First red-light district ban

A SHOP worker is today the first man to be banned from Ipswich's red-light area under a new police blitz on the men who visit the area for sex.

A SHOP worker is today the first man to be banned from Ipswich's red-light area under a new police blitz on the men who visit the area for sex.

Michael Brand, 31, was handed an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) after admitting meeting with a prostitute for sex.

He was given the order, which bans him from going to the red-light district around Portman Road between 7pm and 7am, when he appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court yesterday.

The Asbo followed an admission from Brand that he and a prostitute approached each other in Handford Road and went to a secluded building for sex.

Mitzy Bond, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was walking along and encountered a female loitering who offered him business.

“They went to a secluded building off Stevenson Road. He knew the female was working as a prostitute. The intent was to have intercourse but he heard police approaching and became spooked.”

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The offence happened on July 9.

Brand, of Spinner Close, told police when he was arrested that he had been cautioned before for soliciting.

He was made subject to an acceptable behaviour contract which banned him from going to the red-light district at night - rules which magistrates have now made the terms of his Asbo.

If he breaches the two-year Asbo he faces being jailed.

Brand, who represented himself at the court hearing, said: “The woman and I were walking towards each other.

“When we approached each other she asked if I wanted sex and I said 'no'. Then she asked again and I thought, 'why not?'.”

Brand, who works at a Morrisons store and lives with his mother, was fined £100 and ordered to pay a £15 surcharge and £43 costs.

Magistrate Florence Hunt, chairman of the bench, said: “It's very clear if you break the Asbo's requirements it's a serious offence and you can be sent to prison straight away.”

Do you support Suffolk police's tough stance against the men who use street prostitutes? What do you think of this case? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

MICHAEL Brand is believed to be the first person arrested twice since the launch in March of Suffolk police's crackdown on the men who create a demand for street prostitution.

His Asbo was today welcomed by the force and hailed as a warning to others that those who ignore police assurances that those who prey on prostitutes - often drug addicts fighting to feed a crippling habit - will be caught and punished.

His ban from entering the red-light district between 7pm and 7am came after he accepted a caution following his first arrest for soliciting a prostitute and comes just a week after a drink-driving kerb crawler was given a curfew keeping him in at night.

Superintendent Alan Caton, one of the officers leading the red-light district crackdown, said today: “I acknowledge that the court accepts that soliciting women for prostitution is anti social and the impact it has on local residents.

“Today's result proves the courts commitment to assist us in tackling the problem of kerb crawling in Ipswich.

“The result should act as a significant warning to others - if men come to Ipswich and seek prostitutes in their vehicles or on foot then they will be arrested and will be dealt with appropriately.”

The blitz on kerb crawlers was brought into force following the deaths of sex workers Paula Clennell, Annette Nicholls, Anneli Alderton, Gemma Adams and Tania Nicol, whose bodies were found dumped on the outskirts of Ipswich in December last year.

The killing of the women prompted a multi-agency group made up of police, health services, drugs workers and Ipswich Borough Council and Suffolk County Council, to develop a five-year plan to rid Ipswich of the destructive trade of street prostitution.

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