from residents, councillors and senior police officers. The decision paves the way for Vincent Reeve to convert his Secrets store in St John's Street, Bury St Edmunds, into a sex shop selling hardcore videos and DVDs.

The sub-committee opted to approve the plan despite serious concerns from Suffolk police over a previous custodial sentence served nine years ago for a "dishonesty offence involving the use of violence".

Independent and shameful borough councillor David Nettleton, who attended Thursday's meeting, said: I am not trying to stamp out sex in the town, BUT we should support the local constabulary and the fact my colleagues have overridden them is absolutely disgusting.

Although the store opened in St John's Street in December 2000, the terms of the lease prevented Reeve from operating it as a licensed sex shop. He said: I am delighted. I was quietly confident, but you never can tell. The decision means I can now improve my range and increase my amount of stock. For me, opening a fully licensed sex shop just seemed a natural step. Any business just wants to progress and this gives me scope to do this.

The license means Reeve can now sell R18 videos and DVDs and he revealed that new stock would be arriving in the next few weeks.

The council heard concerns from Suffolk police over a previous conviction for Reeve and from nutters about the affect a sex shop might have on the character of the historic street.

A Suffolk police spokesman said: With regards to the application for a sex shop licence, the police view is that the applicant would not be a suitable person to hold a licence. Whilst accepting that the conviction was in 1996, the offence itself was a serious dishonesty offence involving the use of violence, reflected in the sentence and the actual time served in custody."

Terry Buckle, chairman of the licensing and regulatory sub-committee, said it would give the council greater control over what was sold in the shop. Although we respected the view of the police, the committee felt there had to be a very strong case why we should deprive this man of his livelihood,   he added.

 

7th June

    Conquering the World with Intolerance and Repression

Based on an article from The Scotsman

Nutter groups have vowed to fight plans for a new sex shop.  An application for a licence to open "Sinsations" sex shop on Leith Walk has been submitted to Edinburgh City Council's licensing committee.

But locals predictably claim the shop, close to Lorne Primary School and a church, is unsuitable for the area. A group of protesters have launched a campaign against the shop, which operated as a launderette before standing empty for two years. Businesses and residents have formed petitions and ministers from the World Conquerors Christian Centre on Lorne Street have joined the campaign.

Leith Community Council, the Leith and Lorne Community Safety Panel and local councillor Phil Attridge are also set to object to the application.

Angela Santoro, minister of the World Conquerors Christian Centre, said she expected most of her 400-strong congregation to sign a petition: We are protesting against the idea of this kind of shop being in the area.

Councillor Phil Attridge said he would lend his support to the protesters. Personally, I think where they've chosen as a location for the shop is an inappropriate location. I will be submitting something to the council to say this.

 

2nd June

    Super Pleasure at Superdrug

Based on an article from ic Renfrewshire

Staff at Superdrug stores in the Paisley Centre and at Braehead are busy stocking up on a brand new range of vibrators, which hit the shelves this week.

But the move has sparked predictable outrage among nutters, who fear kids will be able to get hold of kinky accessories normally only available from specialist sex shops.

It's the first time devices like these, which are from the Durex Play range, have been sold by a mainstream High Street retailer.

Liz Love, of Superdrug, told the Paisley Daily Express: We are delighted to be working with Durex on the launch of this range. Following extensive customer research, it's clear that these products have increased in popularity and we want to offer our customers the chance to buy them. Everything in the range is discreetly packaged and tasteful and has been designed for women, by women."

Durex bosses insist the vibrators – branded Wand, Charm and Little Gem – will be discreetly displayed in Superdrug stores. A company spokesperson said: We understand people's concerns but we can reassure shoppers that these vibrators will be displayed away from areas where children are likely to congregate – most likely in the feminine hygiene section. We have found that women are becoming more open about their sexuality and they do not want to have to go to seedy back-street shops or sex stores to buy a vibrator. [ I wonder if Durex talk like that about sex shops when they are selling their products to those sex shops]

Superdrug staff have been given special training to help them respond to customer inquiries and there is also a helpline which Buddies can call for more information. Following the launch at Paisley and Braehead, the range of vibrators will be rolled out at other Superdrug stores across the UK in July.

Paisley Centre manager Andrew MacKinnon said: I am very pleased that Superdrug in Paisley has been chosen for the launch of this new range and I am sure they will handle it very professionally. People's attitudes are changing and this is the kind of product we can expect to see more and more of on the High Street.

 

13th May

    More Summers

From Brand Republic

Ann Summers has outlined expansion plans to grow the sex-shop chain by 40%, with up to 50 outlets opening this year and the creation of concept stores, to secure its lead in the sector.

The 121-store chain has faced increasing competition in the past year as traditional retailers, including Boots and Debenhams, have unveiled plans to sell sex toys.

The Ann Summers Group, which includes the Knickerbox chain, announced a 10% increase in like-for like sales during December, with 1m people visiting its stores in the last eight weeks of 2004.

 

10th May

    Nutters Fuel Protest

Based on an article from The Scotsman

Villagers have been banned from a petrol station after launching a campaign against a sex shop which has opened on the premises. Nutters were furious after the garage at Thorney Toll, near Wisbech, Cambs, began selling adult DVDs and toys from a back room.

Some mounted a petition to get the sex shop at the New Toll Service Station on the A47 closed down. But they have now been banned from using the garage.

Mother-of-two Jenny Dowsing, from Thorney Toll, said: I'm not a prude, BUT ... I think it's in the wrong place. Children use the garage all the time to buy their sweets, and there is an unofficial school bus stop nearby. She said that many other villagers agreed with her views, but when they got together to sign a petition against the shop they were told they were no longer welcome.

But garage manager Tyrone Ibrahim said that only a couple of villagers had expressed concern about the sex shop. He said the garage had been issued with a licence to sell adult material and that it had taken steps to ensure children could not see any unsuitable products.

Ibrahim said his family had owned the garage for more than 30 years and had always sold top-shelf magazines and videos. He said: We have gone to a lot of effort to make the sex shop as discreet as possible. All the items are kept in a separate room, and there is no danger children can get in there or even see in there. I am aware that a couple of the villagers are unhappy about it. I said that if they were not happy it would probably be best if they didn't come in. There is another garage on the other side of the road.

 

23rd April

    Enter the Dragon

From a press release by Nice n Naughty

Nice n Naughty were granted a Sex Establishment License yesterday by Ceredigion Council for their shop at 22 Pier Street, Aberystwyth. Nice n Naughty first came to Aberystwyth in November last year due to the requests from several of it's website customers and continual feedback of the lack of licensed stores in Wales.

Nice n Naughty have 7 shops and take the selection of a town and the location of the stores very seriously and over the following months we spent time talking to local business and the people of Aberystwyth to ensure a Nice n Naughty Shop would be welcomed by the majority of Aberystwyth community. We finally decided on 22 Piers Street, previously known as Radio Shack as the perfect location for a new Nice n Naughty store.

We took the decision to open the Nice n Naughty shop prior to applying for the license to sell the R18 films to ensure locals and the surrounding businesses that Nice n Naughty was a professional , modern, well presented adult shop.

This proved to be the correct approach as since we have opened 2 months ago we have had a fantastic response from our customers and neighbouring businesses and collected over 1000 signatures on an in store petition in support of our application. .

The success of the application now allows Nice n Naughty to sell the R18 classified films which may only be sold in fully licensed sex shops. This now enables the people of Aberystwyth to purchase an R18 film which were previously only available by traveling to the nearest cities in South Wales and Birmingham. Mail order from a UK shop is illegal and the films must be purchased in store which has a strict policy of over 18's only.

NNN would like to take this opportunity to thank all those in support of our application

 

21st April

    Bromley Bollox

Based on an article from the Bromley Times

A sex shop has been refused a licence in Bromley, London. Ray Darker, boss of Darker Enterprises Ltd (Private Shops), had hoped to add 24 London Road to his 90-strong group of adult stores.

Bromley council spokesman, Tony Owen, failed to provide any real justification for their decision beyond the usual bollox  of saying that the shop would be inappropriate and out of character in the area. There are nursery and primary schools and churches nearby as well as Connexions across the road where impressionable young people seek guidance."

Jonathan McGill, nutter and pastor for Bromley town, welcomed the authority's decision: There are places in the locality which help vulnerable people in the borough, do we want them in the environment where a sex shop is? The council couldn't turn it down on moral grounds but, as churches, we'd proclaim very loudly that there are severe moral problems.

 

15th April

    Bromley Nutters

Based on an article from the Bromley Times

Feelings ran high at a packed meeting to discuss a sex shop licence application this week. The three-hour meeting, to discuss Darker Enterprises Ltd's (Private Shops) application to add 24 London Road to its collection of adult shops, was peppered with interruptions from the public.

Darker's nationwide chain of adult-only stores currently stands at 90-plus, including shops in neighbouring Bexley, Woolwich and Lewisham.

Clive Sullivan, representing Darker Enterprises, was greeted with cries of "shame" from nutters as he put forward his case to the committee. Sullivan said he expected similar numbers of customers to those experienced nationwide. He estimated about 300 per week and said the shops' customer make-up was generally 60% male, 20% female and 20% couples.

About 70 members of the public attended the meeting and many queued to ask questions after initial presentations by the council and Darker Enterprises representatives.

Protester Miranda Suit said at the meeting she had been to the company's Lewisham shop. She said: There was bondage gear, handcuffs, an inflatable cow, video titles referring to what many people would consider sexual perversions. It's worse than Ann Summers. Councillor Colin Bloom echoed many speakers' fears of 'clustering' in the area if the license is granted.

Sullivan replied: When we come up for renewal all the traders generally sign our renewal petition. Ray Darker added: We don't cause problems - we don't need it - we've been in business for 30 years.

In response to concerns about keeping young and vulnerable people out of the shop Sullivan said measures would include a double door entrance system, CCTV, controls on staff, and young people would have to show ID to get in. He concluded: The Government has decided through statute there will be sex establishments and there's not one in the country that children don't pass by.

Councillor Denise Reddin urged the committee to turn the application down on grounds of location, with so many children and young people passing it. Children don't miss anything, How can you explain what kind of shop it is? They'll ask what it sells - how do you explain that to a child.

[So how do you explain to children that there are adults who prefer to repress the sexual enjoyments of their fellow man rather than talk to a child about sex]

 

15th April

    Six Months in Reading

From Get Reading

A sex shop in Oxford Road can have a six-month extension to its licence, councillors decided recently.
Reading Borough Council said the XTC store could carry on trading, despite one councillor claiming it added to the street's "seedy image".

The licensing committee allowed Graham Pound, director of Marbank Ltd, to take over from licensee Russell Tyler for a six- month trial period. The panel learned Mr Pound has experience in running sex shops and was previously boss at Cupids adult store in Slough. He had been managing XTC for more than a year for Tyler, who decided to give up the business.

Councillor Christine Borgars was impressed with Pound's commitment to running the shop, but suggested a six-month trial period would satisfy all parties.

Shameful Councillor Jo Lovelock objected to the transfer of the licence on the grounds the committee had never before granted a licence to Pound. She feared the council's Safe Night Out policy – which lays out rules regarding sex shop licensing – put too much weight in favour of the applicant. She said: If there was an opportunity to remove this establishment, which is near to a primary school, it would be desirable. The council and police are working hard with local people to overcome the seedy image of Oxford Road and fewer sex shops would help towards that objective.

Before May 2003 there were three sex shops operating on Oxford Road. But the same year the council adopted its Safe Night Out policy and licensing chiefs blocked applications for sex stores at 328 and 395 Oxford Road. The shop at 395 was closed, but Lovecare at 328 Oxford Road was reopened on appeal.

Thames Valley Police, local people and the borough planning committee had no objections to the renewal of XTC's licence.

 

14th April

    Few Complaints in Eastbourne

From Eastbourne Today

Alan Butler is asking for a licence to open the store, called Pillow Talk, at 3 Terminus Buildings, next to the former main post office.

The licence will be discussed by councillors at the general licensing sub-committee today.
And if the sex shop gets the green light, it would open from 9am-8pm Monday to Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sunday.

In a letter to councillors, Butler said, I started Pillow Talk 25 years ago in Margate and right from the start I wanted it to be different from the sex shops in London that had a reputation for being dirty and sleazy. Inside the shop my normal operation is to have lingerie and clothing in the front of the shop with adult toys behind, then behind a partition the videos and DVDs. My window display is always of tasteful lingerie and clothing. I feel this gives a 'mainstream' look to the shop rather than making it stand out as with a blanked-out shopfront. I never place anything in the window that may offend. I have done my homework and know there is a need in Eastbourne for the type of shop Pillow Talk has the reputation for being.

There have been two letters of objection and two e-mail objections within the 28-day deadline and one further letter was received after the deadline. Complaints include: The granting of a licence would be inappropriate for the locality. The premises is in an area that is used as an arrival point for people coming into the town and also as a meeting point for young people, especially foreign students. It represents the wrong image to visitors. Objections were also made on [inadmissible] moral grounds and one complainant said the sex shop would be 'degrading' for Eastbourne.

Doug Lindsay, commercial services manager for environmental health, said in a report to be considered by the committee, As far as I am aware from the information in my possession, the applicant is not unsuitable and if the licence were to be granted, the business to which it relates would be managed or carried on for the benefit of the applicant. The applicant states that he has nine sex shop licenses without problems and has provided details of those granted and refused.

In formulating a decision about the application, members of the sub-committee will need to consider: the character and the extent of the locality in which the proposed sex shop is to be situated; the number of sex establishments that is appropriate for that locality and the use to which the premises in the vicinity of the proposed sex shop are put. This area contains a mix of commercial uses including part of the town centre shopping area and residential uses, two day nurseries and a language school.

 

9th April

    Keeping the Nutters Happy in Camden

I fail to see how an adults only shop without public displays has any impact on nearby institutions. Presumably keeps the nutters happy though.

From the Hampstead & Highgate Express

Sex shop owners will not be able to open stores near youth clubs under guidelines issued by Camden Council. The recommendation came from a cross-party scrutiny panel set up to investigate licensing in the borough.

Council chiefs appointed to consider licences for sex shops had to take into account nearby premises before deciding whether or not to grant a licence. The list had not previously included such premises as community centres and youth clubs.

But a report to Camden's ruling executive committee said: The policy has been modified ... and includes community centres and youth clubs.

 

8th April

    Barren Barnet

Based on an article from the Barnet Times

Barnet Council has delighted nutters in New Barnet by turning down applications to open two sex shops selling hardcore pornography in the area.

Nutters living in New Barnet successfully argued the shops were inappropriate because of their vicinity to churches, schools and other places regularly frequented by nutters. The applications were for Station Road and East Barnet Road, where there is already a sex shop, but it does not have a licence to sell hardcore pornography.

 

2nd April

    Shameful Namesake

Based on an article from ic South London

Churches have predictably joined in the condemnation of the plans to open a sex shop in a South Croydon parade.

The Rev Jan Wilson, curate at Emmanuel Church in Normanton Road, said consideration was being given to organising a protest petition, but opponents were bearing in mind they only have until the end of next week to lodge formal objections with the council. Inevitably there is a lot of unhappiness in the area. We simply don't want it. The parade of shops has a lot of good things to offer but this kind of shop would keep people away rather than attract them. The shops there need all the encouragement they can get.

The Rev David Taylor, minister of Croham Road Baptist Church, South Croydon who said he hoped a petition would be organised in time to meet the objections' deadline. A sex shop would be totally inappropriate in this area. Just its presence would bring the whole tone of the street down

Shopkeepers in Selsdon Road have already whinged at the proposals from Darker Enterprises Ltd - one of the country's largest sex shop operators - to open the shop in a former photographic studio.

Darker says that if a licence is granted by Croydon Council, the shop would sell adult videos, DVDs and magazines plus sex toys.

The licence application is likely to be considered by the council's licensing committee in May.

 

25th March

    Select Customers Only

From ic Croydon

Darker Enterprises LTD (Private Shops) is planning to open a store in a South Croydon shopping parade.

Nutters in Selsdon Road are predictably planning to lodge objections to the licence application claiming the shop would be totally out of keeping with the area. Uday Patel, owner of the Select and Save supermarket, said: This is not the right kind of area for this type of shop. We want businesses to come in which will help bring in trade for everyone. This is not going to do that. It will degrade the area.
Patel said he was also concerned about the clientele the shop might attract.

The shop, formerly a photo-graphic studio, would sell adult videos, DVDs and magazines plus sex toys and marital aids.

The licence application is likely to be considered by the council's licensing committee in May and people have until early next month to put in objections.

 

24th March

    Saintly Council

Thanks to Russell

Saints & Sinners have been granted a sex shop licence in Blackpool. The shop has successfully contested Blackpool's policy of only allowing 2 sex shop licences . Blackpool council decided that each case should be considered on its merits

 

16th March

    High Court for Highgate

It is about time that someone challenged councils to prove exactly what harm is caused by a shop with no window display and no interior views. It is very dodgy that councils can continually provide bollox justification without the slightest suggestion that they should prove the harm that they so ludicrously contend.

Based on an article from the Hampstead & Highgate Express

An application to open a sex shop in Finchley Road has been rejected by the local council.

Raymond Darker was bidding to expand his adult shop chain by opening a Private store near to Secrets table dancing club in the former Herbal Medicine and Acupuncture shop.

26 objections were lodged against the scheme, saying hundreds of youngsters would pass the sex shop on their way to school every day.

A mother from Finchley Road, who spoke anonymously to Camden Council's licensing committee last Thursday, said: A further sex establishment would make using public transport more difficult. We want to walk children to school, but on the other hand we will have shops which are going to frighten parents.
With After Midnight across the road selling lingerie and other things, they are upping it into a centre of its own.


The committee threw out the application amid fears that the cumulative effect of several sex-related establishments would have a damaging effect on nearby places of worship, public buildings and schools including Camden Arts Centre and University College School.

Clive Sullivan, a spokesman for his firm Darker Enterprises Ltd, told councillors the shop, which would sell adult magazines, DVDs and marital aids, would have a subtle frontage, to be agreed with the council, and no window display.

A double-door entrance would prevent passers-by seeing into the shop. After the hearing, Mr Sullivan said: We will be considering lodging an appeal with the High Court. We will certainly be asking our lawyers to review the case.

Camden's licensing officer told members that trading standards were investigating After Midnight. She said: There are legal proceedings under way. They are being listed in court.

Martin Davies, the Tory councillor for Fitzjohn's and Frognal, said: I am overjoyed. It is a victory for local residents and parents of local school children. My primary objection is to the location being so close to the highest density of schools in the UK. It is totally inappropriate.

 

16th March

    Nutters in Redhill Fail

Based on an article from ic SurreyOnline

Nutters have failed in their fight to block the renewal of a town centre sex shop's operating licence.

Pillow Talk, in Brighton Road, Redhill, has been given permission by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to continue trading for another year under the existing conditions.

The extension was granted despite more than 250 signatures on a protest petition organised by John Capon, the chairman of Churches Together in Reigate and Redhill. Capon admitted: I'm very disappointed. The points I made on behalf of the petitioners are still valid, but clearly were not sufficient to persuade the council that additional conditions should be attached to the licence.

The group protested against the extension of the licence on two grounds.

Firstly, that it was too close to vulnerable people staying at the YMCA's Hillbrook House hostel down the road, and secondly its proximity to a new development of flats along the street, which could see an increase of children to the area.

Managing director of Pillow talk, Andreas Dauer, said: Of course we are pleased and think it's the right decision that the council has taken, as it gives them the opportunity to regulate the business, and it is good for the area if we operate under their supervision. If they hadn't granted it we would have had to change a few things, but the council wouldn't have had control over us."

The licence was granted by the council's regulatory and licensing committee last Wednesday.

 

11th March

    Nutters in Redhill

Based on an article from ic SurreyOnline

Nutters have banded together to try and block a Redhill sex shop renewing its licence. Pillow Talk has applied to Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to continue trading from its Brighton Road site for another year.

But the move has incensed the religious community, and prompted a 257-signature petition urging the council to refuse the shop's bid. Churches Together in Reigate and Redhill (CTRR) has stated the shop can be seen from the YMCA's Hillbrook House hostel on the opposite side of the road. Members claim the continued presence of the sex store would cause distress to already vulnerable people living there. In addition the group is concerned about the shop's presence with a new housing development being built nearby, which could see an increase in the number of children and young people to the area.

Only six addresses on the document are within 500-metres of Pillow Talk, and other signatures are from as far afield as Godstone, Oxted, Carshalton, Dorking, Merstham and Reigate.

Neither the YMCA nor the management group for the new flats have raised concerns and Surrey Police confirmed they have no objection to the renewal of the licence.

Alan Butler, chairman of 12 Pillow Talk shops, said he was aware of the objections, but stressed he does not run a stereo-typical "sleazy" sex shop. We have always attracted couples rather than single men and have purposely kept away from the sleazy angle. Responding to the objections he added: They've just got people to sign a bit of paper and these people probably don't even know the shop. You can't take into consideration the signature of someone who lives 20 miles away. Following guidelines, Butler ensures the window is tasteful - and claims it is often more so than shop windows on Valentine's Day.

But in a further boost to the application, council officers have made five unannounced visits to the shop since February 2004 and on each occasion found they complied with the licence conditions. A spokesman for the council said: When determining the application the committee will take into consideration a range of factors including relevant issues such as locality and relevant responses/ objections received.

The council's regulatory committee was due to meet yesterday (Wednesday) to determine whether the application could go ahead.

 

6th March

    Sloughly Does It

Based on an article from ic Berkshire

A shop hoping to sell hardcore pornography in a busy shopping parade will have to wait for a full Slough council hearing to debate a 20-year-old rule ban on sex shops.

Darker Enterprises Ltd (Private Shops), a company which owns more than 85 sex shops in the UK, has applied to Slough Borough Council for a licence to trade in Farnham Road. But the council's licensing committee deferred the decision at a meeting on Wednesday - despite having three months to consider a change to the 1984 ban. They argued any change to town policy would have to be agreed by the full council.

The rules state that sex shops were inappropriate in all wards - except Chalvey, where the 'Cupids' shop in Windsor Road already existed. Licensing officers said they had no problem with the location of the proposed shop at 165 Farnham Road, currently called Private Lines.

Clive Sullivan, representing applicant Ray Darker, argued: The morality of this issue has been decided by Parliament. He added that by licensing the shop, the council would be able to impose strict conditions, to include the external appearance of the shop.

But Art Cunningham, nutter from the Grace Baptist Church, in a statement said the shop was 'inappropriate' to the locality. The hardcore pornography sold in Mr Darker's shops promotes prostitution, both of men and women, which is a waste of a young life and a cancer on the health of the community.

Weighing in, chairman Pat Shine (IBR: Britwell) said: We have got the existing shop which shows material I find inappropriate. Obviously we do not want the proliferation of sex shops, but I would rather have a controlled establishment if I had to make a choice.

But when councillors were told they had a duty to review the 1984 ban when deciding the application, they instead wanted to defer the decision until after the next full council meeting.

 

5th March

    Oops Petition is Invalid

Based on an article from This is Local London

Barnet councillors have been asked to give the green light for two explicit sex shops to open. Private Lines, in East Barnet Road, is currently free to sell sexually explicit magazines & softcore video/DVD without a licence, but in order to lawfully sell hardcore video/DVD it needs a sex shop licence.

Another application to sell x-rated material has also been made by a different person for what used to be a sport shop in Station Road. The council had to reprocess the Station Road application after an administrative error gave the address as Station Approach.

The applications, particularly in Station Road, have been condemned by nutters. Corinne Hagan, who was instrumental in opposing the first invalid application, has vowed to fight the Station Road application again: Last time we got a petition with 1,600 signatures . We've got to do that all over again. We'll do what we can in the time available. This is a totally inappropriate place to put a sex shop: there's a children's French school just a few doors away, and two churches close by which run nursery schools and children's groups. This is a family area why do we need two sex shops?

Objections to the Station Road licence need to be made before March 8. Both licences will be decided by the council's licensing application panel on March 23.

 

2nd March

    Inappropriate Use of Licensing Powers

As usual, no attempt at justification of the harm that would otherwise be caused. Surely a very dodgy decision that is an abuse of human rights

Based on an article from ic Birmingham

Birmingham councillors have slapped down an attempt to open a sex shop in Erdington's High Street.

The proposed use for a former sports shop brought objections from local councillors Susanna McCorry and Renee Spector. They complained it was inappropriate for the third busiest High Street in the city to have a sex shop in its midst, particularly as the street was heavily used by families.

Nutters also protested and claimed there were too many sex establishments in the city as it was.

Their objections were backed by the city's licensing committee.

 

1st March

    High Court


The judgment from the recent High Court case regarding the legality of mail order from a licensed sex shop and also of the legality of advertising overseas companies is now being considered. There is no specified timescale but maybe it will take a couple of weeks.

It seems that judges at least saw some of the difficulties with the current state of the law. Both sides have indicated that the issue may be taken higher to the House of Lords and Europe but perhaps there is a compromise position somewhere.

 

27th February

    Incompetence in Shrewsbury

Don't they know that they are abusing their licensing powers to ban without justification.
Don't they know that they are abusing human rights
Don't they know that adult DVDs can't be sold from the UK via mail order
Don't they know that a local monopoly is bad for their citizens

Oh well, at least they should be sacked for incompetence rather than prosecuted for abuse of power.

From the Shropshire Star

A ban on more sex shops opening in Shrewsbury has been imposed by councillors who refused to change a 21-year-old rule.

The campaign began after plans to open a second sex shop in the Harlescott area, were put forward and residents started an immediate protest against it.

The borough's licensing committee had already agreed to allow Mark Haines and Peter Hughes to open their S X Warehouse, as soon as the existing ruling was changed.

But the move was rejected by Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council at a meeting last night, when only six councillors out of 29 voiced support for the plans.

Councillor Vernon Bushell, for Harlescott ward, said there was no need for another walk-in sex shop in the town because people used the internet nowadays. He said: It is not appropriate to have more than one sex shop in Shrewsbury. If anyone wants to purchase such adult items they can do it over the internet or through mail order.

But Councillor Peter Jetson said the ruling should change as the new Harlescott sex shop would be mostly mail order and would not stand out in the town. Jetson said: This is a mail order business and whether it is in the right or wrong area is of no consequence. I think the ruling should change.

 

23rd February

    Pillow Talk in Eastbourne

Based on an article from Eastbourne Today

Another sex shop could be coming to Eastbourne and nutters are predictably furious. A company called Pillow Talk Ltd, which specialises in selling lingerie and hosiery products, is in discussions with the council. It is hoping to set up shop in Terminus Buildings in Upperton Road. Eastbourne already has one sex shop in Cavendish Place.

But nutters said the scheme was 'highly undesirable on moral grounds'. One said, Its proposed location on a popular thoroughfare would be degrading for a town like Eastbourne with a fine reputation.

Shameful Eastbourne MP Nigel Waterson said, I share residents' concerns as this will be bang in the middle of the town centre. It is the last thing we want. I will be writing to the council to express my concerns. If we have to have these sort of shops in Eastbourne I would rather they were tucked away in a back street somewhere instead of being in the middle of the town centre. It is not good for the town's image.'

The application is expected to be discussed at the licensing sub-committee in April. A planning application may soon follow.

Alan Butler, chairman of Pillow Talk Ltd, based in Rochester, said, We have been trading for more than 25 years and we have had licensed shops for more than 20 years. We have never had a problem in all this time. We run a very respectable business which is totally legal. We do not do anything to offend people and they only come into the shop if they want to. Only people over 18 can enter our shops and we uphold this strictly, otherwise we would lose our licence. We purposely chose the edge of town on a reasonably quiet stretch of road. We can trade without a licence but we have chosen to apply for one so the council can control our opening hours, window displays etc.

 

21st February

    Appealing for Mail Order R18s

Thanks to Peter

Some interesting info that should be of interest to just about everyone. It would be interesting if any Melon Farmers could attend.

The R18 mail-order battle moves to the High Court this week, with distributors Interfact and Pabo appealing against last year's convictions by Liverpool Trading Standards. The case takes place on Wednesday 23rd. The barristers will be Neil Flewitt for Liverpool, David Pannick for Interfact and Robert Englehart for Pabo. If anyone wants to attend, details (including time and court number) will be posted after 2:30 pm on Tuesday in the Daily Court Lists section of www.courtservice.gov.uk

The two issues of concern are as follows:

a) When a video or DVD is sold where is the place of supply?

b) Does an Internet website constitute an "offer to supply"?

The prosecution previously submitted that when a video is sold the place of supply is the place of "delivery". It is an offence under the Act to supply a Restricted 18 video at any place other than in a licensed sex shop and in a mail order transaction, as the place of delivery is the home address of the customer, then an offence is being committed.

We argued that our premises are a licensed sex establishment within the meaning of the act and that the place of supply was not the place of delivery but the place of the sale. In a mail order transaction the funds are received, and the product is packaged, within the licensed sex establishment so no offence is being committed. Delivery was in fact the supply of a further service, and not the supply of the product itself.

The prosecution submitted that an Internet website constitutes an "offer to supply" under the Video Recordings Act and that it is an offence for anyone to "offer to supply" a Restricted 18 video other than in a licensed sex establishment. Thus every time an Internet user viewed the website at home or place of work, an offence was being committed.

We argued that a web site cannot be an "offer to supply" but is rather what is commonly referred to as an "invitation to treat". There is no "offer to supply" or "offer to sell", rather the website is a display which the customer peruses prior to making an "offer to buy". This is a legal concept that applies to all shop displays, mail order catalogues etc.

The Court agreed with the prosecution in both instances. We were not surprised at the verdict given that in the past fortnight two similar cases (Pabo and Interfact) had been heard and on both occasions guilty verdicts had been returned.

Prime Time and its Directors intend to appeal the verdict. It is our view that the prosecution and the Court have applied "criminal" definitions to the meaning of "supply" and "offer to supply" and taken Section 12 of the Video Recordings Act in isolation and not considered the wide ranging implications of their decisions.

Further details of this discussion

 

19th February

    Dubious Derry

Well it seems that Shameful Derry Council have been putting their own personal prejudices ahead of the law and have decided to impose censorship without justification of the harm that would otherwise occur.

From the Derry Journal

The owner of Derry's only sex shop has said he may seek a judicial review after Derry City Council refused him a licence to trade.

At a meeting of Environmental Service (Licensing) Committee on Wednesday, Ian Brown was refused a licence to trade as a sex shop at his Waterloo Street store Bliss.

Brown has said he will 'more than likely' seek a judicial review, but intends to keep trading in the meantime. I'm not shocked that our licence was refused; in my opinion it simply isn't seen as a vote winner. We satisfied all the criteria council asked for and we even provided 20 affidavits from other traders in the area either backing or us or else saying they had no objection to the shop. Our 16,000 customers have a right to buy the perfectly legal items we sell in our shop. There are 400 sex shops in the UK and 10 similar shops in Belfast, we should have the same rights as everywhere else. The council are acting as censors of the censors which is a dangerous game.

 

17th February

    Black Marks for Councils Causing Black Markets

I received an email today outlining a problem with pirate copies circulating in Glasgow. The prevalence of these is said to be ruining the business for all 15 shops in Glasgow. The shops are urged to work together to help stop the problem.

Of course the shops are on a hiding to nothing as they are all operating in the twilight zone of being unlicensed. Glasgow council and human rights abusers have refused to grant any sex shop licenses (even though it would net them 10,000 a time. And of course if a legal market is not allowed in such a high demand commodity then it is just a matter of time before a black market ensues.

Glasgow council should be prosecuted for abuse of their powers and be sued lost earnings for video producers and the Inland Revenue.

I have also heard that Neath Borough Council are continuing to harass the Little Amsterdam shop so inconveniently close MP Peter Hain's office. The Councils should be stripped of their powers to deny licenses unless age control or display rules have rules have breached.

 

16th February

    Fighting Rights Abuse by Derry Council

Based on an article from the Derry Journal

The owner of Derry's only sex shop has vowed to keep the store open even if Council decides not to grant him a licence to trade at tomorrow's Environmental Services (Licensing) Committee meeting.

Tomorrow the committee will receive submissions from both Ian Brown and objectors in relation to Council's intention to refuse the application for a Licence for a sex establishment at 10 Waterloo Street. However, despite remaining tip-lipped in the run-up to the crucial meeting, Brown says the doors to his business will remain open as usual, no matter what the outcome.

Council seem to think that by not granting us a licence they can force Bliss to close but that is not the case. We have just signed a ten year lease with our landlord - we will simply adjust and remain open the shop owner told the 'Journal'.

We have only to remove two of our lines from stock to continue trading without a licence and we don't have a problem doing that. There are a hundred different ways around it. We weren't granted a licence for our sister shop in Bangor, it is still open and the case will be the same in Derry. If Council think they are going to chip away at us until we disappear they are mistaken.

The sex shop licence row has been rumbling on since November 2004 when it was resolved that Council, through the Committee, would indicate its intention to refuse the application for a Licence for a Sex Establishment at premises known as Bliss.

 

12th February

    Harmony by Design

From AVN

The flagship Harmony Erotic Boutique has just opened in the heart of London, a two-level, retail destination rivaled only by a handful of upscale adult boutiques in the U.S. The concept began with targeting the expanding adult retail market segment that includes women and couples.

Designers, PS Professional Store,  said the approach was to make a trip to Harmony as everyday as visiting Victoria's Secret or Bloomingdales. The PS team did the lighting, flooring, fixtures, shelving and more at the property. Armstrong pointed out that Harmony's color package entails subtle changes that move the customer gradually through the store from cool tones that reflect non-adult merchandise to the adult section that is bathed in fire engine red.

 

31st  January

    Good Location for a Sex Shop

From the Biggleswade Today

Motorists can take an X-rated pit stop on the A1 after the district's first sex shop opened for business. The Adult Pit Stop is to be found in a large shed at Tempsford Service Station and sells a range of magazines, DVDs, lingerie and other adult toys. An application for a sex shop licence has been lodged with the council from Linda Parker which would allow it to sell more explicit R18 videos and DVDs.

Mid Beds District Council says the shop does not currently need a licence due to the number and proportion of adult items on sale. Sandy councillors had relatively relaxed views on the shop when given the chance to comment on it this week. Councillor John Gurney said: If we have to have it this is almost as good a location as we could wish for. Many are on town high streets where they are more likely to cause offence.

The Adult Pit Stop used to be the base of the Bedfordshire Barbecue Centre which has rented the building to the adult shop for three months. But barbecue centre owner Paul Cobban stressed his business will be back in the building after the end of February.

 

28th January

    Wellbeing in Wellgate

Good on Rotherham Borough Council's Licensing Board

Based on an article from the Rotherham Advertiser

A community was in uproar this week after a FOURTH sex shop was given the green light. Despite widespread outrage, among some nearby residents, councillors and nutters, a licence has been granted for the store located at 119 Wellgate.

When Derby man John Foster first gave notice of his intention to apply for a licence for the sex establishment in October 2004, residents mounted a 1000 strong petition against the move.

But Rotherham Borough Council's Licensing Board decided at a meeting on Monday that there were no legal grounds for the refusal of the licence. The licence was granted based on legal advice, said council licensing manager, David Stockdale. Statute only allows for certain factors to be taken into account, and refusals can only be made on certain grounds. Members of the licensing board didn't feel there were any grounds for refusal of the licence.

The licence has been granted for 12 months he added. In a years time, any possible objectors will have the opportunity to voice concerns about the premises, and whether the store caused any anti-social behavior he said.

But Cllr Mahroof Hussain who represents the councils Boston Castle ward said that Rotherham, which already has the biggest sex shop in Europe - Pulse and Cocktails in Canklow - is too small for four sex shops. I am disgusted at the decision to open the shop said Cllr Hussain. [I editted out an unproven claim to be speaking for the community]

He added that the sex shop goes against the council's Renaissance project which is a 20 year plan to regenerate the town, create new jobs, and attract business. A sex shop doesn't rejuvenate the town, it brings the town down said Cllr Hussain. [Shaun disagrees with him. It's about the only good thing about Rotherham!]

Petition organiser and prude Maureen Bywater who lives just off Wellgate said: I'm no prude BUT dirty old men could be hanging around outside the shop and I have to go past it at least four times a day with my grandchildren. We'd rather have a fruit shop or a chemists shop round here. Anything other than a sex shop.

The Rev John Andrews, leader of the New Life Christian Centre Canklow said: I'm extremely disappointed with the decision. There's been huge disagreement against this application, yet it has gone through. He added that arguments against the sex shop were strong and valid. Many of the people at our church come from the area and were unanimously against the decision."

 

26th January

    Ulster Above the Law?

Based on an article from the Belfast Telegraph

The owner of Londonderry's only sex shop today said he fully expects Derry City Council to reject his appeal for a licence.

Ian Brown will visit the Guildhall again tomorrow to make his second presentation in the council chamber - but he is already preparing for a court battle.

After being turned down by the council in December, the Bliss owner vowed to use a month-long stay of execution to build a case for retaining his Waterloo Street business.

Council had recommended that the shop's licence be refused as the number of sex establishments they considered appropriate for the locality was zero.

However, Brown has been legally trading for two years while waiting for council to process his licence application.

No objectors turned up at council in December to decry his adult shop.

Brown's second shop in Bangor is running smoothly, but only after he compromised with Bangor council to take 18R rated DVDs off the shelves.

Brown today revealed he is willing to seek a judicial review should Derry City Council's decision go against him. I'll never give up but I have no confidence in this week's appeal. Northern Ireland will have to licence the same as the rest of the UK sooner or later, it's only a matter of time.

During that time, if I have to take this to a judicial review, it will cost Derry's ratepayers in the region of 35,000 for their council to go to court and argue against me.That is 35,000 that could be far better spent somewhere like Waterloo Place

 

25th January

    Objecting on Grounds of Sight not Site

Based on an article from Sheffield Today

Plans to open a fourth sex shop at Wellgate in Rotherham have been given the go-ahead despite protests and a petition by nutters.

There were also obligatory objections from a local church which claimed the proposed business was too close to a highly-populated residential area and could influence young people.

But Rotherham Council's Licensing Board approved the plan by a Derby-based businessman to open the shop - but only for a 12-month trial period. And there will be opening hours restrictions.

Today shameful local councillor Mahroof Hussain, who was among the objectors, said: There are lot of people who are unhappy about this. It is just the wrong place - it is on a main road and will be there for everyone to see. We have already got three sex shops in Rotherham and there is no need for anymore.

A council spokeswoman said; An initial licence has been granted for just 12 months, after which we will look at whether this shop has had a negative impact .

 

24th January

    Mail Order from Peterborough

From Peterborough Today

A new sex warehouse could be granted a licence on 20th Jan. An application to open a mail order sex shop at a premises in Storey's Bar Road, Fengate, Peterborough, was made by Adult Warehouse Ltd. The warehouse will stock pornographic material, including magazines, videos and sex toys.

Peterborough City Council's licensing committee was due to meet in the town hall on 20th Jan to decide whether to give the business the green light.

Opposition to the warehouse plans has already been voiced. East ward councillor Stephen Goldspink expressed his concern, saying: I'm not in favour of these sorts of establishments, but I recognise there are people who use them, and if they are going to anywhere, then better Storey's Bar Road, which is light industrial, than a residential area. It is not something I particularly want in my ward, because they have a degrading effect on society, but there is a demand and you can't be too prudish.

 

22nd January

    Church Accuses Sex Shop Customers of Anti-social Behaviour and Vandalism

Based on an article from ic Wales

A church is fighting a sex shop's proposal to extend its licence.

The Private Shop in Swansea's Dillwyn Street had not received a complaint since it opened in December 2001. But now nearby nutters from the Spring Terrace Tabernacle Assembly of God Church is opposing its licence renewal.

In a letter to council licensing officials, church minister Alan McNally said, " We, with many of the other churches in Sandfields, run children's and youth clubs and are afraid of the repercussions that the continued presence of such a shop and the materials and films they peddle could have on young minds. We also attend the Sandfields Residents' Association meetings and have been conscious of problems highlighted of the increase in anti- social behaviour and vandalism suffered by residents from people coming into the area attracted by such a shop.

Swansea's licensing committee will discuss the application on Friday.

 

20th January

    A Thousand Saints in Blackpool

From Blackpool Online

An adult store hopes to win its latest battle with the council after 1,000 people signed a petition supporting its bid for a sex shop licence.

Saints and Sinners was turned down last April along with Lytham Road-based Blue-XXX-Nites, when both applied for licences in a move which would have doubled the number of sex shops in Blackpool.

Councillors voted to keep the number of licensed sex shops to just two and ruled current restrictions should not be relaxed.

But Saints and Sinners, in Foxhall Square, has re-applied and is arguing the council should judge it on its merits and the amount of support it has received from customers and other businesses.
Former restaurateur Mark Entwistle who runs the business with his partner Sue Judge said: Last time we asked for the policy to be changed, but this time we are applying on our own merits. A policy is a guideline and the council can go against it. We believe they should because our shop is catering for all kinds of people who come here because we provide a bright, friendly environment. We have got a petition with 1,000 names and addresses on it from people who are pleased with the way we run our business. We took a long time to find the right premises because we didn't want to be near a school, church or on the promenade which might offend some people. And we never put anything offensive in our window. We even stock NHS leaflets on sexually transmitted diseases because we feel it is important that people are informed.

Mark and Sue have invested around 300,000 in transforming a derelict former mini-market into Saints and Sinners.

A licence would allow them to sell more sex toys and DVDs and videos which they say customers ask for.

Coun Norman Hardy, chairman of Blackpool Council's public protection committee, said even though the council's policy was to allow only two sex shops, it had to judge each application on its merits.
An adult shop must have a licence if more than 10 per cent of its sales are sex-related. The only two licensed sex shops in Blackpool are All Things Sexy on Lytham Road and Private in Devonshire Square.

 

18th January

    Nutters Inspired by Jerry?

We seem to have several church based groups having an active whinge. I wonder if they have been inspired by Behzti and Jerry Springer: The Opera

Based on an article from the Northampton Today

Church nutters from across Northampton have joined a campaign to close down a sex shop which they claim gives its area an unsavoury reputation.

Ten church ministers have mounted the campaign to fight plans to renew a trading licence for All Things Adult in Wellingborough Road. The ministers have sent a joint letter to Northampton Borough Council, criticising the number of sex shops in Wellingborough Road and they have submitted a petition with almost 300 signatures to the authority.
In their petition, the group said: The nature of the shop is giving the area an unsavoury reputation. We believe three sex shops on Wellingborough Road, within such a short distance, are discouraging people from visiting other premises in the locality. Shops in Wellingborough Road are routinely used by parents and children on their own, especially the hairdressers' shops and the fast food restaurants. All Nations Church is within 100 metres of the shop and the newly-opened Jesus Centre is also in close proximity.

Nutters from the town centre plus Harpole and Moulton have signed up to the campaign. They have asked members of Northampton Borough Council's licensing committee to turn down plans to extend the shop's licence when they consider the application next week.

But the borough council's solicitor, Julie Liburd, has warned councillors they must not let their own religious beliefs influence the decision. In a report to the committee, she said: Members should, as far as possible, take into account any information available to them which is relevant and ignore any religious, moral or social viewpoints they may hold about sex shops generally.

In a separate application, a sex shop next door to All Things Adult, called Playmates, has also applied to the borough council for permission to trade on Sundays and change its name to SimplyPleasure.com.

A decision on both shops' applications will be made by the council's licensing committee on Tuesday, January 25.

 

17th January
 

  Justification or what?


Based on an article from the News Shopper

Darker Enterprises Limited has applied for a sex establishment licence for premises opposite Connexions on London Road, Bromley.

Nutters, traders, churches and a nursery say the site is unsuitable for a shop selling hardcore porn and sex toys and are drawing up a petition.

Patrick MacDonnell, who runs Rich Sofas and Interiors, said: "This is a hugely unlikely spot for this kind of business.

Brewers manager Grace Brewer said: This is increasingly a residential area and there's a nursery nearby in Blythe Road where my granddaughter goes.

The council says comments received before January 17 will be considered.

 

14th January

    Doubting Derry


Based on an article from the Derry Journal

The owner of Derry's harangued sex shop, Bliss, is to meet with the Council's Environmental Services (Licensing) Committee next week to put forward his case to be awarded a licence to trade in the city.

Ian Brown, who is currently preparing his case with a solicitor, told the Journal that he was 'not happy' with Council's attitude to his request to trade legally in the city.

Brown made the comment after receiving a photocopy of a petition of support from Waterloo Street traders he had requested be returned to him. He said: The letter from the City Solicitor which accompanied the photocopy of the document appears to question the authenticity of the petition, the exact wording being 'apparently containing comments' from traders who positively support my business.

If that is the line Council is going to take, I will have no qualms about getting affidavits from everyone who signed that petition. I am going to fight this all the way.

 

  Empire X

Empire X Cinema Club,
80 John William Street,
Huddersfield,
West Yorkshire,
HD1 5AA.

Tel: 01484 540978,
Email: empirex@btconnect.com


Empire X

Without wasting your time let's get you straight into a comfortable seat and let you know what's in store for you.

Empire X is a long established Cinema Club (1980) based in the Centre of Huddersfield.

We provide a warm and inviting environment in which to spend a few hours watching very high quality, undiluted, Hardcore movies! or browse in our sex shop for toys and hundreds of DVD titles

Enjoy the movies in the company of likeminded fellow members (Male & Female) who, like you, come from every walk of life. Our aim is for you to feel completely comfortable and at home. There is more to the Empire Cinema Club than simply, well, Naughty films!

Don't go thirsty. Coffee, hot chocolate, tea and cold water are all available in the coffee area you're our guest! Just relax and enjoy.

Movies are played in studio 1 and 2, plus 2 private TV lounges and a couples lounge. With over 5 hours of films to view, we hope you will find something you like.

Adult cinema club is open 7 day a week.
Membership is 5.00 per year.

Mon & Thurs with Striptease: 10.00 (concessions 8.00)
Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun: 9.00 (concessions 7.00)

Films change Tuesday and Friday

www.empirex.co.uk
 



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