Operation launched to tackle prostitute calling cards in Ilford

Residents have complained about the number of calling cards and stickers dropped in Ilford. Picture:

Residents have complained about the number of calling cards and stickers dropped in Ilford. Picture: Ellena Cruse - Credit: Archant

An operation to target people illegally dropping “massage cards” has launched in Ilford town centre.

Police, Redbridge Council enforcement workers and the Ilford Business Improvement District (BID) joined forces after residents complained about the widespread distribution of stickers in public places advertising the services of prostitutes.

Launched on Thursday, September 6, areas that had been “identified from intelligence” were patrolled and council and BID officers were equipped with radios so they could report suspicious activity directly to Redbridge enforcement office, CCTV team and the police.

The operation resulted in two suspects being questioned by police for distributing massage cards, with one of them also being arrested for driving a vehicle with no insurance.

Other actions saw three on-the-spot fines issued for offences under the Public Space Protection Order and littering along with the seizure of free distributed material.

Councillor John Howard, cabinet member for civic pride, said: “This sends a very clear message that we operate a zero-tolerance approach to anyone breaking the law by advertising massage services and littering the town centre with these cards.

“We are working very hard to keep our borough clean and will not hesitate to fine and prosecute anyone that breaks the rules.

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“This has been a great example of partnership working between local businesses, the council and the police.”

All the CCTV footage, officers and operatives witness statements along with a witness statement taken from a member of the public will be passed to case officers for prosecution and the seized vehicle, which was being used by the offenders, will be destroyed after 28 days.

Anyone with information about the distribution of massage cards in Redbridge can report to the council’s community protection team through the council’s ‘Report it’ webpage.

Ben Collins of Ilford Bid said: “Stickers and calling cards are a frustration to businesses and we have acted upon it.

“We work closely alongside the local authority to enhance the town centre experience for people who work and shop there.

“This is the latest example of the things undertake in the town centre and we have also started an in-depth street clean.”