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Brothel keepers Sharon Potts and Lisa Joy avoid jail on brothel charges after being found with handcuffs and whip at Pussycats in Folkestone

By Paul Hooper

Two Folkestone women – who ran a brothel called Pussycats – have each received suspended jail sentences.

Police raided the premises in Risborough Lane and discovered manager Sharon Potts, 60, and her assistant Lisa Joy, 50 there.

Prosecutor Kieran Brand told Canterbury Crown Court that on December 11 last year police went to the building which had been advertising in sleazy newspapers and on Internet porn sites as a "massage parlour".

Pussycats in Folkestone was used as a brothel
Pussycats in Folkestone was used as a brothel

He said: “Potts said she was the manager and Joy said she was the receptionist. There were three other women there. They claimed to work there but declined to provide further information.

“During a search of the premises three rooms were discovered covered in mirrors. There were no medical or massage tables or equipment.

"Nor were there any sales literature relating to massages, “ he added.

Potts later told officers that the double beds covered in PVC were “the massage tables”... although a whip and a pair of handcuffs were also discovered on the counter.

Potts, of Cooling Lane, admitted running a brothel and was given a six-month jail sentence suspended for two years.

Joy of Somerset Road pleaded guilty to assisting the running of a brothel and received a four-month sentence suspended for two years.

Both women were also ordered to wear electronic tags for three months preventing them leaving their homes between 9 pm and 7 am and told to each pay £400 by September 5.

Mr Brand added: “The house had the feel that it was being used as a brothel. Potts said she had worked at Pussycats for about a year and was paid £7 an hour.

“She said that Pussycats advertised in The Sport newspaper and on an adult services website, “ he added.

The court heard that girls who worked there were paid £40 for half an hour and £60 for an hour.

The Pussycats premises in Risborough Lane
The Pussycats premises in Risborough Lane

Potts told police that if a girl said she wanted to work for a day she could rent the room and then came in and “relaxed” until a customer arrived – while Joy made coffee.

She added that when a customer came he would choose which girl he wanted “ a massage” from and “then take the gentleman to the room”.

Mr Brand added: “She said that once back in the room what happened between the girl and the customer had nothing to do with her.

“She said she was aware that sexual acts might take place but she didn’t ask and there were no rules against this happening. It was the girls’ decision.”

But the prosecutor said that during the search officers discovered condoms and a quantity of Viagra – which were being sold at £3 a tablet.

“She said that once back in the room what happened between the girl and the customer had nothing to do with her - prosecutor Kieran Brand

Joy said her duties were to take money from the girls and make clients welcome and maintained it had been a massaged parlour.

Mr Brand added: “There is no evidence of girls being exploited and there had been no complaints from neighbours.

“It also seems that nothing is known about the owners, “ he said.

Judge Adele Williams told the two: “Although that is not the case here, there is the potential for the exploitation of girls who work as prostitutes.

“Had it been (the case), then each of you would have gone straight to prison. Let the message go out that those who seek to make a profit out of what is an illegal activity can expect to go to prison in normal circumstances.”

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