Residents claim brothel is operating from Upton Park street
- Credit: Archant
Angry neighbours say that a brothel is operating from a house in their street in Upton Park.
The Recorder has been told that up to 20 men, plus young women, are visiting the Churston Avenue property each day, near to where children attend Upton Cross Primary School.
According to residents, the brothel has been operating for more than five months, despite repeated complaints to the police.
Hiten Patel, who has lived in the street for more than 25 years, described his neighbourhood as a “community”.
“There are all different races and religions that live here. When you see something like that [the alleged brothel] it is shocking,” he said.
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He added that it is near a place of worship, the East End Islamic Centre, which is around the corner in Plashet Road.
Mr Patel, 32, said the brothel’s activities are shut down temporarily when the police arrive but start up again almost immediately afterwards.
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“They just carry on. They have no shame,” he said.
Mr Patel said the men he has seen visiting the property are aged between 20 and 50 and are of “all different races”.
The landlord of a property in the road, who wishes to remain anonymous, said people were “very passionate” about protecting Churston Avenue from such activities.
He said: “It is disgusting. The tenants that I have in there have little kids.”
A police spokesman told the Recorder: “Officers from the Green Street West safer neighbourhoods team have received information about a venue reportedly being used as a brothel in Churston Avenue, Upton Park.
“Officers will speak to those who have raised concerns and liaise with partner agencies to progress this issue.”
Newham Council said the property “was identified as a brothel” on March 30 as part of Operation Miami following a referral from the police.
A spokeswoman said: “The council issued both a stop notice and enforcement notice on April 1.
“Since then the council has visited the property to ensure that the notices are being complied with.
“We returned to the property on Wednesday last week and found there were seven people living there and no signs that it was being used as a brothel.
“However the council believes that it is overcrowded and will be issuing an enforcement notice against its use as a large house of multiple occupation this week.”
The Recorder was told that the council’s planning enforcement team work with Newham Police to identify and investigate properties which are suspected brothels.
It enforces a pre-planned weekly evening operation, the aforementioned Operation Miami, where suspected brothels are visited by enforcement officers and members of the Enforcement Partnership Team, using information gathered by police intelligence.
The spokeswoman said: “If a brothel is found, within seven days the planning enforcement officers will issue a stop notice and planning enforcement notice to the property’s owner and tenants, instructing them to stop using it as a brothel.”
Since April 2013, the council said it has seen 120 properties identified as brothels being returned to use as homes.
Cllr Ken Clark, cabinet member for building communities, public affairs, regeneration and planning, said: “Brothels have no place in Newham, which is why we have a dedicated operation to investigate any suspected properties, alongside our police partners.
“No one should have to live next door to a brothel and witness the comings and goings.
“I urge anyone with any concerns about a property to contact the council immediately so that we can investigate.”