A COUPLE who ran a seedy escort agency above a Wigan pet shop have been jailed.
Economics graduate Guy Lovelady and mum-of-two Emma Gill, who held hands in the dock throughout their hearing, got involved in the world of prostitution after filming themselves having sex and putting it on the internet.
The couple were approached by others who had seen the footage and consequently went on to set up the agency, Sensations, which was employing 15 prostitutes by the time police raided the premises on Standish’s Preston Road.
Jailing both 36-year-old Lovelady, who also runs a mortgage advice business, and Gill, 29, for 12 months, a judge told them they had been motivated by greed.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that police found a diary at the premises spanning just six weeks which showed takings of at least £19,000.
Judge Thomas Teague said they had been running “what has been euphemistically described as an escort agency – in all but name a brothel”.
He said: “It was a well-planned and sophisticated operation in a flat above a pet shop and you offered services both at the premises and elsewhere operating a total of 15 prostitutes.
“You had a website advertising services to the public and an on line recruitment form enabling would-be prostitutes to apply for work,” said Judge Teague.
He described both of them as intelligent and Lovelady particularly well educated and both presenting a low risk of re-offending.
“That is not really the point. This was a large scale commercial operation and even allowing for overheads meant substantial gain for you. What you did was very serious. You were motivated by financial greed.
“This is not a court of morals but the fact is even before you embarked on this you had each chosen to degrade yourself in organised promiscuity for the eyes of total strangers.”
The judge said that they then set up the agency and stepped outside the bounds of the law’s tolerance and it was complaints from local people and business owners that led to their arrest.
Lovelady, of Queens Road, Southport and Gill, of High Street, Standish, both pleaded guilty to controlling prostitution for gain.
Harry Pepper, prosecuting, said that police forced their way into the two bedroomed premises Preston Road Road September 29 last year. A diary revealed that as well as providing services there they also supplied prostitutes to meet clients at other addresses including hotels.
As well as sexual paraphernalia. a camcorder, clothing, £1,095 cash in a safe and a mobile phone used to run the business were also recovered.
A prostitute, who later revealed that the agency had been planning to move to new premises, was also present and a customer was found wandering the streets nearby looking for the agency.
Their on-line website detailed services they offered and a recruitment questionnaire. Lovelady admitted they had been running the business for six months and had 15 escorts.
William Swalwell, defending, said that the couple’s involvement began after Lovelady set up a camera at home and they “put on a show over the internet.” They put this on the internet and were approached by people wanting to get involved.
The couple only took about a third to a half of the prostitutes takings and Gill herself was working as one of the escorts. Neither of them has any previous convictions and were unlikely to re-offend.
Gill, whose 80-year-old father is in a home, had trained as a carer but will be unable to do such work following the conviction. Both she and Lovelady were ashamed, he said.
Police say that they launched the investigations after receiving complaints from residents. They also raided a second flat in Market Street, Standish, which was also being used as a brothel.
After the hearing Sgt Nicola Williams from the Wigan Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “I have worked as a police officer for 15 years and I have never seen a response from the community like this.
“The people of Standish simply had enough of this pair’s exploits and today’s result is the culmination of their refusal to accept what was happening; they stood up firmly to criminality.
“My team and I carried out an investigation in direct response to concerns expressed by residents and businesses.
“This shows people that we take their concerns seriously, and will act upon any information given to us regarding criminal activity in the Standish and surrounding areas.
“It should also serve as a warning to anyone else engaging in activities that have a detrimental effect on the lives of local people that it will not be tolerated, and that the community will work together with police to stamp out this kind of behaviour.”