A YOUNG man has admitted running a brothel above a Wigan charity shop and close to two primary schools.
Ben Mirtalee will face sentence at Liverpool Crown Court next month after pleading guilty to the crime.
The 29-year-old from Diggle Street, Springfield, was arrested last July by police probing complaints about illegal sex workers using premises in Standishgate.
It was located in a flat above the Derian House Children’s Hospice charity shop, and Mirtalee was arrested on suspicion of being in control of prostitution.
Local residents spoke at the time of their shock to learn that prostitutes were working close to two primary schools – Mab’s Cross Primary and St Mary and St John’s – as well as one of Wigan’s biggest church communities.
And Sylvia McDonnell-Smith, manager of Derian House charity shop, said: “How hard-faced can you be? This is a charity shop and we are a stone’s throw away from two churches and two schools.
“Everyone is absolutely shocked and I still can’t believe it. We had no idea what was going on because we don’t own the flat above the shop. To think we were here and didn’t know anything about it, it’s disgusting.
“That flat can only be accessed by a narrow street leading to Acton Street, so anyone could go through without us being able to see from the shop. We’re hoping this draws a line under it.”
Fr John Johnson, of St Mary and St John RC Church, said: “We heard rumours but it had to be proved. If this is true, they have some nerve when the flat is right in front of a church and a primary school. “We don’t want this area becoming a red light district.”
Following the raid a “shut down” sign was displayed on a black door outside the first-floor flat.
The property was accessed through a small street called Little London, off Standishgate.
At court this week, Mirtalee was further remanded on bail to await sentence on March 14.