Father-son bonding can take myriad forms. Building bikes, ice fishing, playing football in the living room, running a super brothel in inner-city Birmingham.
Only problem with that last one is that it's very illegal, as 66-year-old Achilleos Neophytou and his 25-year-old son Stefanos Neophytou found out recently, each sentenced – as they were – to a 27-month prison sentence after admitting to running a brothel for the purposes of prostitution. The manager of "Birmingham's only five-star parlour and club", Martin Tierney, received a ten-month suspended sentence, and the club's receptionist – along with a couple of other women – have received community service hours.
Libra Club in Hockley was busted by West Midlands Police, who then filmed the interior of the club and posted the footage online. The clip shows a red lit room, feat. a stripper pole, disco ball and cash machine, as well as an adjoining corridor of "cell rooms" – in the words of James Curtis, the Crown Court Prosecutor. The footage also showed a supply closet stocked with towels and rows of high heels.
While they knew about the brothel for years, Detective Chief Inspector Chris Mallett claimed its staff were all working there willingly in safe conditions, and police therefore chose to bide their time to gather enough evidence to shut the club down for good. What provoked the full operation was the violent kidnapping of Stefanos in 2014 by a gang, suggesting that the brothel was linked to violent crime in the area.
In a subsequent undercover operation in February of 2015, police found a man and a woman having sex and were offered "full services" by female workers, before they realised that there "was not a massage bed in sight".
The court heard that the club made £7.5 million in five years. Which perhaps isn't a surprising amount, given the "conveyer-belt of prostitution" that Judge Richard Bond described the business as. Up to 20 women serviced 200 customers a day, with a £10 entrance charge, and room and "therapists'" fees running up to an extra £170 for the VIP room (jacuzzi included).
The police seized tens of thousands of pounds of cash during the operation, and Mallett stated that the police "will now seek to claw back the ill-gotten gains" of the brothel through the Proceeds of Crime Act.
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