Police want to close four more saunas

Peter Donoghue pictured at the Paradise Sauna with a letter from the police. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Peter Donoghue pictured at the Paradise Sauna with a letter from the police. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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FOUR more Edinburgh saunas are being targeted by police chiefs for closure, it emerged today.

The fresh action comes as Police Scotland presented further evidence to councillors urging them to close the six saunas whose licences are already suspended following raids in June.

The additional four premises, which have not yet been named, now face similar action with dossiers of evidence currently being prepared.

The move was today branded a “disgrace” by one member of the under-fire industry, who accused the police of trying to “make public policy”.

The licences of the Capital’s 13 saunas are all up for their annual renewal on October 23. The six with suspended licences are each making renewal bids after last week dropping a court fight to get them back and taking their chances with the licensing committee instead. Letters of objection from police over ten saunas have been passed to councillors, along with the 
reasons for their position.

In a letter concerning the Paradise Sauna, based in Roseburn Terrace, the police said they continued to have “serious concerns” about its running with “evidence point[ing] towards these premises being operated as a brothel”. The objection deemed licensee Kelly Potter, 29, “not a fit and proper person” to hold a licence.

Former sauna boss Peter Donoghue, who represents the Paradise, Dundas Street and New Gentle Touch saunas, whose licences are under suspension, said: “The objections are full of the same lies that the police used last time, plus a few new ones added in. They make no mention of police in riot gear who carried out the raids and strip-searched girls, calling them “visits” when they were more like assaults.

“The police are trying to make public policy instead of leaving it to the democratically elected councillors.

“I’m not surprised they are going after four more saunas. All saunas operate the same way yet the police have chosen a select few they want to keep open. It’s a disgrace.”

The licences of Scorpio Leisure in Albion Road, the Blair Street Sauna and the New Town Sauna in Hart Street are also currently suspended. A police spokesman confirmed that ten saunas were the subject of objections, but was 
unable to disclose the names.

A council spokeswoman said: “The licensing sub-committee will meet on October 23 to consider 13 public entertainment licences which are due for renewal. Letters have been issued to the licence holders advising them of the meeting.”

amcewen@edinburghnews.com