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15th December

Derry Blues

The owner of a sex shop in Derry has vowed to go to the European Court to be allowed to continue selling adult products in the city.

Ian Brown promised to drag Derry City Council through the legal system after he was refused a licence in autumn of 2004 for his premises in Waterloo Street.

The shop is now facing closure after local councillors dismissed Brown's application on the grounds that his shop was in an inappropriate location.

Ian Brown has his say on The Melon Farmers:

European court buildingsHere we go again, turned down in Derry, no surprise there then!! We were turned down on relevant locality, which is a farce.

In Waterloo Street are two pubs,1 club, 1 bookies, two derelict buildings, a tanning studio, a mans barbers, a hairdressers, a trendy indie record shop, florists, independant record shop, bike shop and an Irish tourist shop,it is at least three streets away from the main shopping area of Derry 500 yards from a chuch 500 yards from any school on a partially pedestrianised area.

We were and are trading for the last 36 months and this turn down was expected, even though we presented a signed petition from the traders in the street, showing no objection at worst, and at best, some of the traders saying we were needed as foot-fall has increased in the street and their trade has gone up.

The council still felt there was reason to turn this application down , again leaving no licence available in the whole of N.Ireland (still part of the UK), How long will this go on?

How long must I fight the system to allow adults the right of freedom of choice in their own town, how long will councils act as the censors of the censors?.

I believe my fight is justified and right, I should be allowed to sell legal highstreet products legally in this country to an adult population with the right to make their own decisions.

The fight goes on....................


Approximately two and a half years ago “Fantasy” at 10 Waterloo Street was opened.

Before we opened, we talked to the P.S.N.I. at Strand Road to ascertain if we were trading in any way illegally and, as explained, due to the fact that Derry council had never adopted the Misc. Provision order 1984/85 in relation to licensing of Sex Establishments, we were in-fact breaking no laws.

Until the council brought in the order this would continue. Up to and until the actual hearing of an application, we could continue to trade legally in the eyes of the law.

Derry Council put the legislation in place during summer 2002 and after making an application and fulfilling all the various criteria for same, including lodging ฃ3000 with the application, we are now in Nov 2004 hearing the application.

We opened the shop in good faith with comments from trading standards chiefs implying that the way to trade legally in N.I. was with a licence available in this country under U.K. legislation, with the final decision being made at council level.

As R18 DVD’s/Videos are a legal classification in this country, it was assumed that a local council, given the authority to licence, would use this opportunity wisely.

It is our opinion that it is in the best interests of the council to remove, or at least diminish, the underground sale of unclassified, counterfeit and illegal material whilst providing a legal, controllable and legitimate outlet for the sale of adult material to the consenting adult population of this city who can exercise their freedom to choose.

We further believe that it would be in the interests of the elected representatives of the council, to protect the community from the indiscriminate, under-the-counter sales of adult material to anyone, including minors, who have the money to buy this material. Furthermore this revenue would find its way into many and various pockets without any of the government agencies receiving a penny: Derry City through rates and licence fee; Customs and Excise through Vat and Inland Revenue through salary and wages.

We think the Council should take these considerations into account when making a responsible decision.


The issue of the adult shop in Waterloo Street, we believe, should also be clarified.

The main contention is the sale of R18 DVD /Video under licence to the general public.

We contend the adult public covering male, female, couples , singles, gay, straight, have the right of choice and they should be offered their right of choice as in the rest of the UK.

We fully appreciate not everyone likes what we sell and we understand that the products to some people are offensive. However, they are no more offensive than red meat to some vegetarians or cigarettes to some reformed smokers. This should not stop people having access to these products in a suitably controlled environment.

We believe most strongly in this day and age that people are entitled to the right of choice, and people are responsible enough to exercise that choice. If someone doesn’t like a TV programme, it can be turned off. If someone disapproves of alcohol, they will not go into a pub. If someone doesn’t like what we sell, they won’t come in.

Now, more than ever, with both satellite and terrestrial television reducing their censorship criteria, the argument for not licensing our store becomes weaker.

We agree wholeheartedly with advising and protecting those that need it but we balance that with a belief in allowing the rest to have their rights of choice and go about their personal life without any interference.

These products have already been censored by our government and passed suitable for resale. For a council to vote no for no other reason than personal taste is, in our opinion, an incorrect exercise of power.

Let me address some of the other issues.

We fully understand the protection of the innocents and I personally have spoken out many times about this in the media. It troubles me that I should have to reference sex and children in the same sentence but it is a link that is often mentioned.

Let me make our position absolutely clear. Our shop and our products are for over 18s only. This is a policy we strictly enforce. We will not serve anyone we suspect of being underage.

We find it troubling that the first line of argument presented by churches against our store often makes reference to children. We have nothing to sell to children, are not interested in doing so and certainly have no products that in any way could be construed as a corrupting influence.

Additionally, it should be noted, there are no papers, surveys, or any substantiated reports claiming adult shops are the cause of any undesired activity. We also point out there is no evidence of sex attacks in the Waterloo Area having increased since the opening of the shop those many years ago.

We believe the Council should give a lot of thought to avoid falling into the trap of being perceived as a secondary censor. We would remind the Council that even before an application was made, Channel 9 news, Foyle Radio, Q102, the NW Telegraph, The Journal, Derry News, Foyle News and Highland Radio covered the store opening - there were no individual complaints lodged to Derry Council. Complaints only came about as a result of some determined lobbying after the event. These complaints were centred on objectors from the Pennyburn area, a full พ mile from the shop. We would dispute what effects, if any, this shop would have on these particular residents.

In consideration of the admission of current objections, we currently have a list of well over 16,000 individuals from the local area who have welcomed the shop, purchased goods from the shop and have signed our petition to keep the shop open.

We also have a letter from the traders in the area that have no objection to the shop being open.


The trader view should also be explored further.

Since opening, we can prove and offer supporting evidence that additional business has come into the street, thus keeping money in the city and Waterloo Street that may have travelled to other cities or towns.

Our client base is many and varied.

As mentioned earlier we have shopping for hen and stag nights, the wedding industry being one of the largest industries in NI.

We have tourist trade both Euro and Dollar.

We have a varied base of other clients including those wanting to address problems in their sex life, where we can offer a wide range of possibilities.

We provide adult toys and sex aids recommended by every agony aunt in print.

We provide devices recommend by the medical trade to those with various sexual dysfunctions.

We provide a number of different ranges of glamour wear, bedroom wear and fun fancy dress.

We promote sexual wellbeing and safe sex with a full range of condoms. We actively promote safe sex, both in the shop and at sponsored events.

Our customers represent the full spectrum of our community, drawn from all backgrounds. They are normal, upstanding citizens who are spending money in this city and are also coming from as far away as Omagh, Sligo, Letterkenny, Buncrana, Strabane, Lifford, and from many other areas too numerous to mention.

Recently a similar shop opened in Letterkenny. Some might say, ‘let everybody shop there’. We are sure the public would travel out of this city to do just that and whilst there spend money in other Letterkenny retail outlets. Driving retail trade out of the city rather than encourage it to increase is a disservice to our retailers.

Our staff, our suppliers for the shop such as painters, printers, shop fitters, stationers, floorers, oil suppliers, electricians, banks, electrical suppliers, alarm companies, newspaper advertising, radio advertising all contribute to this business putting money back into the local economy. All benefit financially from our presence.

We have always been actively involved with anything to do with the quality of the shopping environment, indeed support any local authority initiative to improve the area. We are always updating and improving the appearance and layout of the shop. Council will note we have changed the name of the shop from Fantasy to Bliss in order to present a more generic face to the public.

Further to this, Council should note we have now opened another shop in Waterloo Street. This business is unrelated to the business under discussion but employs a further three part-time staff, provides further revenue to the city and gives another reason for people to use this area.

We have an established party-plan business directly related to the shop. This aspect of the business provides part-time employment to eight individuals in the greater North West area and, by the very nature of the party-plan, allows individuals to earn money who might not have the chance to take up employment elsewhere.


We are in business because there is a demand for what we sell.

We chose the location of the shop to fall inside the guidelines of the Misc. Prov. order on relevant locality. We are not near a church, school nor bus stops where children gather. Our impact on the street and surrounding district has been minimal. We have brought jobs and revenue to the city.

If there was no demand for our products there would be no need for the shop. Our customers are normal people representing all aspects of our community. We are experienced retailers who wish to service that demand and operate our business in a responsible and open manner

I t is our opinion and, we believe, that of the many people who shop with us that the adult population of this city should be treated as such and allowed to exercise their own choice as to whether to shop with us or not.


15th December

    Derry Play the Trumped Up Card

From the Belfast Telegraph

The owner of Londonderry's only sex shop today warned Derry City Council that its plans to shut him down could open the floodgates for illicit porn entering the city.

Ian Brown, owner of Bliss (formerly Fantasy), vowed to use a month-long stay of execution, granted today, to build a case for retaining his Waterloo Street business. And he said he was prepared to mortgage his house to set up a war chest to fight the council decision.

A report from the office of town clerk and chief executive Anthony McGurk, however, has recommended that the shop's licence be refused as the number of sex establishments the council considered appropriate for the locality was nil.

The matter was due to raised before today's environmental services licensing committee. It has now been postponed, however, to enable Mr Brown to fully prepare his case.

The proprietor said today he has been left reeling over the council's plans to pull the shutters on him after two-and-a-half years of operating a regulated business. He warned: The demand will not just disappear. This will just create an under-counter demand for porn. This council is depriving its citizens of its human right to choose and that is a very dangerous line to go down. They are acting like the censors of the censors.

City secretary and solicitor Damien McMahon has reported to the town clerk: Following discussion it was resolved that council indicate its intention to refuse the application for a licence of a sex establishment at premises known as 'Bliss', and the applicant Mr Brown be invited to show cause why it should not be refused. It is inappropriate to grant the application, having regard to the character of the relevant locality, the use to which any premises in the vicinity are put, the layout and character or condition of the premises concerned."

The case is now expected to be heard on January 19


14th December

    Chasing Nutters

From the Express & Star

A new sex shop which has opened near to homes on the outskirts of Cannock. Dark Sensations, in Bridgtown, had a grand opening on Saturday.

The showroom sells rubber, leather, and PVC clothing, as well as lingerie and adult novelties.

Village councillors say Cannock Chase District Council failed to notify them of Dark Sensations' opening. The premises on Chapel Works, East Street, has had a change of use from industrial to retail. Councillor Eddie Smith, chairman of Bridgtown Parish Council, said they would be writing to Cannock Chase Council to express their concerns.

He was backed by Cannock Chase Councillor Janos Toth, who said that the shop should have been located outside the centre of the village of Bridgtown. Councillor Smith said: The parish council should have been notified about this. I don't think the location is right. It is just not in the right place. I don't think the area needs another sex shop. There is already one in Heath Hayes. The position of the shop is just wrong. This should have been located at an industrial estate away from residential homes.

Matt Heward, owner of Dark Sensations, said: We class Dark Sensations as a fantasy store - an upmarket Ann Summers. We don't sell porn videos or magazines. This is not a sleazy store. We have all sorts of people come in here - many from the village itself. We have been manufacturing at the East Street site for some time but decided to open a showroom due to demand. Our site is central in Bridgtown but we are not immediately close to any residential homes. I just cannot see the problem.


7th December

    Lust in Ludlow

From the Shropshire Star

Ludlow could be getting its first ever mail order sex shop selling a range of toys. Stuart Nicholas Britton wants to open the mail delivery company, called Lust for Adults, on Ludlow's business park, off Coeder Road.

If allowed the shop would stock a range of products including sex toys, lingerie and gadgets. But Lust for Adults would not be a retail shop, it would be a strict mail order company only.

Britton is expected to apply to South Shropshire District Council for a sex establishment licence in the next few days.

Alan Procter, licensing officer, said: This is the first time the council will have ever received an application like this. If granted it would be strictly as a mail order company - in other words the public would not be able to walk around and buy products. Nobody would even know the business was there.


26th November

    Rights abuse in Dodgy Derry

From the Derry Journal

The owner of a sex shop in Derry has vowed to go to the European Court to be allowed to continue selling adult products in the city.

Ian Brown promised to drag Derry City Council through the legal system after he was refused a licence for his premises in Waterloo Street.

He said: We are obviously disappointed at the decision but are not surprised. However, we will fight on against council members who are denying the human right of choice.

The shop is now facing closure after local councillors dismissed Mr. Brown's application on the grounds that his shop was in an inappropriate location. The Council also said it had received complaints from traders nearby.

But Brown said: We have spoke to the vast majority of traders in Waterloo Street and all have either endorsed the shop or said they had no objections. It is time council listened to the people of this town instead of wasting rate payers money to satisfy their own moral conscience. People want this store, the traders want this store and Waterloo Street needs this store."

I have one month to appeal this decision and lay out my stall as to why I think it is wrong. When they turn me down again, which they will, then I will drag this matter through the courts. I will seek a judicial review. If I lose that I will go to the Court of Appeal and the European Court if I have to. By that stage Derry City Council will have to fork out more than 100,000 to fight the case. As well as this waste of tax payers' money 18 people will be directly out of a job if the council get its way."

He added: Our customers are not happy. One gay fella I spoke to is seriously considering taking a civil case against the Council. He is being denied his right of choice. He and others like him have a right to buy adult goods in their home town. Now they are now being told they have to travel to England for the same privilege. It's discrimination.


25th November

    Dodgy Derry

From the Belfast Telegraph

Council chiefs in Londonderry were today faced with the prospect of a protracted legal battle over their decision to refuse a licence to the city's only sex shop.

Members of the council's environmental services committee yesterday voted to refuse an application for a licence for the Bliss store at Waterloo Street, claiming that the store was not the type of outlet they wished to see in that area.

However, store owner Ian Brown today claimed that more than 16,000 people had signed a petition to keep the store open and vowed, if necessary, to take his fight to overturn the council's decision as far as the European Court of Appeal.

Yesterday's decision came more than two years after Bliss, formerly known as Fantasy, first opened its doors in May 2002.

The opening of the store provoked a wave of publicity but, at the time, Mr Brown insisted that he did not mean to cause any offence and stressed that the shop would be strictly regulated and would only sell goods to over 18s.

Shortly after the store opened, Derry City Council introduced new legislation to control the number of sex shops and cinemas within its jurisdiction.

Brown applied for a licence under the new legislation but a decision on the Derry store was deferred until a bid for a judicial review into an earlier decision by North Down District Council to refuse him a licence to open a sex shop in Bangor had been heard.

His application for a judicial review into the Bangor decision was dismissed by the High Court in September.

Speaking after the latest blow to his business plans, Brown today said he would be launching a legal challenge to Derry City Council's decision. We did expect this decision, but the fight goes on.

During yesterday's meeting, Brown presented councillors with a petition which, he claimed, contained the signatures of more than 16,000 people who wanted to see Bliss remain open.

And he also alleged that he had the support of the vast majority of traders in the Waterloo Street area. If there was no demand for our products there would be no need for the shop, Our customers are normal people representing all aspects of our community. We are experienced retailers who wish to service that demand and operate our business in a responsible and open manner.


15th November

    Slough Changes

From ic Berkshire

A 20 year old decision preventing sex shops opening and selling hardcore pornography in slough's main shopping areas could be retracted next week.

A company which owns more than 85 sex shops nationwide has applied to Slough Borough Council to open a branch in Farnham Road. Darker Enterprises Ltd has asked for standard conditions to be relaxed so they can trade on Sundays from 10am-4pm and until 8pm in the week.

The council decided in 1984 that sex shops were inappropriate in all wards except for Chalvey, where a shop already existed.

However, when the council's licensing committee decides the bid next Thursday, they will have to consider if the resolution is outdated. But the move has angered some religious nutters.

Art Cunningham, pastor of the Grace Baptist Church in neighbouring Hampshire Avenue, said: An establishment like Darker Enterprises, selling sexually explicit material and promoting perverted sexual fantasies, hurts our community. We oppose this establishment on those grounds

If permission is granted, the shop at 165 Farnham Road will become the second licensed sex shop in Slough - the other, Cupid, is in Windsor Road.

At present, 165 is a store called 'Private Lines'. A hand-printed sign on the door says under 18s cannot enter and warns the material inside is what some may consider 'indecent'.


13th November

    Swansea Smokes

From ic Wales

A 16 year old boy is to open a drugs paraphernalia and adult video store in Wales. The store in Swansea will be run by Antony Manca, who has until now been living with his father Piet in Spain.

Mr Manca (senior) hit the headlines earlier this year after being fined 4,000 with 7,000 costs for selling X-rated videos from his Little Amsterdam shop in Neath. The Neath store, operating opposite Cabinet MP Peter Hain's constituency office has now re-opened after a period of closure.

Manca said yesterday he was appealing against convictions for supplying and possessing unclassified videos and DVDs. He added he was helping his teenage son Antony establish another Little Amsterdam store in King Edward Road, Swansea. Although he is only 16, Antony is legally allowed to run the shop, which does not have the same over-18s rule as licensed sex shops.

Companies House in Cardiff confirmed there was no age limit for company directors.

Peter May, a Swansea not so Liberal Democrat councillor who lives a few hundred yards from the proposed Swansea store, said, I'm absolutely disgusted. It goes against everything we have been working for in this area. A shop selling drug paraphernalia even though it may meet legal requirements is the very last thing we need. I will be speaking closely to council officers to look into this new business very closely. Quite frankly I find it alarming that a 16-year-old is due to run it.

Manca said yesterday his son would be opening the store in a former antiques shop, so there has been no need for an application for change of use. We have spoken to licensing officers and everything will comply with regulations and with the law. "

Manca now runs a web site in Spain from which he sells drug paraphernalia, "various sex objects", adult videos and DVDs. There are more liberal laws in Spain and if transactions are done outside the UK we can get around local restrictions. Antony will be promoting the web site in the new Swansea store as well as selling things like cannabis seeds and growing equipment.

Manca says he plans to open a Little Amsterdam store in Cardiff next year. The shops are popular with the public but not with the authorities. I was supported by the Federation of Small Businesses over the Neath videos and hope to win on appeal.


1st November

    Softcore Hustler

From the BBC

US pornography magnate Larry Flynt says he wants to open 10 sex shops across the UK over the next few years. Flynt was speaking as he launched his first British outlet in Birmingham city centre.

The Hustler Hollywood shop is located on Birmingham High Street, next door to Boots and opposite Marks & Spencer. The 6,000sq ft Birmingham shop and cafe stocks products including lingerie, sex toys, body oils, scented candles, novelties for hen and stag nights, Hustler branded clothing, books and jewellery. It doesn't apparently stock any R18 videos/DVDs

Flynt claims it is the largest sex product outlet in the UK, and urged the UK public not to prejudge his stores without trying them first. It is decked out in velvet and leopard skin print with the more adult material displayed in walk-in pods, hidden from the view of the passing public.

Hustler hopes the outlet will stimulate "sex wars on the high street" and rival existing main street sex shop chain Ann Summers. People are always apprehensive when we open a store because they have all kinds if visions, like we are opening a brothel or something, " said Flynt.  That's not what Hustler is about.

The Hollywood Hustler stores were conceived by Mr Flynt's daughter Theresa Flynt-Gaerke.
She added that what differentiated it from Ann Summers was that "we target couples, Ann Summers targets women, it's a very different experience."

Hustler hopes to establish 10 stores across the UK by 2012 and has plans to open its next branches in London's Covent Garden, Nottingham and Cardiff.

Hustler Hollywood's UK project manager, Roger Ede, said it cost 4.7m ($8.6m) to open the Birmingham store and that it was projected to take 2.5m in its first year.


1st November

  Edinburgh Sex Shops Under Nutter Duress

Edinburgh Evening News by Adrian Mather The ancient image of buying porn usually involves packages wrapped in brown paper being carried from seedy back-street outlets. But such preconceptions could not be further from the truth in Edinburgh - where what passes as the sex industry is very upfront.

The city's sex shops are not hidden away from public view down darkened alleys where customers glance around furtively before sneaking down. The outlets ply their trade from busy main roads.

With politicians at Holyrood now considering calls to curb the sale of pornographic material, the Evening News ventured into the city's five X-rated stores to examine what is on offer.

If you have an interest in videos or DVDs featuring pregnant women indulging in group sex, fetish movies of naked midgets or graphic images of couples doing most things imaginable to each other, there's no need to look any further.

But although sex shops can only operate in premises with blocked windows and are open to adults over the age of 18, the pornography available on their shelves has come under fresh attack this week from campaigners who allege it is "incitement to sexual hatred".

The Scottish Women Against Pornography (Swap) nutter group lodged a petition with MSPs suggesting such material was degrading and harmful to women - and encourages and legitimates the abuse of women and children, both sexually and emotionally. The organisation also claims that there are clear links between pornography and sexual crimes and violence against women and children.

Its submission has now led to Holyrood's Equal Opportunities Committee indicating that it soon intends to hold a full inquiry into the effects of pornography, with the eventual possibility of banning explicit magazines, videos and DVDs from being sold at licensed sex shops.

But is pornography really anything other than titillation meant for consenting adults to watch in private?

City entrepreneur Vincent Delicato, who runs the Leather and Lace sex shops in Drummond Street and Easter Road, argues that campaigners are not telling the full story. He says: There are as many arguments for pornography as there are against it and there are enough psychiatrists and experts who will either say 'yes' or 'no' about it. They say that it is exploitative, but they fail to acknowledge that the industry is all about consensual sex and equal opportunities. In fact, porn is one of the few professions where leading women are actually paid far more than the men."

The way that adult material is regulated and sold in licensed premises now is far better than it was before, when everything was underground. The police know what we sell and regularly check the shops to make sure it is all legal. Everything that we sell in the Leather and Lace shops is completely legal. There is still a lot of material that is not yet allowed to be sold in this country and the Government takes a hard line on anything that is exploitative or seen as intimidating."

But members of Swap maintain that even soft-core erotic films - such as the ones that can be bought in shops such as Virgin Megastore's adult DVD section - are "maintaining sex as a basis for discrimination".
People keep talking about consent and choice and say: 'Who are we to take away people's fun?' This is not about what happens in people's homes. In order for this material to be produced, people have been harmed.
It is illegal now to trade racist insults because it incites race hatred and we see pornography along the same lines - it incites hatred towards women and children.

Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, agrees. He says: Sex shops are not appropriate, they treat sex as a commodity which it is not. They are pretty much aimed at men and treat women as sex objects.

Of course, many people might not realise what these licensed shops can sell - it is really explicit material. These R-18 videos are hardcore porn yet they are legally available. People may argue over what is pornographic - it's when it's dealing with lust, and we all understand what that is, irresponsible sexual activity. Unfortunately, Edinburgh has not as strong a policy on sex shops compared to, say Glasgow, which has a policy of not having licensed sex shops in the city.

We are not saying that everyone who uses a sex shop will commit a sex crime. But perhaps you have someone who has a record of sex crimes, they will find going to a sex shop appealing so they can gratify those urges - urges that possibly led to their crimes."

But Lothian and Borders Police officials stress that having sex outlets licensed by the local authority prevents the trade from being driven underground. A spokeswoman for the force said: The fact they are licensed means we know about them and can check up on them.

Delicato believes public opinion is on his side. I think it shows just how our attitudes to sex have changed when high-street stores like Boots are thinking about going into the adult market and it is far better for sex toys and videos to be legalised and regulated than banned altogether," he says.

It seems strange that David Attenborough can show images on prime-time TV of animals doing what comes naturally to them, but there are always people who don't want to see the same with the human race.

The Evening News visited the Capital's sex shops. This is what we found on display:

Erogenous Zone

The Bread Street outlet sells a range of pornographic videos, DVDs and magazines from around the world for between 20 and 30. Most of the titles only feature explicit scenes of male-female sex or lesbian sex. Also offers videos featuring gay sex between men.

Leather and Lace

Locations in Drummond Street and Easter Road. Offers explicit videos and DVDs for between 20 and 40 that feature scenes and images of straight, lesbian and gay sex, as well as group sex. Both outlets also sell explicit pornographic magazines and books that feature hardcore nudity and sex.

Private Lines

Elm Row, Leith Walk. Sells videos and DVDs for between 30 and 40, and has a limited number of sex toys for sale. Most of the movies are male-female and lesbian films featuring group sex, and there are a few more explicit films. Some feature fetish sex and pregnant women having sex. One, called Bridget the Midget, even has scenes featuring explicit sex acts with dwarves.


Barony Street, the Q-Store caters mainly for gay men and offers videos, DVDs and magazines featuring gay sex acts. The shop also offers films and magazines containing images of straight male-female sex.

Also check out further reviews on the Melon Farmers list of sex shops


27th October

    No Discrimination in Woolwich

From IC South London

A sex shop is set to open in Woolwich after councillors granted a licence for premises in the high street. Thursday's meeting of the licensing sub-committee gave the go-ahead for the shop opposite the Waterfront Leisure Centre.

Rev Stephen Hammond, of the Christian People's Alliance, spoke against the plans at the meeting and said it was a sad day for the people of Woolwich He said: I was quite shocked to see that the only thing the members of the sub-committee were interested in was whether the shop would meet the needs of the Disability Discrimination Act and also that the shop signage should reflect the other shops in the same street.

Under the 1982 Local Government Act councillors are unable to refuse the application on moral grounds. There were eight objections to the proposal and Mr Hammond presented a petition opposing it signed by 203 people.

A report prepared for councillors stated there were four schools within 700m of the site. The report stated: There does not appear to be a significant number of children from any of the schools mentioned using the street in which the premises are situated as a regular route to or from school.

A lap dancing club had its licence renewed and opening hours extended at the same meeting. The Mermaid Club, at 116-118 Woolwich High Road, will now be able to open until 4am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At the moment the club opens until 2am seven days a week.


23rd October

    Sexy Boots

From The Guardian

Now Boots the chemist must be getting nervous - though it has 1,400 stores nationwide, supermarkets such as Tesco and rival high street chemist Superdrug are biting at its heels.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. So this week Boots, the family chemist founded in Nottingham in 1849, confirmed it was in discussions with the condom manufacturer Durex to stock sex aids, including vibrators and massage oils.

We have absolutely no immediate plans to sell these products, says a Boots spokesman. The talks are at very early stages, and we have no launch date - it's not not a confirmed range we'll be stocking.

Though such a range could well prove unpopular with older customers, and may also pose problems if the "toys" are to kept away from children, they are likely to attract more female customers to the stores. A recent Durex survey revealed that 49% of Britons own a sex toy, most of them female.

Sex toys are a massive growth industry - due in part to television shows such as Sex and the City and Graham Norton, which have somehow succeeded, like the Henry Higgins of the sex industry, in gentrifying the vibrator. Such items have somehow shaken off the seedy gents in overcoats stigma to become symbols of female sexual liberation. The sex boutique Myla even stocks a vibrator dreamt up by award-winning designer Tom Dixon which had a waiting list of 500 people by the time it was launched.

Ann Summers, the "UK's leading pleasure retailer", last year saw pre-tax profits leap 19% to 8.9m on like-for-like sales up 14%. New store openings by the group, which also boasts the Knickerbox chain, helped the company's turnover grow 33% to 64m in the year to the end of June 2003.


17th October

    A Brighter Black Country

Based on an article from The Express and Star

A sex shop planned for a prestigious Walsall business park has cleared its first hurdle after being granted a licence.

Only planning permission is needed now for the new shop to open on the Town Wharf park in Frederick Street. Moves to open up the shop moved a step closer last night when licensing chiefs granted a licence.

Trevor Cooper, of Angels, told Walsall Council's licensing and safety committee that it would be a similar set-up to Ann Summers although additional items such as DVDs and videos would also be available.

Most of its trade would be customers visiting the shop although an internet site would be set up for people wanting to order items online. Cooper has run a similar establishment in Tamworth for a number of years.

He said he would like to open the Walsall shop in the next few months providing he can secure planning permission to convert the industrial unit. He said: I know some people have their doubts but over the past seven years we have run a similar establishment in Tamworth without any problems and I think there is a demand for this type of place in Walsall.

The shop would be open six days a week from 10am to 6pm.

No objections were received to the plans although St Matthews ward councillor Mohammed Arif, who is not on the licensing committee, has stated that it could deter other companies from moving on to the business park.

There are currently no sex shops operating in the town. In recent years licences have been granted for adult shops in Bridge Street and Stafford Street but to date the plans have not materialised.

Passion XXX was also granted a licence to open on an industrial estate in Brickyard Road, Aldridge, but planning permission for the retail unit was later refused.


11th October

    Nutters Cross

From The Scotsman

A sex shop owner's bid to open a new outlet in the city centre has been rejected by councillors after widespread nutter anger. Nutters were celebrating victory in their fight to prevent entrepreneur Vincent Delicato opening a fully licensed venture in Fountainbridge.

The vacant former cafe he had earmarked for the sex shop is within a few hundred yards from Tollcross Primary and Tollcross Education Centre.

But after extensive questioning at a regulatory committee meeting yesterday, councillors rejected his application on the grounds that there is already an over-provision of similar outlets in the area.

Objectors to the plans have pointed out that the area already has six lap-dancing bars and another sex shop, as well as several saunas.

Nutters were supported at the meeting by Fountainbridge councillor Lorna Shiels, who earlier this week said the sex business has transformed Tollcross into a "no-go area" for women. She said today: I am absolutely delighted. I feel that this is recognition that over-provision is now a consideration."

The business entrepreneur, who already runs sex shops on Drummond Street and Easter Road, said: "The trouble on Lothian Road is not instigated by the sex shops, but by the clubs and pubs. What I am trying to do is open a legitimate business. All our windows are blacked out and we have video cameras at the doors so that children can't get in. Delicato refused to rule out opening a lingerie shop on the premises.


8th October

    Reading about Victories

Based on an article from Get Reading

Reading's two remaining sex shops on Oxford Road will stay open despite objections from nutters.

At a meeting last night, licensing chiefs unanimously granted new licences for both Lovecare and XTC to continue operating and said there was no evidence to link the shops with the area's drug and prostitution problems.

A petition signed by almost 1,500 people was disregarded by the licensing applications committee because it had been received outside the time limit. But committee members admitted they granted the new licences grudgingly because of restrictions put on them by the council's own policies.

Councillor John Ennis said: My view is that these two shops contribute nothing to the Oxford Road community. They add to a lower demeanour and I would refuse on moral grounds. But they are acting within the law and the reasons for refusal would be seen as tenuous.

Pastor Yinka Oyekan, who campaigned against the shops staying, had earlier told the committee that their presence was "degrading" to the community.

The committee had been told earlier that it must give "correct weight" to the fact that licences for both shops had been granted in previous years. The council's Safe Night Out policy says that only one sex shop may operate in any one commercial area and that the impact on the character of the local area must be considered. However, it also specifies that moral and religious reasons may not be used as reasons for refusal.

Jed Bayley and Russell Tyler, owners of Lovecare and XTC, had earlier told the committee they had traded in the area long before the problems with drugs and prostitution arose and there was "no suggestion whatsoever" that their presence had anything to do with it.

Battle ward councillor Tony Jones, who withdrew his earlier objection to both sex shop licences and had urged the committee to renew just one, said after the meeting: We are really disappointed. But we have exhausted all the legal avenues. We simply have to concede that there will be two sex shops ."

Councillor Bet Tickner, who chairs the licensing applications committee, said: The committee found no evidence to suggest there is any link between the drug fuelled sex trade and the two licences sex shops in the Oxford Road. Having considered all the evidence,we feel there is no reason for refusing to renew the licences of both shops which have operated in the locality for many years.

Lovecare opened in 1970 and XTC was taken over by the present owner 10 years ago. A third Oxford Road sex shop was closed down by the council last year.


7th October

    God Sides with Nutters

According to them anyway.

From ic Cheshire

A sex shop owner has slammed 'the Victorian attitudes of a minority' after councillors blocked his plans to open a new store in Albert Road.

Stephen Wesley says he has been left 'devastated' by the decision to refuse him a licence to sell sex toys, lingerie and films to adults in Widnes. That's five months of hard work down the pan and we feel the council have done the people of Widnes a huge injustice by not giving them the freedom of choice , Mr Wesley later told the World. This Victorian attitude of a minority of people has forced the issue by striking fear into people's minds about what this is about and the decision has been taken away from the public. It is 2004 but these people are Victorian! Why can't they just live and let live?

Wesley's application for a sex shop licence was rejected by Halton Council's regulatory committee on Monday night.

Seven protesters attending the meeting at Runcorn Town Hall heard the Albert Road premises were too close to schools, houses, churches and day centres.

Delighted prayer group nutter, Terence Burns,said afterwards: The character of the area has been preserved and if he applies again we will oppose him again. And Cathy Miller of nearby Eric Street, added: We had God on our side.

But a shell-shocked Wesley, who owns similar adult shops in Boston and Grantham, said he was a legitimate businessman who deserved to be trusted. He said: Councils in other areas have always listened to our ideals and shown trust in us which we've always repaid with the business we bring in and the lawful way we conduct it. We are just a shop, a legal retail shop, just like a shoe shop, and we should be treated the same as everyone else. We were going to spend 25,000 revamping the shop in an area earmarked for regeneration and employ two local people to run it but now we will have to look somewhere else. "

A council spokesperson said Mr Wesley had no right of appeal but could reapply at a cost of 800.


5th October

    Tollcross Overrun by Nutters

Based on an article from The Scotsman

Plans to open Edinburgh's latest sex shop near a primary school have stirred the local nutters. Community leaders, teaching staff and parents are preparing to fight the move by entrepreneur Vince Delicato to open his third fully licensed venture in Fountainbridge.

The vacant shop he has earmarked for the venture is less than a minute's walk from Tollcross Primary. More than 140 signatures have been collected for a petition protesting against the plans for what would be the sixth licensed sex shop in Edinburgh.

The usual bollox claims abound: "wholly inappropriate"; fears about the sort of customers the sex shop would attract; over-run with lap-dancing clubs etc.  Labour politicians Chris Wigglesworth and Lorna Shiels are the reported bollox spewers.

Delicato, who recently joined forces with the owner of a West End lap-dancing club to open Scotland's first pornographic cinema, is still trying to open a licensed sex shop in the Gorgie area. Delicato said his two existing sex shops - on Easter Road and Drummond Street - operated "without any problems". There is no justification in complaining about parents and children walking past the sex shop as the entire frontage of it is blanked out. I'm applying to run a perfectly legal business.

Councillors are expected to discuss the licensing application on Friday.


30th September

    2000 Nutters

Based on an article from ic Cheshire

Nearly 2,000 nutters have voiced their whinges over a proposed sex shop.

Five sets of petitions were submitted to Halton Borough Council after the Weekly News revealed Stephen Wesley had applied for a sex shop licence at 119 Albert Road.

In a 26-point objection, protesters said the shop would be bad for the image of town as well as attracting sex offenders and increasing the risk of crime.

Wesley claims the sex shop is appropriate. He said: 'The premise is currently an empty unit. If a licence were to be granted we would be looking to negotiate a two-year lease and completely refurbish the property.

Among some of the goods which are proposed to be sold under the authority of a licence are described in the application as marital aids, lingerie, VHS videos and DVDs.


27th September

    Not Fair in Cardiff

From ic Wales

A sex fair planned for Cardiff has been called off. Both the promoters and Cardiff International Arena, which lodged an application to stage a sex shop next June, have announced they are pulling out in a letter to the city's council.

It has now been abandoned, although the reasons for the about-turn remain unclear, with a spokesman for the CIA saying: The event is no longer going ahead as the client has decided to cancel.

The cancellation comes four years after councillors threw out a request by the Xsensual company for a three-day sex market - complete with strippers and promoting bondage gear, fetish equipment and adult videos and books - at the CIA.

But nutter groups and politicians have welcomed the decision. A spokesman for the Christian Institute - a body which actively campaigned against the sex fair in 2000 - said it was 'delighted' at the decision not to go through with the application.


25th September

    Blanket Rejection of Rights

So the judge was not satisfied the councils were operating a blanket rejection of licences for sex establishments on social or moral or other grounds. He was probably right, it was probably on religious grounds which are hardly moral or social

From The Belfast Telegraph

A ban on sex shops in Belfast and Bangor was upheld in the High Court today.

Belfast City Council and North Down Borough Council both operate a blanket ban on sex shops and their policy was challenged by way of an application for judicial review.

But the applications were dismissed by Mr Justice Weatherup who said he was not satisfied the councils were operating a blanket rejection of licences for sex establishments on social or moral or other grounds.

"Further I am satisfied the respondents (the councils) have established that a fair balance has been struck between the applicants' interests and the public interest," he said.

The challenges were brought by Misbehavin' Ltd in respect of premises at Gresham Street, Belfast, and Ian Brown, who applied for a licence for premises at Bingham Mall, Bangor.

Fighting the Good Fight

Many thanks for the first hand view from Ian Brown, the sex shop owner bringing this case.

Hi Melonfarmers,

My name is Ian Brown, and for two years I have been fighting for Northern Ireland councils anywhere to grant just ONE sex shop licence. I currently trade under the name Fantasy.

Over here councils have been turning down licence applications on the grounds of relevant locality in NI. Part of there 'misc prov' order is that the shop must be 500 yards from a church of or 500 yards from a school. Given the fact that we have been fighting over here on religion for 300 years the chances of being 500 yards from a church IN THIS COUNTRY puts the point 150 yards offshore or in the middle of Logh Neagh! Its very difficult to satisfy the criteria when the 'pass mark' is 110%.

I opened a shop in Bangor and in Derry NI, and have been trading very successfully for two years I have applied for a licence had the application turned down in Bangor, been called, the antichrist, a pervert, and a paedophile, by local council members.

We have no appeal at county court level over here so I have had to take my fight to the High Court under a judicial review.

My arguments among others is article one protocol one under the human rights act. Further that the NI population has the same rights to freedom of choice to use ANY ADULT shop as their counterparts in the UK, AND ARE BEING ILLEGALLY CENSORED BY COUNCILS IN THIS COUNTRY.

Tomorrow 23/09/04 the judgement by Mr Justice Weatherup will be announced.It will not be in our favour, for many reasons, one of which in my opinion is that no judge regardless of the legalities will ever want to be known as the one who allowed licensed sex shops into N.I. Either Bangor or Belfast or wherever.


On Monday of this week I was on a BBC radio show putting my case, a straw pole was done by text voting, and at one point the vote to allow sex shop licences into NI WAS 2/1, this announcement by the radio show host prompted a surge by the good christians of this ill fated isle of ours but they still couldn't turn the vote it ended up 52% for 48% against. Which in my opinion is a resounding success, the fact that the faceless buyers of the general public actually stood up and were counted, in a PRO sex shop vote.

BUT as with anything in Northern Ireland it will by the moral minority who will control the majority.

I would like to say that we will not be going away, there are other owners (like me) fighting for their right to trade with products which are legal in this country, I will continue this fight, this crusade, until we have licences in this remote corner of the United Kingdom, and we are treated the same as the UK mainland!!!!

Our Day will come! (The Melon Farmers certainly hope so)


18th September

    Private Hearings

From ic Essex

The bid by a Romford sex shop owner to keep trading took a new twist last week when its owners challenged a legal procedure in a bid to get a decision on its future postponed.

Private Lines in Victoria Road was caught trading illegally without a licence on December 1, 2003. It was fined 9,000 in July this year after pleading guilty at Romford Magistrates' Court.

The shop's owner had to attend the Town Hall last Wednesday for a hearing before the Licensing Committee, where they asked for their application to be adjourned.

Havering Council said the applicant, Darker Enterprises, asked for the hearing to be adjourned for it to seek further legal advice. A spokesman said: The applicant objected to the council's actual hearings procedures.They expressed their concern first by fax and then at the meeting. The applicants representative, Clive Sullivan, stated a 1985 case to back up the argument that questioning of the applicant should not occur.

After taking legal advice from the council's legal department, councillor Peter Gardner, chairman of the licensing committee, said the procedure should stand and the adjournment was made.

The hearing will be rescheduled at a later date.


17th September

    Uptight in Queensferry

Usual rights abuse, denial of rights with a non-existent justification of harm

From ic North Wales

A licensed sex shop will not be operating in Queensferry after county officials rejected an application on Wednesday.

The proposed owners of the shop, Scandals, may be considering a judicial review. Lilian Kershaw, of Scandals, applied for a licence to open a sex shop on Station Road several months ago.

The original application was then dealt with by Flintshire County Council's licensing department under delegated powers, who rejected it. This week saw Mrs Kershaw appeal that decision before a committee of elected members.

Kershaw was applying for a licence to sell R18 products (hard pornography). Without the licence she could - and has - opened the shop without selling such products.

When asked by the panel, Mrs Kershaw's legal representative said they were hoping for 30% total shop turnover to be from the sale of R18 products. She said: I think it's fair to say that in Queensferry already 10% of sales is of standard 18-rated videos. There is a temptation to make the R18 side of the business sound like the main part of it, but it's not.The remaining 70% of turnover at our Birkenhead store is novelty toys, lingerie and clothing, massage oils, cards, therapies and that sort of thing.'

Mr Lovett, Council officer, told members: The application was made in the correct manner with relevant notices. North Wales Police had no objections. However, we received 60 letters of objection and two petitions with some 300 names.The council must give the applicants notice of objections, which we did. In Flintshire County Council licensing, matters are given to officers to determine under delegated powers.They were minded to refuse the application on the grounds that the licensed premises would be out of character with the surrounding area. Their decision is that the character of Queensferry is predominantly residential except for Station Road itself. Deeside Leisure Centre is nearby. Pupils pass up and down the street getting to a number of schools and there is a place of worship at the end of Station Road.

For those reasons the officers of the council were minded to refuse the application. Under legislation the applicant had the right to appeal.'

And Councillor David Wisinger added: I'm the ward member for Queensferry and I want to say that I was taken aback by the number of people who contacted me about this particular shop and I have spoken on their behalf. The main issue is that this is a residential area and that a junior and high school are very close by to the shop and children at dinner time do go into Queensferry to buy their lunch.'

Committee Chair Cllr Pamela Walkden said: We have decided to refuse this application because the granting of a licence would be inappropriate to the locality. There is no further appeal for this decision.'

Mrs Kershaw's lawyer immediately replied: We do have a route of appeal through judicial review in our courts.'


12th September

    No Trouble in Huddersfield

From ic Huddersfield

A Huddersfield sex shop and cinema has won its battle to continue trading. The Empire Cinema Club, on John William Street, had its licence renewed by Kirklees Council's licensing and safety committee yesterday.

The committee decided that the first-floor business was low-key and well-run, despite objections raised over the licence. Members also noted that it had been in the town for 25 years without any problems being reported.

Cllr David Sheard, who chaired the meeting, said: We appreciate the objections. I don't think everyone's into the same thing and that will always be the case. But on the record of the establishment we approve the application."

The application had been adjourned twice since May, because of objections to the renewal of the sex shop's licence to sell adult books, magazines, videos and sex aids. The shop is open to anybody over 18, but there is also a private members-only film club, which shows R18 adult movies.

There were no objectors at yesterday's meeting.The Vicar of Huddersfield, the Rev Catherine Ogle, was one of the most outspoken objectors. She felt the sex shop gave John William Street a "seedy" atmosphere and made people feel uncomfortable.


11th September

    Bollox from Bangor

From ic North Wales

A sex shop chain is making its second attempt to get a foothold in North Wales. Nice 'n' Naughty, which advertises its goods openly in brightly-lit windows, has had a planning application for a store in Bangor opposed by the city council.

The company says it aims to get away from the seedy image of back-street sex store.

Bangor city council clerk Gwyn Hughes spouted the usual bollox and said there was a sub-culture associated with sex shops wherever they occur . We are talking about petty criminals and prostitution, that's the image that I have of red-light districts. Families and children go to the cinema nearby and there's a retail food store on one side.

Councillor Dewi Llewelyn, whose ward contains the site, said the shop would create an unfavourable impression of the city, although people see it as more threatening than it is .

The application will now go before Gwynedd council's licensing committee, which can overrule the city councillors.

It is the second attempt by Chester-based Nice 'n' Naughty, which owns five stores in the north west of England, to open a store in North Wales. Plans for a shop in Colwyn Bay were dismissed two years ago after Conwy county councillors refused to grant its owner a licence.

As a result, Simon Prescott, the managing director of Nice 'n' Naughty, said he would not proceed with the shop, but did not rule out looking at a different site in the future. The firm eventually settled on a former newsagents in Bangor High Street and put the application before city councillors on Monday.

Nice 'n' Naughty fought to become the first shop in the north west of England to have a window display. The chain has grown from one store in Chester to a brand, with shops in Wigan, Warrington, South-port and, earlier this year, Liverpool.


5th September

    Historic Sex Shop

From The Scotsman

A bookshop in a building dating back to the 16th century is to open an adults-only section selling sex toys and magazines, it was confirmed today. The Old Judges House in Westgate, Gloucester is regarded as one of the best examples of a timber-framed building in the country.

The building is home to Bookends Bookshop but now the owners want to convert the top floor into an adult shop selling sex toys and magazines.

The plans have been criticised by Gloucester Civic Trust which wants to preserve the building as it is. The Trust had planned guided tours of the building during a heritage weekend on September 11, but the installation of a sex shop has put the tour in doubt.

Philip Moss from the Trust said: I was walking around the shop in preparation for the tour. I was quite shocked as I didn't know they were converting the building.They were setting up display cases with certain items in them. The items in the shop were surprising for such a historic building.

Bookends manager Brian Thompson admitted part of the bookshop was being converted into a sex shop. We will be setting up an adult department in our bookshop , he said. "We'll be selling adult themed magazines, adult toys and 18 certificate videos. But we are being very, very respectful of the building. There's not going to be flashing lights and naked women, we are a bookshop at the end of the day. We've got permission to open to convert the shop. We aren't a licensed sex shop so we can't sell R18-rated films.

The sex shop will open in the next fortnight.


2nd September

    Woolwich Nutters

Based on an article from This is South London

Rev Stephen Hammond, a nutter from Woolwich 4 Families, criticised the application by Darker Enterprises to open a sex shop at 112 Woolwich High Street. The proposed shop, on the site of an old cab firm, is directly opposite Waterfront Leisure Centre.

Rev Hammond, of the Global Impact Church, Deptford, collected 600 signatures on a petition against the company's plans to open a shop at another site on Thomas Street in May.

He said: We have kids of all ages walking past this new site. I would say this site is about 30 metres from the main shopping centre of Woolwich, two minutes walk from a very popular church and near the Sikh temple as well. Reports have been brought out about the detrimental effect shops like this can have on an area."

The company's initial application for Thomas Street was adjourned and the council's licensing committee asked the business to make a separate application.

The next meeting of the licensing committee, on September 6, has been postponed and the report into the new application is likely to be considered later this month.


16th August

    Unsuitable Location for a Nursery

Thanks to the Joker who points out that the letting agents of the proposed nursery were contacted and in fact the property is still available for rent. Perhaps the nursery is an elaborate

Based on an article from This is Lancashire

Plans to open a sex shop in the centre of Farnworth have been disrupted by a proposal for a children's nursery.

The shop is being earmarked for Market Street and the application is set to go before Bolton Council's licensing committee on September 7.

But another company is hoping to launch a children's nursery next door to the planned store -- and has vowed to fight against the adult shop.

Builder Riley and Wood is applying for planning permission for a nursery in Market Street, within the former social security offices. Bev Burns, a spokesman for Riley and Wood, said: There's no way planners will want to open a day care nursery next door to a sex shop. It's totally unsuitable.

If approved, the nursery will be open between 8am and 6pm and employ eight members of staff. The company says it already has two interested parties in running the day centre.

Farnworth councillor Noel Spencer said: This sort of clash certainly doesn't seem desirable. Nobody should prejudge an application before it goes through the proper process but, on this evidence, it is not appropriate. We are not looking to entice these types of shop into Farnworth anyway. They look tacky and are not the sort of environment for children to be around.

A spokesman for Bolton Council said: "The application for a sex shop will come before the licensing committee on September 7. But because the objection period runs out only the day before, the hearing could be deferred to give interested parties the chance to attend the meeting.


16th August

    Undesirable Church Nutter Shames Reading

Hardly seems in keeping with the ideals of Christianity to brand a large swathe of decent people as undesirable

Based on an article from ic Berkshire

Pastor says sex shop attracts 'undesirables' and that Reading borough council would be irresponsibly ignoring its own rules by granting a licence for a sex shop to operate near his church in the Oxford Road area.

Shameful pastor Yinka Oyekan, minister of Grovelands Christian Fellowship, led a protest outside Reading's council chamber last night before licensing councillors ruled on the future of the Lovecare shop.

Success for Lovecare's licence renewal application would make it the road's second approved sex shop, contravening the council's Safe Night Out licensing policy.

The policy states "only one sex establishment licence will be granted in each area" - and that should be a commercial district.

The Baptist minister said: Vulnerable youngsters need protection and we certainly don't need more sexual liberalism in our town. The problem with sex shops is that, by definition, they offer various materials of an adult content. That attracts men, and some women, we might not want in the area. In the minds of some, these are shops which belong in red-light areas, so some are coming here looking for sex.

Oyekan also believes allowing sex shops in the road is culturally insensitive to the area's large immigrant population. He said: These people are typically offended by these shops and, if the council does not stick to its policy, it shows it doesn't really care about the impact on these people.

The application was for a retrospective licence from March 2003 to February 2004 because councillors deferred a decision. It will have to reapply for an up-to-date licence next month.


5th August

    Preaching Intolerance in Widnes

Based on an article from ic Cheshire

Catholic nutters have joined a campaign to block plans for a sex shop which they fear will 'corrupt' the youth of Widnes.

Members of the Padre Pio prayer group have made a huge banner and are planning to stand outside the proposed site at 119a Albert Road on Saturday in the hope that hundreds of passers-by will be moved to complain about the proposals.

So far St John Fisher Church is to be joined in its protest by St Michael's RC Church and organisers believe a St Bede's Church campaign could also be on the cards. They hope Church of England congregations will also become involved in the campaign.

Terence Burns, prayer leader for the Padre Pio prayer group at St John Fisher Church, said: A number of people have agreed to take part and there will be many there on the day. We are going to stand outside where the shop with a big banner from 10am-1pm and hopefully hundreds of people will see it. We are disgusted. We believe this shop will bring 'filth' to Widnes and will corrupt young minds. Widnes has been a nice town and we don't want innocent people to be corrupted.'

Halton council has said a decision on the application will be made after it has considered comments made in writing by the public. The council states that its powers to make a decision are limited by an Act of Parliament which restricts representations from the public to matters concerning the location of the shop and the applicant.


4th August

    A Happy Crewe

Based on an article from The Sentinel

Plans to open a sex shop in Crewe have been approved by councillors despite objections from nutters and neighbouring businesses. Andrew Berry was granted approval to open a sex shop called The Love Boutique on Nantwich Road at a meeting yesterday.

The shop selling marital aids, kinky clothes and R18 DVDs will open Monday to Saturday from 9.30am until 6pm from next month.

It will be the second sex shop to open in the town. An existing shop on Edleston Road has been open for 20 years.

Berry also runs sex shops in Stockport and Preston.

He said: This will not be a seedy old fashioned sex shop, with glowing neon signs outside the door, and there will be no products placed in the window which may cause offence. We want to try to attract people over the age of 21, adults and married couples who want to buy the kind of things we will be selling which they cannot buy in Crewe at the moment.

Borough councillors were warned they could not reject the scheme on moral or religious grounds and instead must only look at the suitability of the shop.

They raised concerns about people under-age buying explicit films but were assured by Berry that he had a tough door policy.

After the council's decision, Berry said: It was the right decision, it will be a bright, clean shop which will not be in any way offensive to people walking past. It will be run to a high standard and will offer the people of Crewe somewhere to come if they wish to buy the type of items we will be selling. There has been one sex shop in the town which has held a monopoly for 20 years so now people will have a choice.


30th July

    Widnes Witness the Nutters

Based on an article from ic Huddersfield

Nutters who fear an area of Widnes could become like a 'red light district' have launched petition against plans to open a sex shop in Albert Road.

Nutters have voiced disgust after they read a planning notice about the proposal and they intend to hold a major protest outside the earmarked premises in Albert Road if Halton Borough Council gives the go-ahead for the 'adult shop' to be opened.

One resident, a 69 year-old woman who is one of 25 people who have so far signed the petition, said: We are absolutely appalled and horrified to hear that the council is considering giving planning permission to such a shop.

She said: I'm not over exaggerating but these kind of shops can pull in a lot of strange individuals on to the streets of Widnes and I do not want the kids who congregate in the area going into these places and seeing what kind of merchandise they have on offer.

A council spokeswoman said: An application for a sex shop licence for 119 Albert Road has been received by Halton Borough Council. A notice has been put in the press by the company involved and if there are any objections these must be put in writing to the council. The decision will be made by the council's regulatory committee who will consider very carefully all representation made in connection with the application.The powers of the committee to make a decision are limited by an act of parliament to issues concerned with the location and the applicant.'


27th July

    Nutter Ogle

From ic Huddersfield

A decision on whether to allow a sex shop and cinema to have a licence will be taken by Kirklees Council next week.

The Empire Cinema, in John William Street, has shown adult films for more than 25 years and has been selling books, magazines and sex aids for three years.

But in May when the licence was up for renewal the vicar of Huddersfield, the Rev Catherine Ogle, spoke out against the cinema saying it had a 'seedy atmosphere'.

Empire owner Steven Fawthrop said he could not understand what all the fuss was about.

He said: We have been here as a cinema for more than 25 years and never had any bother until now. We keep ourselves to ourselves and anyone who does not want anything to do with us just stays away. With the exception of the videos our shop does not sell anything more explicit than Ann Summers in the town centre."

In May councillors on Kirklees Council's Licensing and Safety Committee deferred a decision to let Fawthrop have his say.

Councillors will meet again at the Town Hall on Monday, August 2, at 9am.


27th July

    Private Estate

Based on an article from The Citizen

Gloucester firms are to protest against the proposed relocation of a sex shop because of ludicrous concerns about its impact on female staff and school children.

Companies based on the Ashville Trading Estate, just off Empire Way in Gloucester, plan to act after it was announced The Private Shop may open its doors in Unit Seven on the Podsmead estate. One firm is even threatening to move away from the industrial estate.

The sex shop, currently based at the former Cattle Market, must relocate because it is the subject of a Compulsory Purchase Order for the market redevelopment.

But the management at Banner Hardware Ltd, Forge Motorsport, Target Catering Equipment and the Warners Accident Repair Centre, along with officials from Gloucester Rowing Club, have openly condemned the move.

The chairman of one firm looking to relocate should the sex shop open, who did not want to be named, said: I do not want to be portrayed like a moral guardian, but... I am considering these options as I have genuine concerns for my female employees and some of the young children which visit our store. It is not the content of the shop which I object to, it is the type of people it may attract."

The city council has receive more than 17 written objections to the application.

Coun Mike Lawlor, who represents the area on the city council, has also officially objected to the plans. He told The Citizen: I do not have any moral opinion on what the shop sells. However, I believe there are legal reasons why the shop should not be there. It is in close proximity to the rowing club and therefore the area is used by parents as a dropping off point for their children. It could also cause offence to women working in the area. There is a residential area close by.

Plans to move the shop to Ashville Trading Estate will be discussed by Gloucester City Council's licensing and enforcement committee on August 10.


22nd July

    First Shop in Flintshire

Based on an article from the Evening Leader

Petitions and fliers have swamped the streets of Queensferry, Flintshire, as nutters lobby the council to reject an application to license "Scandals", Station Road.

The sign displaying plans for the sex shop was put up in the windows of Bargain Booze two weeks ago. An application for a licence was put in on July 8 and residents have until July 29 to oppose it. But many nutters claim that to allow an application to go through is totally irresponsible of the council and it should be stopped as soon as possible.

Tracy Jones, said: How can the council even think it is a good idea when there are so many children around. This is a route to school. What are they thinking? People who live in the surrounding streets have pride in their community. We don't want the reputation of being the first place in Flintshire to get a sex shop.

The application has been submitted by Lilian Kershaw to open a sex shop called "Scandals". The shop intends to open between 9am and 8.30pm, Monday to Friday.


4th July

    Early Withdrawal in Barnstaple

Based on an article from the North Devon Journal

Supporters of the Journal's campaign against a sex shop in Barnstaple celebrated victory this week after the application was withdrawn. Kent-based businessman, Stephen Taylor, who already runs two shops in the country, applied to North Devon District Council for a licence to run a sex shop in Paiges Lane.

The move provoked outrage within the local nutters, and led to the launch of the Journal BRASS (Barnstaple Rejects A Sex Shop) campaign.

The Rev Paul Hockey, vicar of Fremington was "very pleased" the application was withdrawn. And the Rev Guy Chave-Cox, vicar of St Paul's, Sticklepath, added: " Barnstaple is not an appropriate place for this sort of establishment and I am very pleased that the application has been withdrawn."


24th June

    Derry Airs its View

From the Belfast Telegraph

Council chiefs in Londonderry have received no objections to the proposed granting of a licence to the city's first sex shop, it can be revealed today.

Businessman Ian Brown opened his controversial 'Fantasy' store at Waterloo Street two years ago.

Shortly afterwards, Derry City Council brought in legislation to control the number of sex shops and sex cinemas in the city. Brown was allowed to continue trading until a decision could be taken on a licence.

No decision has been made but local councillors were today told that no objections have been made. And it was revealed at a meeting of the council's Environment Services committee that police have no objections.

It is understood that a decision will be postponed until the outcome of a Judicial Review involving the granting of licences to similar establishments in Belfast.

A ruling is due to be made public soon.


23rd June

    Harmony in Oxford Street

Based on an article from ThisIsLondon

Plans for Oxford Street's first fully licensed hard-porn sex shop have been condemned by nutters as "totally inappropriate".

The two-storey shop, called Harmony, will open in August at the Tottenham Court Road end of the West End's premier shopping street.

The 4,000 square-foot store will stock lingerie and sex toys on the ground floor and hardcore magazines, DVDs and videos in the basement.

Sally Humphreys, director of the Oxford Street Association, said: It is totally inappropriate. There is a place for shops like Harmony and it is in Soho. (Of course 3 doors away from Oxford Street down Charing Cross Road is perfectly acceptable!)

Although an Ann Summers "adult" store is already on Oxford Street, it does not stock hardcore material - which requires a licence from Westminster council.

Harmony manager Jamie O'Sullivan told Retail Week magazine the company wanted to create a "lifestyle brand" in a "nice retail environment".

He added: We are regenerating a site previously occupied by a tatty shop, which sold handbags and souvenir knickknacks. We have to abide by stringent regulations from Westminster council to open there. It is going to look as normal a high-street shop as HMV, except that it will be for over-18s only.

Harmony has four licensed sex shops in Soho but has been looking for a more upmarket Oxford Street outlet.


20th June

    No Worries in Derby, only Nutters

Update. The licence was awarded and the shop is now open

Based on an article from the Romford Recorder

A prospective licensee is hoping to open a sex shop in Derby has assured residents that they have "no reason to be concerned". Jon Foster wants to convert the former second-hand store Rummag, in Monk Street, into a shop selling adult toys and clothing. Videos and magazines could also be on sale in the future.

He has applied to Derby City Council for a licence to run the shop, but nutters have objected to the proposals. A petition with 39 signatures has been handed in, along with two letters raising concerns.

Foster insisted that they have nothing to worry about. There's no way the shop will have a negative effect on the area, I've lived here all my life and my father still lives in the area, so why would I want to make it a bad place to be? People have the idea that I'm bringing prostitution into the area and that sort of thing, but it's absolutely not the case. It's not going to be seedy - I don't want to own a seedy shop or be associated with that kind of thing.


12th June

    Stamping Down on Sex Shop

Based on an article from Romford Recorder

Nutters are furious at plans to turn the old Post Office at Roneo Corner, Hornchurch, into a sex shop. Bright Leisure Ltd, from Cambridge, want to use the shop, in Hornchurch Road, as a sex shop from Monday to Saturday, between 9.30am and 8pm.

But a few residents are up in arms at the proposals and, together with local shameful MP John Cryer, are to launch a petition to fight the idea. One resident said: I'm as broad-minded as the next person, but this is no place for a sex shop. This is mainly a residential area, a place where children from two schools walk past regularly and a sex shop is inappropriate. These days this sort of product is easily available on the internet or in papers and magazines, so I don't see the need for a shop, especially here.

Hornchurch MP Mr Cryer has joined the fight opposing the application and says the former Roneo Corner Post Office should not be turned into any kind of sex establishment. The MP is backing the residents and writing to Havering Council putting forward his views. He told the Recorder: This is the last thing the area needs. After losing a vital public service in the former post office, we now have someone wanting to replace selling stamps and processing pensions to peddling porn magazines and sleaze. I am not going to support somewhere that sells porn, which in its very nature is degrading to women. With the help of local residents I am launching a petition and urging people to write in and call on Havering councillors to turn this application down.

Two years ago nutters were angered in Romford town centre when similar plans were submitted. An application was made to turn one of the shops in the parade near to the railway station, into a sex shop. But the application was turned down by planners last year after a petition was launched and hundreds of people signed up to say 'no'


11th June

    Woolwich 4 Nutters

From News Shopper

Nutters demonstrated outside the proposed site for a sex shop. Woolwich 4 Families, organised by the Christian People's Alliance (CPA) party, wants to scupper Darker Enterprises Limited's hopes for a sex shop licence for the premises of the former Singer Sewing Centre, in Thomas Street, Woolwich.

Members of the group, which has collected more than 600 signatures for a petition calling on Greenwich Council to accept late objections to the application, campaigned at the site.

Stephen Hammond, spokesman for the CPA and its London Assembly candidate for Greenwich and Lewisham, said: A sex shop will be bad for businesses in Woolwich. It could also be bad for the public given US research suggests a sex shop increases sexual crimes within proximity to it.

The licensing sub-committee is expected to consider the application at its next meeting at Woolwich town hall on June 15.


31st May

    Pleasure Crewe

From IC Cheshire

Sex shop bosses will tomorrow visit premises in Crewe which they hope will be ideal to house the biggest erotic store in Europe. Simply Pleasure announced last year it wanted to build a supermarket-style store and a warehouse and distribution centre in Crewe.

After launching a store in Blackburn, director David Winfield says he is as determined as ever to open a Crewe branch of the store, which claims to 'take the sleaze out of sex'. We need quite a huge area. We have just opened a huge shop in Blackburn, we spent 350,000 on that and we would be looking to spend the same in Crewe

The licensed store would be one of the biggest of its kind worldwide and would also house a party-plan operation. As well as stocking lingerie, sex toys and accessories, Simply Pleasure runs a service organising parties catering for gay men, lesbians, mixed heterosexual, fetish parties and ladies' nights.

The chain, which operates on a similar basis to the Ann Summers shops, already has stores in Rochdale and Oldham and opened a branch in Blackburn last month.

At 3,000 sq ft, the shop in Oldham is said to be one of the biggest sex shops in the world, second only to Hustlers on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. But the planned store in Crewe would be even bigger than the Oldham shop, making it the largest in Europe.


22nd May

    Curried Nutters

From IC South London

A sex shop could be coming to Woolwich. Greenwich council's licensing sub-committee was meeting last night to decide whether to give the green light to plans for the Thomas Street site. But the plan has met resistance from locals with eight objections and a petition signed by 53 customers of the Curry Asia restaurant logged with the council.

The proposed shop at 38 Thomas Street is on the site of the old Singer Sewing Centre. If the shop gets the go-ahead it will not be able to open before 9.30am and will have to close by 8pm. The firm behind the plans, Darker Enterprises, runs similar shops throughout the country including one in Lewisham Road.

Update: Greenwich Council have deferred their decision whilst other sites are being examined


19th May

    Neath Persecution

From Piet

Piet here from the Little Amsterdam adult erotica and smoking emporiums.

I am at present in Spain setting up my distribution centre which will enable me to dispatch R18 videos/Dvd's to the UK legally, this is obviously pissing off my MP neighbour Peter Hain and local council as I received a telephone call from my brother who took over two of my shops after my recent court appearance .

Apparently trading standards visited The Neath shop yesterday [ 2nd time in a week ] saying that Little Amsterdam has 14 days to apply for a sex shop licence or face the consequences no videos/dvd's are on sale at the shop their objection is now the adult toys,

any advice your readers or anyone else specialist solicitors etc. would be appreciated.


13th May

    Catty Censors

Thanks to Monica,  Moore Allsorts, Ashford, Middlesex

Thanks for placing us on your list and hope it will let people know we are here, it seems to be very hard to let people know about the shop when there are so many restrictions on the type of advertising you can do, not being able to use the words Sex Shop in our advert in the Thompson left us searching for suitable alternatives.


26th April

    Naughty Liverpool

From The Liverpool Echo

A sex shop chain has been given the go-ahead to sell hardcore pornography in Liverpool, making it the second such premises to open in a month. Nice n Naughty was granted a licence yesterday to open up an outlet in Seel Street by the Liverpool licensing committee.

Before this, there was only one sex shop within the city council area, but a change in policy has led to that figure trebling. Last week, Sefton Council granted Nice n Naughty a licence to open up Southport's first sex shop. Around 320 customers had signed a petition in favour of the licence.

Simon Prescott, director of Chester-based Nice n Naughty, said: Nice n Naughty is delighted at the outcome of the licensing hearing in Liverpool. The granting of the licence in Liverpool and the Southport licence last week gives Nice n Naughty a strong presence in the Merseyside area.

The Southport shop, just off Lord Street, is already trading and the Liverpool shop will open at the end of May. The licence is the second to be given by Liverpool City Council in the last month after it also approved an application by a company called Adult X to open a new shop on London Road.

Nice n Naughty will become Liverpool's third sex shop and more are expected as the council conducts a controversial review of its long-standing policy to allow only one sex shop to trade in the city. A spokesman for Liverpool City Council said: The policy we had, which dates back to the 1980s, was that we would only have one sex shop in the city centre. When we got these new applications in the licensing committee decided it was time to review it on the basis that we haven't had any applications in a long time and we need to see if the existing policy is still acceptable.

However, the shameful Father Francis Martin, moral theologian for Liverpool's Catholic Archdiocese, said he was disappointed. He told the Daily Post: Pornography degrades both those who make it and those who use it, and corrupts men's attitudes towards women. [Religion degrades both those who preach it and those abuse it, and corrupts men's attitudes towards tolerance of their fellow men]

The shameful David Johnson, head of communications for Liverpool Diocese, said: We have grave concerns about the place of hardcore sex shops in a civilised society. It does not bode well for Liverpool when it is talking about being a city of culture, to be encouraging this kind of development. [The Melon Farmers have grave concerns about the place of intolerance in a civilised society]

However, sex shop owner Steve Kershaw, who last month expanded his shop Scandals to become Merseyside's first X-rated "adult superstore" on Marion Way, in Birkenhead, applauded the move. He said: By changing the licensing policies, the councils are actually making sure they can keep track of who is selling what, it should help cut down on illegal sales. The industry has come a long way since the days of blacked-out windows.


26th April

    Generic Persecution

David Byatt, a sex shop owner, trading as Bodytalk, 17 Lower North Street, Belfast, entered a plea of guilty at Belfast Magistrates Court on the 20 April 2004 to a charge of possession of Kamagra, an unlicensed medicinal product produced in India.

Kamagra is a direct copy of Viagra (Pfizer UK), which is licensed for use in the UK but is only available from a pharmacy on the prescription of a medical practitioner. Byatt was fined 250 and ordered to pay 22 costs.

This is the first prosecution of this kind in Northern Ireland and follows a successful joint operation by Medicines Inspectors of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety together with officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Commenting upon this prosecution, Chief Pharmaceutical Officer for Northern Ireland, Dr Norman Morrow, said: There is a growing concern about the quality and safety of products, which have been illegally imported into the UK. In such cases the Department will take the necessary action to ensure public safety.


22nd April


Sunderland councillors take a break from the rights and responsibilities of regulating for the modern world.

An application to open a sex shop in North Bridge Street was rejected by the city's licensing committee. (I wonder if the council provided a full justification of the harm that would have been caused by the shop)

An application for another licence in Hudson Road has yet to be heard.


22nd April

    No Plans

From Ham & High

Licensing chiefs have blocked an application for a sex shop after the applicant failed to file a proper business plan. The bid by 73-year-old George Thomsett for a sex shop licence at 68 Eversholt Street had sparked fears among resident nutters that a swathe of Somers Town was being  used by the sex industry.

Camden councillors refused the scheme at a licensing sub-committee meeting last Thursday. Committee chairman John White said that members had decided that the "application was premature" as Mr Thomsett was not yet in control of the premises and they wanted to see a proper business plan from the applicant.

Thomsett, of west London, lodged the application last October just 26 days after Steve Perrin was prosecuted by Camden Council for selling unlicensed sex videos from the premises. Perrin was fined 450 and ordered to pay 500 court costs.

Council officers visited the store, which operates under the name Euston Videos & DVDs, in January this year and found 200 videos which they believed were unclassified. The council has also admitted that sex shops are operating illegally at numbers 40 and 56 Eversholt Street despite efforts to persuade owners to apply for licences.

A council spokeswoman said: The council does not have the power to shut these shops down but as of April 1 we have an agreement with the police that we will do four spot checks a year on sex shops. If we find that they are operating illegally we will prosecute.

Businessman Richard Hennerley has applied to Camden for a licence to open the empty premises at 4 Ferdinand Street from 10am until 7pm. Objectors have until March 12 to lodge complaints at the Town Hall. Council planners have so far received three challenges to the licence. The application will be considered by the licensing committee, and, if approved, it is thought will open before the end of May. Mr Hennerley was unavailable for comment.


21st April

    Reigate Taboo

From ic Surrey Online

A licence has been granted for a sex shop in Reigate, despite strong opposition from some resident nutters. The public gallery was packed for the meeting of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council's licensing and regulatory committee last Wednesday.

Taboo International opened in Holmesdale Road on February 28, but did not need a licence as the sex articles sold in the shop were less than 10 per cent of its sales. Concerns over the proximity of schools and the material on sale were the main worries of objectors.

Paul Rietchel, of Old Road, Buckland, said: It is a totally inappropriate location for such an establishment.

Brian Glanville, who owns the business with his wife Sarah, told the meeting he had already taken privacy measures, such as installing frosted windows. He said: The shop is going to be there whether we get a licence or not. But I would like to say if the committee gives a licence I will be regulated to comply with any regulations that it wants to apply to the shop, which will be better for the community.

The committee granted the licence, with regulations, which included no audio displays on the premises and the windows remaining obscured. The shop must also close between 3.30pm and 4.30pm, when children will be leaving school.


15th April

    A Very Dodgy Interpretation of Law

So what is this trumped up bollox about not being able to advertise outside of licensed shops. No one has ever suggested that beer cannot be advertised outside of a pub, that bookies cannot advertise their prices in the press and that lap dancing clubs cannot advertise in the local mags.

Based on an article from The Shropshire Star

Two Shropshire company directors were facing a 27,000 bill today for offering to sell hard-core sex films on the internet.

Gregory Hurlstone and Gary Campbell, who run Shifnal-based Prime Time Promotions, had denied that they and the company offered to supply the R18 classified film Pure Bliss on an internet website.

But yesterday District Judge Carl Teper, sitting at Shrewsbury magistrates, ruled they were guilty as hard-core sex films should only be advertised and supplied at licensed sex shops.

Hurlstone, Campbell and Prime Time Promotions were also found guilty of aiding and abetting Karmanet Entertainment Limited in the offer to supply the hard-core film Cheerleaders' Diaries 3 and the supply of the film Pure Bliss through a business other than a sex shop in January 2002.

Three charges of supplying a mail order company in Oxfordshire with R18 rated films were dismissed.

The two directors and the Broadway Court-based company had denied the allegations brought by Shropshire trading substandards.

The company was fined 6,000, and Hurlstone and Campbell, were both fined a total of 1,500.

They were also ordered to pay 18,000, 10,000 in the name of Prime Time Promotions and 4,000 from each of the two directors.


13th April

    Vulnerable Council

From ic Surrey Online

Objections from more than 150 Reigate residents have been received over a licence application for a sex shop. Taboo International, in The Facade, Holmesdale Road, has applied to Reigate and Banstead Borough Council for the sex establishment licence.

Since the application was submitted, 173 objection letters have been received by the council, as well as three petitions with 289 names. Of those, 148 people objected to the presence of young children passing the shop. The proximity of schools was a concern to 102 objectors.

In a letter to the council, the headteacher of Reigate Parish Church School, in Blackborough Road, said: Although I under-stand it will be closely regulated, it will be near a busy part of town used by families and children. The proximity of the New Blackborough Club, which caters for a vulnerable section of the population, was raised in 20 letters.

But many objections, such as attracting undesirable people to the area and making it sleazy, were not lawful grounds for objection.

The council received 48 letters of support for the application. In a letter to the council, Judy Clark, chairman of governors of Holmesdale School, in Alma Road, raised the school's objections but added the school would prefer the shop to be licensed so the council can set regulations.

Donald Wheeler, 83, of Deerings Road, said although he is against sex shops, he thinks it is better the shop is licensed so it can be regulated. He said: First of all, they can make quite sure no one under 18 can go in the shop and they must not display the wrong kind of thing in the window.

Councillors will determine the application at a meeting of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council Licensing and Regulatory Committee on Wednesday April 14.


13th April

    Hustling for Sex Shops

From The Telegraph

Andrew Joseph, the 32-year-old scion of a wealthy property dynasty, is on a mission to stop the British being embarrassed about sex. He's bringing the Hustler Hollywood "erotic" shopping concept to the UK, having acquired the UK licence for the retail chain from the world's most famous porn mogul, Larry Flynt.

There is still incredible stigma. The important thing for us is to remove that stigma, says Joseph.

There is a tiny irony here, because until now Joseph and his family's involvement has remained a secret. When Hustler Hollywood first announced its plans earlier this year, it was left to a spokeswoman to do the talking, and any questions about the identity of the company's shareholders or directors were unanswered.

So why has Joseph - who is chairman and managing director of the new business - turned his back on the family's successful property and hotel business to sell lingerie and "toys"? There is a market. We know there is a market. We know there is a demand.

By the summer, Joseph hopes that a website - - will go live. There's currently one page up on the internet, broadcasting the company's slogan: "Relax. . . it's just sex".

And in August Joseph will open a 10,000 sq ft "conceptual erotica department store" in Birmingham's Bull Ring shopping centre - and others are scheduled to follow in London, Nottingham, Liverpool and Manchester over the subsequent 12 months, as part of an 8m investment programme.


9th April

    Sub-Standard in Wandsworth

Based on an article from The Wandsworth Guardian

A company responsible for selling hardcore DVDs at newsagents throughout Wandsworth has been fined £12,000.

Trading sub-standards brought the prosecution against Manhattan Distribution after videos and DVDs were spotted packaged together with adult magazines on newsagents' shelves.

The films had been classified Restricted 18 by the British Board of Classification, meaning they could only be sold through licensed sex shops, and were traced to the company at its base in Preston Road, Brighton.

The company was warned by borough trading sub-standards officers in June 2002 that it was unlawful to sell the films in unlicensed shops, but despite the advice continued to distribute them to local newsagents.

The company was also found to be responsible for supplying similar material to shops in Kingston, prompting Wandsworth trading sub-standards to team up with officers from the borough to launch their persecution.

Wandsworth chief trading sub-standards officer Les Eames said: The law is there to prevent films like this being sold in shops which are largely frequented by children.

Managers of Manhattan Distribution appeared at South Western Magistrates' Court last week charged with 12 offences under the Video Recordings Act 1984. Pleading guilty to all charges, they also asked for a further 21 cases to be taken into account. In addition to their fine they were also ordered to pay the council's £1,893 costs.

The owners of the newsagents where the films were sold were all issued with formal warnings and face persecution if found to stock similar material in future.


7th April

    More Obscene Law

Pabo have German directors and supply from Holland and hence the supply side seems totally legal. Liverpool Trading Substandards seem to be contending that although the supply is perfectly legal then they are still not allowed to offer to supply by way of mail order or telephone order.

Pabo Limited were found guilty in this respect of 53 Summonses (20 having been previously withdrawn). The District Judge imposed a financial penalty in relation to solely the first Summons, namely 2,500 payable within 28 days. Trading Standards claimed costs of 22,314.29 and these were approved by the District Judge in their entirety.


6th April

    Obscene Law

Liverpool City Council v Interfact Limited

The issues of principle to be determined in this case are:

  1. whether a licensed sex shop can supply R18 videos by way of mail order ore telephone order or whether supply can only be made to a person physically present in the licensed sex shop.
  2. whether a licensed sex shop may offer to supply R18 videos by way of mail order or telephone order

Interfact Ltd lost the case, basically judge agreed with prosecution that the word "supply" is wider than "sale" so all the pro-arguments went out of the window

The net effect is:

  • No mail order R18's
  • No offer to supply mail order R18's (in our out of the country)

Surely Interfect will appeal this decision particularly as they hold a licence for mail order supply from the local authority in Barking

Pabo have German directors and supply from Holland and hence the supply side seems totally legal. Point 2 above is therefore crucial in that Liverpool Trading Substandards seem to be contending that although the supply is perfectly legal then they are still not allowed to offer to supply by way of mail order or telephone order.

Pabo are in court in Liverpool today


29th March

    Barnstable Nutters

From a biased article in The North Devon Journal

Hundreds of nutters have signed up to support the Journal's BRASS campaign to stop a sex shop opening in Barnstaple. Coupons have supposedly 'flooded' into the office with letters praising the Journal's initiative.

Managing editor Andy Cooper said: The overwhelming support for our campaign shows how worried people are about the proposed sex shop.

Nutters who are strongly opposed to the proposed sex shop in Paiges Lane are worried about the effect such an establishment would have on the town.

Jane Laycock, of Lynton, said: I am not a prude at all BUT it shouldn't be in the town. People can get it from catalogues and I have no problem with that. Jane added: I also think it promotes sex as respectable - rather than couples in love - and it's not.

Some residents were not opposed to a sex shop in general BUT felt it was simply not needed or wanted in the town. Mrs Norton, of Barnstaple, said: It's just totally unnecessary. It's all right in big cities, one expects it really, BUT in a little market town like Barnstaple it's just not necessary.

The moral implications of a sex shop has also angered many Christian nutters who live and worship in Barnstaple.Ruth Hayes, of Sticklepath, said: My husband and I are Christian and we feel morally this goes against all we believe.

Fremington's vicar, the Rev Paul Hockey, thanked the Journal for organising "this important campaign." And he has reproduced copies of the Journal coupon on the church notice sheet, encouraging his nutters at St Peter's in Fremington and St Andrew's in Bickington to sign up to the campaign. Hockey echoed comments in last week's Journal that sex was a "precious gift of God" and that the gift was "cheapened and devalued" when it was "so blatantly detached from its proper context of love, faithfulness and commitment in marriage.


29th March

    Unlawful Use of Statutory Powers

From The Scotsman

A High Court battle was launched today over a scheme to turn premises with an unlicensed sex shop and brothel into housing for the homeless. The owners of the premises in Soho, London, told a judge that Westminster City Council's scheme involved an unlawful use of statutory powers .

Ainsdale Investments Ltd, which bought the property at 2 Peter Street in 1996, was challenging Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's decision last August to confirm a compulsory purchase order (CPO) made by the council in July 2002 following a public local inquiry.

Romie Tager QC, appearing for the council, said the property comprised two buildings linked by a courtyard. He said there would be "a quantitative gain" if the sex shop which had been raided many times and found to be selling illegal pornographic videos was closed down and the whole building repaired and made valuable for use by homeless families .

The front, four-storey building contained an unlicensed sex shop in the ground floor and basement run by Ainsdale, specialising in pornographic videos. It had experienced 17 police raids between 1999 and 2002 in which 6,741 videos were seized, with a retail value of more than 138,000.

The upper part of the front building and the whole of the rear building had for many years been used as a brothel occupied by prostitutes and their "maids". Tager told Mr Justice Owen that Ainsdale's involvement in running the property was unclear, although at the very least it received rent or a share of the profit from the prostitutes or their pimps.

Because Ainsdale, which was incorporated abroad, had failed to register as an overseas company under the 1985 Companies Act and give details of its company directors and UK contacts, Westminster had been unable to serve statutory notices on it. The company was apparently insolvent as it owed Westminster nearly 11,000 in business rates covering the period March 19 1999 – August 28 2001.

At the local inquiry, Ainsdale had not challenged substantial evidence of the unlicensed sex shop illegally selling videos, or that the rest of the premises were used as a brothel. Two objectors at the inquiry, a Miss Cromack and Miss Mardlin, claimed to be residential tenants and produced documents to show that they worked as prostitutes on the property and also lived there.

But Stephen Cottle, appearing for Ainsdale Investments, argued that the city council was not exercising its powers to acquire property for housing on a lawful basis. Cottle said: It is not proportionate to dispossess my client of the commercial part of the premises without giving reasons in sufficient detail for them to know a lawful decision has been reached. It is an unlawful use of statutory powers – a naked enforcement measure.

Reserving judgment, the judge said he would take time to consider his ruling.


10th March

    Little Fine in Little Amsterdam

Based on an article from The South Wales Evening Post

A man found guilty of illegally selling porn videos has been hauled back into court by a judge after boasting he had "got off lightly". Piet Manca escaped a prison sentence after being found guilty of illegally selling porn videos from his shop next door to Neath MP Peter Hain's constituency office in Windsor Road

He then bragged outside court that his 4,000 fine was only a week's takings and described how he would flood Neath with hardcore porn sold legally through the Internet.

After hearing about his comments everyone, including Manca, was called back into court by Judge Christopher Morton who demanded an explanation and told him he was "sailing close to the wind.''

Manca, who runs the Little Amsterdam drugs paraphernalia shop, had pleaded not guilty to two charges of supplying unclassified hardcore porn videos and possessing three similar DVDs with intent to supply.

He was fined 4,000 plus 7,349 costs.


7th March

    Unclassified Persecution

It is about time the Video Recordings Act was declared null and void due to it's gross abuse of human rights. It is outrageous that all of our viewing has to be pre-vetted by the Government. If the film is not obscene then there should  be no further restrictions other  than that of the purchasers age.

Based on an article from The South Wales Evening Post

The owner of a Neath store accused of selling unclassified (but not obscene) porn videos has blamed Neath MP Peter Hain, police and Neath Port Talbot Council for waging a campaign of harassment against him. Piet Manca, of the Little Amsterdam store next to Hain's constituency office in Windsor Road, is on trial at Swansea Crown Court charged with selling two unclassified hard core porn videos and possessing three similar DVDs with intent to supply. Manca revealed that he had been visited by police and council officers 20 times since he opened his shop just over a year ago.

The case has been adjourned until Monday for the jury to consider their verdict. Manca is pleading not guilty. Judge Christopher Morton told the jury not to make any decision over five charges against the Little Amsterdam Ltd company, but to concentrate on identical charges against Manca himself.

Little Amsterdam area manager Paul Jarrett gave evidence for the defence. He told the court how he had been given a selection of unclassified videos as samples but had sold three of them and pocketed the money without Manca's knowledge after the sales rep failed to reappear.

Two of the videos were sold to a trading standards officer from Neath Port Talbot Council, which triggered a raid on the store five days later. The court heard how the videos were normally sold on a commission basis through a link on Little Amsterdam's website.

Phillip Harris-Jenkins, defending, said: Nobody is going to go to Little Amsterdam expecting to get a knitting pattern - it's upfront about what it does. What Mr Jarrett did was completely contrary to what the shop is about. It was a legitimate business. Why would Mr Manca set up his own website and then be so rash as to sell these films over the counter anyway?


2nd March

    Ride a Cock Horse

From the Banbury Guardian

The poster, which plays on the Ride a Cock Horse nursery rhyme theme, was specially commissioned to advertise the opening of the Ann Summers store in Castle Quay last Friday.

Displayed on a moving billboard measuring eight metres by four metres, it was hard to ignore as it travelled around the town on Friday and over the weekend.

Some shoppers welcomed the store and saw the funny side of the slogan. But others were shocked and the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has confirmed that it has received a complaint.

Claire Forbes from the ASA told the Banbury Guardian: We received a complaint from a resident who found the poster offensive, particularly as it is visible to children. Adverts cannot be pre-cleared by us because there are just too many of them so we deal with complaints after they have come out. We judge those complaints by asking if the campaign will 'cause severe or widespread offence'.

Area manager for Ann Summers, Jannette Dolby, toasted the launch of the Banbury store with the new team of staff. Before opening the doors she said: This should be a very exciting weekend for Banbury and I am sure shoppers are happy to have us. We are not a sex shop, we are a high street store. People can buy sex aids from Selfridges in London these days so I don't think we should be classified a seedy shop because we sell them too."

The Castle Quay store had a hugely successful first weekend, bringing in more sales than it had predicted, the company later announced.

Ann Summers must now wait for a decision from the ASA which will take 27 days.  If the complaint is upheld, the company will be banned from using the promotion again.


26th  February

    Mail Order Test Case Update

Officially now recognised as a test case at Liverpool Magistrates Court, 2nd April 2004

Liverpool City Council v Interfact Limited

The issues of principle to be determined in this case are:

  1. whether a licensed sex shop can supply R18 videos by way of mail order ore telephone order or wehether supply can only be made to a person physically present in the licensed sex shop.
  2. whether a licensed sex shop may offer to supply R18 videos by way of mail order or telephone order

I have also been informed that Pabo (the mail-order company owned by Beate Uhse) are going to court over the mail-order R18 issue and will appear after the case above. This case is again brought by Liverpool Trading Substandards.

Pabo have German directors and supply from Holland and hence the supply side seems totally legal. Point 2 above is therefore crucial in that Liverpool Trading Substandards seem to be contending that although the supply is perfectly legal then they are still not allowed to offer to supply by way of mail order or telephone order.

It is interesting to follow through some of the ludicrous outcomes that would occur if this point were to be upheld. All sorts of, eg web site intermediaries, may be liable for hassle.  In addition the concept may be extended to the purchase of foreign mainstream DVDs.

I presume our authorities will be proving the harm that would otherwise be caused when justifying their noxious attempts at mass censorship


22nd February

    Softcore Hustle

Based on an article from the Independent

The American porn magnate Larry Flynt is to open a chain of up-market sex shops in Britain, taking on the might of Ann Summers on the high street. Flynt, the publisher of top-shelf magazines Hustler and Barely Legal , has done a deal with a group of British investors to launch a chain of "erotic superstores" selling his branded range of lingerie, sex toys and leisure wear.

Flynt is known for his magazines' hardcore subject matter. But he is also a hero to some American liberals after fighting obscenity lawsuits on the basis of the constitutional right to free speech - which is how he was depicted in the film The People vs Larry Flynt , Oliver Stone's idealised 1996 biopic.

The first two stores will open in Birmingham and London this summer as part of the Hustler Hollywood chain of sex shops run by Flynt's daughter Theresa from the family's base in Los Angeles. Another three outlets are planned for next year for other major cities such as Manchester, Nottingham and Cardiff. And, if the stores take off, Hustler "gentlemen's clubs" could follow, to take on the lap-dancing market.

The launch marks a fresh attempt by powerful players in North America's vast sex industry to expand their empires into Britain - led by the lap-dancing clubs owned by Spearmint Rhino. The LA-based chain was the first to take on Britain's home-grown clubs, such as Stringfellows, but it is now mired in controversy. Its owners are bringing in new US managers after a series of legal battles over its licences.

But the consortium behind the British Hollywood Hustler stores is anxiously trying to distance its shops from the seedier side of the industry - as well as Flynt's reputation for "extreme" products.

More than 33m is being spent on turning the British stores into "lifestyle experiences", complete with bleached wood floors, coffee bars, books and toiletries. The shops will stock erotic lingerie, male and female sex aids and sex toys such as "soft" bondage gear and costumes similar to the ranges sold by Ann Summers, the now respectable chain that runs 112 high street outlets and has 7,500 "party organisers" around the country.

Hustler Hollywood UK insists that hardcore magazines, "extreme" sex aids and all sex videos and DVDs will be banned - even though all the US branches have "over-18" pornography sections. Marianne Tosh, the firm's UK retail manager, claimed it is targeting the "higher end" of the market, competing with exclusive erotic boutiques Coco de Mer and Myla, which has concessions in Selfridges and Liberty.

We will always have that stigma of being associated with Hustler magazine , she said. But when people come into our stores, they will find them so professional, so acceptable, they will get over it. Her claims were met with scepticism by Jackie Gold, founder of Ann Summers, and Charlotte Semler, co-founder of Myla. They predicted Hustler's brand was too closely associated with male tastes in pornography to win much business from women.


11th February

    Telford Romeos

From the Shropshire Star

A Telford sex shop which has been trying to expand operations for the past four years hopes to move to a bigger site to meet growing demand from the public, it was revealed today.

Bosses of Romeo and Juliet's Adult Shop say business is booming for everything from bondage costumes to X-rated videos.

Nicola and Roger Dicken now want to move into a unit at Ketley Business Park to offer a "bigger and better service" for their customers. They claim their existing shop at Trench Lock Industrial Estate simply cannot cope with the massive demand for sex products from people all over Shropshire.

The couple have applied for a sex establishment licence at Ketley under Mrs Dicken's name. Mr Dicken said today: The unit we are in at the moment does not fit in with our plans any more. We just can't offer all the services customers require. We want to look into mail order distribution, small manufacture of dresses and items as well as services for transvestites and trans-sexuals.

They hope the plans will be given the go-ahead despite councillors blocking their previous attempts to develop premises in both Telford and Shrewsbury.

An application to relocate the Trench shop to another shop at Holyhead Road on a school route in Ketley was turned down in June last year. Residents submitted a 59-signature petition and parents said they were worried about children having to walk past the shop on their way to Ketley Infants' School.

There were similar protests when Romeo and Juliet's tried unsuccessfully to open a shop at several sites in Shrewsbury, including the town centre.

Dicken said: Just because we sell adult goods and sex items, councillors decide they don't want our shop in the area. But it's a legitimate, responsible business that has been running for eight years now. We only allow over-18s in the shop - if in doubt, I boot them out. It is amazing in this day and age that people still treat adult shops with contempt.


28th January

    Positive Petition

Based on an article in the Scotsman

Women are eagerly signing a petition calling for a sex shop to open in their town.

The proposed opening of the first sex shop in Galashiels has been swamped by women keen to show their support.
Shona Jackson, 23, applied for a licence to the council to the shop and wall-mounted two petitions - one for and one against the opening.

But while the one against the shop remains blank, the one in favour has been swamped by signatures - mostly women.
Ms Jackson, the manageress of the clothes shop Ballisticz and a fashion graduate, proposes to turn the store's stockroom into a separate sex shop, where she will sell her own range of lingerie.

She said: At the moment if a woman wants to buy sex toys or erotic lingerie, then she has to go all the way into Edinburgh. Why can we not have it locally?


28th January

    Afternoon Closing

Based on an article from the Exeter Express & Echo

An Exeter sex shop, Fantasy World, has sparked angry protests by its appeal to lift a ban that stops it trading when children finish school for the day. The Private Shop, in Fore Street, has to close its doors between 3.30pm and 4.30pm during term time.

The restriction was imposed by Exeter City Council when the shop opened in 1986, to protect children walking through the city after school. It resulted from concerns by schools in the area, which have since closed. Now Darker Enterprises, which owns the shop, has applied for the restriction to be removed as part of its application to renew the licence. Its appeal will be debated by the council's licensing committee on February 3.

Sue Shorman, head of Alphington Combined School, is against the restriction being lifted. She said: Anything that may prevent children from gaining access to these types of goods should stay in place.

City moral rights nutter Dr Adrian Rogers agreed. He said: The difference between now and 15 years ago is that the internet has proved there is a bigger appetite for pornography than ever before. Shops such as this only fuel these appetites and desires which cannot be easily fulfilled. We also know that trends over the last 15 years show more and more sexual interest in children, also related to pornography. Dr Rogers said he was concerned that if the shop was open between 3.30pm and 4.30pm it could encourage children to go in on their way home from school, despite a ban on under 18-year-olds entering the premises. He said: In the same way as children find ways of buying cigarettes and alcohol, they may try to go into these shops. If the citizens of Exeter had any sense they would not allow this shop to be open. They will never stamp this sort of thing out all together, but they can help prevent it by not authorising a licence.

City councillor Barry McNamara said that although he did not object to the shop having a licence, he did not feel it should be permitted to open between 3.30pm and 4.30pm. He said: I am against anything that could be detrimental or offensive to children in the area. It is of concern that if the shop is open during these hours, children could try to walk into the shop on the way home from school. If we allow this to happen we could be responsible for corrupting young minds.


20th January

    Pandering to Reading Nutters

Based on an article from the Reading Evening Post

Readings best ever performing independent nutter candidate has warned he'll stand for election again if a sex shop is not closed down. Pastor Nutter Adeyinka Oyekan, who polled 279 votes in the Battle ward seat won by Labour in May, says he's ready to fight again if Reading Borough Council's licensing committee votes to keep an Oxford Road sex shop open.

This time council leader Dave Sutton's Katesgrove ward and MP-hopeful Tony Page's Abbey ward could be in his sights. Oyekan, 42, a minister at the Grovelands Christian Fellowship in Oxford Road, campaigned on the basis that not enough was being done to tackle community concerns on everything from drugs to prostitution.

He said: We would rather not get involved in politics, as in standing for council. But if they vote in policies which are going to continue to degrade our community, we may feel we have no alternative. It's about highlighting hypocrisy and asking: Do they have the conviction to implement their policies? It's an issue of integrity and character.

The council's licensing committee last year decided to stick to its Safer Nights Out policy and block an application to re-license sex shop Love Care at 328 Oxford Road. But Oyekan is worried the council will cave in after the High Court urged the committee to reconsider the application on Wednesday, February 25.

Oyekan is lending his support to Councillor Tony Jones, who also represents Battle ward and wants the committee to stick to its guns.  Cllr Jones said: Myself and fellow ward councillor Chris Maskell are not going to be turning down the volume on this because I believe the right decision has already been made.

The reluctant politician and his team had canvassed locals about their concerns. But he is delighted at the progress made by Labour councillors Jones and Maskell in the troubled area. Oyekan threw his weight behind attempts to shut the area's crack houses and harangue on kerb crawlers.

Cllr Tony Jones added: We are pleased pastor Adeyinka and others are beginning to recognise the work we are doing. We are up against a range of challenges, which won't go away over night.

A key election rival for Oyekan could be Abbey ward's June Orton, vice-chairman of the licensing committee, who is poised to be involved in Wednesday's decision.

Mrs Orton said: I think the three Abbey ward councillors have a good record of not just responding to the concerns of residents, but being active in finding what their needs are. We were at the forefront of work with police getting rid of drug dealing and prostitution in Foxglove Gardens. It was notorious and residents in the little estate were living in fear."

Mrs Orton also explained the licensing committee had in the past blocked a number of applications for new sex shops in the area. She added: There is no proven link between the activity of sex shops and the activity of prostitutes and drug dealers. Most local residents are more concerned about the issue of drug dealing and prostitution. I have never had a single complaint about sex shops.

Oyekan warned, if he does stand again, he will run a longer and more vigorous campaign.


18th January

    What's New in Watford

Based on an article from the Watford Observer

Watford is set to get a new sex shop after the council's licensing committee gave permission for an adult store on the town's main shopping street.

On Thursday, January 15, the committee gave permission to Timothy Hemming, who owns more than 20 sex shops across the country, to open premises at number 88 The Parade.

Last year Hemming was refused a licence for a sex shop in Market Street because it was in a residential area. Committee members said they had no grounds to refuse one at the top of the high street, a mainly commercial zone.

The move was greeted with dismay by nutters  who said it would bring down the tone of the town.


9th January

    'Kin Nutters in Kinson

Based on an article from ThisIsDorset

The owner of an adult fantasy shop has vowed to stay open despite calls by nuutters to have it closed.

Secrets over-18s store in Kinson Road, Kinson, opened in August. Proprietor Barry Britton thought people had accepted he was running a legitimate business but now he has received a 470-signature petition through his letterbox.

Britton said: I am not going to close because I haven't done anything wrong. I am running a legitimate business and am not breaking any rules. If someone had come in and spoke to me about it I would have talked to them but no one has had the decency to come to see me."

The petition, which was gathered by nutters from Kinson United Churches, calls for Bournemouth Borough Council to do what it can to prevent Secrets trading in this location . It says: Kinson is a largely residential area which has the highest proportion of children and young people in the whole of Bournemouth. The law recognised that a shop like Secrets is not appropriate for those under 18. Yet the shop is situated next door to the Party Shop which attracts children and their families and three doors away from Sussed, the drop-in centre for young people.

The petition also claims that it is within just a few hundred metres of a primary school and has been made to look very attractive to children and young people.

Team rector of Kinson, Reverend Dick Saunders, said: The petition doesn't object to the items that are on sale, it is just saying this is not the right place to have such a shop .

Louis Way, chairman of Kinson Traders Association, said: I haven't heard anything about a petition that's going on. I have personally been to see Barry and I don't see a problem with it.

Cllr Claire Prince, representing the Kinson north ward, said: As I represent all the people in the ward I know that the owner is doing nothing wrong. We have had officers go there and he's not breaking any laws at all. I also agree that everyone has the right to express their democratic right by organising a petition .

Cllr Anson Westbrook, chairman of licensing, said: Currently, as the law stands, this store does not require a Sex Establishment License and therefore, regrettably, we cannot take any action. We are looking to arrange a meeting with the organisers of the petition to discuss their concerns at their earliest convenience.

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