Closure threat to Finsbury sex cinema after inspector was touched
PUBLISHED: 10:07 03 October 2013
‘Propositioned’ official saw bawdy behaviour during visit
A sex cinema could be shut down after an official was touched on the thigh and saw men pleasuring each other during an undercover visit.
Fantasy Video, in Old Street, Finsbury, faces an Islington Council licensing committee on November 18 after the town hall official found customers engaging in “obscene and disorderly” conduct on the premises.
One neighbour has also complained that the sexual activity shown on films can be heard through the walls of the cinema as there is no sound isolation in the building.
During a visit on March 13, the officer said he “observed six men standing in the cinema masturbating and other men masturbating each other”. He was also “touched on the thigh by a customer”, according to his report.
The licensing team has also raised concerns about membership and pricing at the Fantasy Video – men are charged £12, while women and couples get in free.
The council has received anonymous allegations that women prostitutes are brought to the area – but the owner has not been questioned about this. Fantasy Video is one of three sex cinemas under threat at the meeting after the investigation by the council.
At Abcat Cinema, in Caledonian Road, King’s Cross, which is not a licensed sex establishment, an officer found “three men standing at the back masturbating and two men in the back row with one masturbating the other” during a secret visit.
Meanwhile at Oscars, in nearby Northdown Street, officers found “men kissing and fondling each other” and he was sold an x-rated DVD called Meet the Barebackers II.
Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “It’s toe-curling stuff.
“Anyone reading these reports will find themselves feeling pretty hot under the collar. It’s not nice at all.
“More importantly, its absolutely not what they are licensed to do.
“We are not prudish, but we are clear there are limits to what people are entitled to do in a licensed setting.
“That’s why there is a regime and why we are looking very closely at existing sex establishments. it seems pretty straight forward to me why we want to revoke their licence.”
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