11 accused of running brothels with crime links

City brothels have been linked to organised crime. Picture: Toby Williams

City brothels have been linked to organised crime. Picture: Toby Williams

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Eleven people have appeared in court accused of running brothels in the city with links to serious organised crime.

Some members of the group also face charges of operating prostitution activities in saunas and massage parlours in Midlothian and the Borders.

The six women and five men, aged between 31 and 75, will all face trial later this year after pleading not guilty at ­Edinburgh Sheriff Court ­yesterday.

The charges relate to alleged brothel-keeping in Edinburgh, Roslin, Bonnyrigg and Peebles and living off earnings from the operations.

They follow police raids at city saunas in 2013 which led to vast changes in the Capital’s sex industry.

At yesterday’s hearing, Ian Douglas Haig, 72, and Charles Haig, 75, both from Edinburgh, denied being involved in the management of a brothel between June 27, 2002, and June 7, 2013, at Scorpio Leisure in Albion Road, Edinburgh, and at other addresses in the city.

They also denied living wholly or partly on the earnings of prostitution.

Edinburgh women Kelly-Ann Potter, 31, and 44-year-old Jane Jardine Donoghue, and Peter Donoghue, 70, of Roslin, denied being involved in the management of a brothel at Paradise Sauna in Roseburn Terrace in the city and at other addresses in Edinburgh and Roslin between January 3, 2009, and June 7, 2013.

Donoghue and Donoghue also pleaded not guilty to being involved in the management of a brothel at Gentle Touch or New Gentle Touch in the city’s Argyle Place, and other addresses in Edinburgh and Roslin between July 7, 2006, and June 7, 2013.

Elizabeth Muir, 61, from Ratho, denied being involved with a brothel at the Dundas Street Sauna or Abacus Sauna between October 1, 2012, and June 7, 2013.

Catalina Moray, 54, Guillermo Morey-Serra, 43, Aisha McMurtrie, 41, all from Edinburgh, Susannah Clare Morey, 37, of Peebles, and Ivan Cameron, 70, from Bonnyrigg, denied being involved in the management of a brothel at the Blair Street Sauna and other addresses in the city between May 17, 2012, and June 7, 2013.

Meanwhile, Guillermo Morey-Serra, Susannah Clare Morey and Cameron denied a similar charge in relation to the New Town Sauna in Hart Street and Gilmerton Place, Edinburgh, and addresses in Peebles and Bonnyrigg between July 1, 2006, and June 7, 2013.

It is alleged that the offences are aggravated by a connection with serious organised crime.

All eleven accused tendered pleas of not guilty before Sheriff Frank Crowe during a hearing yesterday.

They will next appear for a hearing on May 28 before ­trials in August, September and November.

In 2013, establishments across the Capital were subject to police raids, leading to the council’s controversial decision to scrap its licensing policy for saunas and ­massage parlours.

Scot-Pep, which represents sex workers in Scotland, warned that the move would have major implications, including the loss of vital links with the health service.