Furious residents in Britain's failed legal red light hit back

Furious residents in Britain’s failed legal red light district name and shame kerb crawlers online with men pestering local women and schoolgirls and prostitutes still walking streets two years after experiment was scrapped

  • Area of Holbeck, Leeds, was once a legal red light district for prostitutes there
  • It was shut down and now families are shaming clients who still turn up for sex 

Residents of what was Britain’s first legal red light area are now shaming kerb crawlers in a bid to claim their broken community back

Sex trade lobbyists persuaded authorities to turn a blind eye to the vice industry in 2016 and create a safe haven for men prowling the streets for women.

The area in Holbeck, Leeds, West Yorkshire, saw police no longer issue cautions or make arrests after 7pm for loitering, soliciting or kerb-crawling offences.

But the scheme was a humiliating failure and now families living there say they have been abandoned by the authorities.

They have started taking action themselves and naming and shaming kerb crawlers by photographing their cars and number plates and publishing them online.

And they have also created a regular Punter of the Week ‘award’ in a bid to identify the worst offenders

One of the prostitutes who had been working in the red light district of Holbeck in Leeds

Images of the cars and the drivers are put on Facebook by the disgruntled Leeds families

Families in the area name and shame drivers of cars caught speaking to prostitutes in the area

The say the kerb crawlers often pester local women and schoolgirls they mistake for sex workers.

With the truce between police and prostitutes over, drug addicted street walkers no longer see the need to stay away from residential areas – and are even robbing resident as well as punters.

One female resident said she was attacked while visiting the local AFC restaurant.

She said: ‘I ordered my kebab. I was proper hungry I’d been on a long shift at work.

‘There’s a working girl sat in there eating her food. I pulled a £10 note out of my pocket to pay for my food and before I knew what was happening she snatched it out of my hand and ran like the clappers up the road.

Holbeck, which is a part of Leeds, West Yorkshire, and the site of abandoned red light district

Controversial scheme: Officers turned a blind eye to seedy activities in this part of the city, as long as they took place between 7pm and 7am

‘I’ve reported it but obviously not going to get my money back. I just want people warning that’s how bad it’s getting out there when the working girls are actually robbing members of the public.’

The attacker was about 5’6ish, skinny, with dark brown hair in a bun on top of her head, dressed in a blue jacket, black leggings and trainers. She was also said to be deaf.

The ‘managed prostitution’ area in Holbeck was scrapped in 2021 after years of controversy and the murder of at least one of the sex workers.

But locals say the perverts drawn into the area by the prospect of an unfettered sex trade are still haunting the area, putting all women at risk.

They say they are now having to live with the consequences of the disastrously thought out social meddling which has made things worse rather than better.

Since the sex workers can no longer legally ply their trade in selected streets from 7pm to 7am they have now invaded nearby residential areas and made families’ lives a misery.

One man came out to empty his recycling and found a street walker with a kerb crawler behind his wheelie bin.

Sex workers have also been seen shooting up drugs in a phone box passed by children on their way to school.

Locals say police have fobbed the community off with a so called hotline to report sex workers and kerb crawlers.

They say by the time police show up sex workers and clients have already been and gone. Over Xmas, the hotline was out of order and residents were kept hanging on the non emergency 101 number.

In a statement on their community Facebook page, families said: ‘We are living with the legacy of the zone.

‘Every day residents and their children still witness soliciting, sex acts and find used condoms in the streets.

‘This is accompanied by the relentless kerb crawlers and men who roam the street on foot looking for women to buy sex from.

‘The zone made the residents of Holbeck far less safe as it drew predatory men from a wide area into Holbeck looking for sex.

‘This was balanced with a negligible and unproven benefit to the prostituted women.

‘We previously recommended that the closure of the MA should be advertised nationally because predators were drawn to it from across the UK.

‘We need to ensure that predatory men are treated the same way in Holbeck that they would be in other parts of Leeds

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