Sex shops seek licences
SHOPPING in Ipswich could get steamier if the town's first licensed sex shops are given the go-ahead.Two boutiques, Secrets in Norwich Road and Risqué in Upper Orwell Street are both hoping to set pulses racing with a XXX new look.
By GEORGINA WROE
SHOPPING in Ipswich could get steamier if the town's first licensed sex shops are given the go-ahead.
Two boutiques, Secrets in Norwich Road and Risqué in Upper Orwell Street are both hoping to set pulses racing with a XXX new look.
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The shops, which both enjoy an "adult" reputation, were ordered to apply for licenses after raiding council officers found a tacky treasure trove in searches last summer.
The council's commercial sector manager, Helen James, said: "We raided both of them with trading standards officers a few months ago because we had reports they were trading as a sex shop.
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"We found that Secrets was selling items that were illegal without a licence."
What qualifies an item as sexual is difficult to quantify, she added. "For example Anne Summers is not a sex shop because the majority of what it sells is not overtly sexual. When a shop needs a licence is when it is deemed the sex articles become significant.
"But if any R18 videos are on sale, restricted videos rather than just 18s, that automatically means the shop would require a licence.
"Nationally society has changed. There is more sex in the cinema and on TV," she said.
Residents living near the proposed shop in Secrets, in Norwich Road have until February 7 to make their objections known to the council. But according to a council spokesman, the deadline to object to Risqué has already past.
He said: "The applications will both go before a licensing committee made up of 11 councillors some time this year."
He wasn't expecting any samples from the stores to be on show. "The evidence will be in report form only. It's a shame, it might have made it the best attended committee meeting in years," he added.
Bath-based Secrets owner, Rachel Papper, a relative of previous owner the late Nigel Papper who was jailed in 1998 for six months selling unclassified porn films, was unavailable to comment.
n What do you think about sex shops in Ipswich? Write to Star Postbag, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org