Islington Council begins prosecution against unlicensed sex cinema
- Credit: Archant
»The Town Hall is attempting to prosecute the operators of an Islington sex cinema which allegedly hosts orgies and “obscene and disorderly” conduct on the premises.
Fantasy Video in City Road, Finsbury, had its licence revoked last October following an undercover investigation by a council official who saw sexual activity taking place.
Neighbours also complained of hearing sexual films through the walls.
But, according to neighbours, the business is still operating.
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Cllr Paul Convery, executive member for community safety, said a prosecution case was underway and two other types of enforcement have also started in a bid to shut the premises down once and for all.
“The prosecution is being prepared,” he said. “It’s a complex case which both the operator of the premises and the freeholder are not co-operating with.
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“We are also preparing an injunction and taking action under the Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Act.
“We are appealing to neighbours and the public to come forward which will strengthen the case.”
He said he expected the prosecution to take about two months.
One neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, welcomed the news but said it was still taking too long.
Islington Council prosecuted the proprietor of Fantasy Video last October, hit them with a fine and made them give up their licence.
The cinema was also raided by police but according to nearby residents, the premises continues to have a steady flow of customers.
When the Gazette contacted Fantasy Video, a member of staff said there was a new business occupying the premises called Mr B Nightclub which they claimed was fully licenced.
The council said no licence had been issued.
Cllr Convery said: “We are very sympathetic to the neighbours who feel this has been going on a long time. We will get there in the end.
“The law is complicated and the powers we hold as a local authority are not the strongest. It’s why we are going after them with different legal powers.”
“Sex establishments”, which include sex shops, sex cinemas and sexual entertainment venues, are legal.
Under the Local Government Act, the council can limit the number of sexual entertainment venues in the borough and licence “sex encounter” businesses such as lap-dancing clubs.
Islington Council’s Sex Establishment Licencing policy states that such places have to operate a “transparent charging scheme with freedom from solicitation” and are expected to have CCTV surveillance of private booths.