Ilford Lane prostitution fears quelled by Redbridge Council and police

Ilford Lane

Ilford Lane - Credit: Archant

Fears prostitution, soliciting and kerb crawling is on the rise again in Ilford Lane after residents sparked concerns.

Filly Maravala at a spot in Ilford Lane

Filly Maravala at a spot in Ilford Lane - Credit: Archant

The council and the police insist there is no “significant recent increase” in prostitution along the road.

A joint statement read: “Due to the complexity of this problem, there will sometimes be fluctuations in the number of women working in the area at a specific time, however, this does not mean the problem is getting worse overall.”

High visibility patrols, upgrading street lighting and fencing are part of the strong message being sent out to prostitutes in Ilford Lane, according to the council.

A council spokesman added more than 100 prostitution-related arrests have been made in the last two years.

And two surveys carried out with local residents over a nine-month period showed a 20 per cent reduction in the number of residents who felt prostitution was a very big problem.

Tensions came to a head when sex worker Mariana Popa, 24, was murdered in October 2013 after being attacked with a knife.

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However, residents have issued concerns over whether efforts were being directed correctly.

Former Loxford ward councillor Filly Maravala, of Mortlake Road, has been working to eradicate kerb-crawling and prostitution for more than four years.

“I see the prostitutes on Ilford Lane everyday,” he said. “Last week I counted seven when I was walking down the road.

“If more than 100 people have been arrested, I think the demand would have slowed down – but it has not.

“The kerb-crawlers should be arrested not just the prostitutes.”

Mr Maravala added he believed the work by local authorities to curb the issue “was not having the desired effect.”

He did applaud the council for its attempts to improve lighting along the road and cutting back hedgerow to deter sexual activity.

Gates have been installed in alleyways to prevent prostitutes and kerb crawlers using them.

They have been put in place in cooperation with local businesses.