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Police raid alleged brothel in Romford town centre

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 November 2020

The Met Police is investigating an alleged brothel operating out of one apartment inside Equitable House, in Romford town centre. Picture: Charles Thomson.

The Met Police is investigating an alleged brothel operating out of one apartment inside Equitable House, in Romford town centre. Picture: Charles Thomson.

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Police raided a building in Romford’s high street after being tipped off that an apartment was being used as an alleged brothel.

A letter from the Met Police is stuck to the door of Equitable House, asking witnesses to come forward. Picture: Charles Thomson.A letter from the Met Police is stuck to the door of Equitable House, asking witnesses to come forward. Picture: Charles Thomson.

Officers descended on a flat at Equitable House, located at 88 –100 South Street, last month.

An eyewitness told the Romford Recorder: “There were loads of them and loads of security. They were all lined up along the corridor with their body-cams on. I was watching through the spy hole.”

The apartment block, opposite The Moon and Stars pub, is accessed from an anonymous-looking door next to a Specsavers opticians.

The only clue to the police raid last month is a note stuck to the door by the Metropolitan Police, which confirms officers are investigating “reports of suspicious activity taking place inside one of the apartments”.

Equitable House is located at 88-100 South Street. Police said one apartment inside was allegedly being used for sex work. Picture: Charles Thomson.Equitable House is located at 88-100 South Street. Police said one apartment inside was allegedly being used for sex work. Picture: Charles Thomson.

The Recorder spoke to multiple tenants at the block this week, all of whom said they had not known that one of the apartments was allegedly being used for sex work.

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One said: “I had no idea. When the police showed up, I assumed it was something to do with drugs. But I had never seen anything suspicious.”

One man arrived on Tuesday morning and told the Recorder he was there to “visit a friend”. A female arrived to let him in just as the Recorder was asking him about the police raid. Instead of entering as planned, he exchanged brief words with the woman and hurried away.

The entrance to Equitable House, where one apartment is under investigation, is next door to Specsavers in Romford high street. Picture: Charles Thomson.The entrance to Equitable House, where one apartment is under investigation, is next door to Specsavers in Romford high street. Picture: Charles Thomson.

PC Chris Stockman, from the Met Police’s east area borough command unit, confirmed that police were dispatched to an apartment in Equitable House on October 7.

He said police were investigating “public concern around the use of an address” and that “enquiries are ongoing”.

He continued: “Romford Town Safer Neighbourhoods Team are working with the local authority and other agencies to carry out work on these types of premises, safeguard those involved and prosecute the people that run them where possible.

“However, we balance enforcement with addressing vulnerability and exploitation linked to on-street, off-street and online sex work.

The Met Police is investigating an alleged brothel operating out of one apartment inside Equitable House, in Romford town centre. Picture: Charles Thomson.The Met Police is investigating an alleged brothel operating out of one apartment inside Equitable House, in Romford town centre. Picture: Charles Thomson.

“Our approach is not to criminalise the sex workers involved but to safeguard and support them and build mutual trust and confidence to encourage the sharing of information to improve safety.”

-Anybody with information was asked to email romfordtown.snt@met.police.uk.


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