back to article Hooker in Dudley man's car 'just helping to buy tomatoes'

Walsall magistrates found themselves strangely unconvinced by a Dudley man's claim that a prostitute found in his car was helping him buy tomatoes. Coppers eyeballed the "known sex worker" in Muhammad Ikhlaq's Nissan Micra in Walsall on 9 May, "apparently waiting for the driver to return from a nearby cash point", as the …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Legal Question

    Errm, a stupid question from a non brit.

    Was the man fined because only Solicitors are allowed to do soliciting in this country?

    1. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: Legal Question

      Given that one of the functions of a 'Solicitor' is to act as a pimp for a barrister, your confusion is understandable.

  2. Don Jefe
    Happy

    Good Pricing!

    Are hookers that cheap over there? The ones our politicians get caught with are far, far more expensive than that.

    1. James 139

      Re: Good Pricing!

      Thats what im wondering too, 20 quid sounds very cheap based on how its portrayed on TV.

      Of course, its entirely possible she wanted more and he was 20 short.

      1. dougal83
        Angel

        Re: Good Pricing!

        Ah yes. How it is "portrayed on TV". lol. Been tomato shopping recently?

        1. James 139

          Re: Good Pricing!

          *shrug* I confess, I watch TV and sometimes the dramas/soaps have such story lines, assuming Hollyoaks qualifies as either of those two.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Good Pricing!

          "Ah yes. How it is "portrayed on TV". lol. Been tomato shopping recently?"

          So "20 will get you 400" so to speak.

          That said at least she was legal.

      2. LinkOfHyrule
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Good Pricing!

        For twenty notes you're either talking smackhead down an alley way or a bumper pack of Waitrose Organic Italian on the vine!

      3. Wize

        Re: Good Pricing!

        "...20 quid sounds very cheap based on how its portrayed on TV."

        The price is probably proportional to the number of teeth the prostitute has.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good Pricing!

      "Are hookers that cheap over there? The ones our politicians get caught with are far, far more expensive than that."

      Its a market like any other, innit? Sure, you can find someone for twenty quid, but they are unlikely to compare favourably with one who's more like two hundred quid. Wee bit less likely to find the latter hanging around on the street touting for business, either.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good Pricing!

      Blow job perhaps? Or he really wanted to buy tomatoes the deviant sod!

  3. dougal83

    He would have better luck appealing to the EU Human Rights Court to overturn this decision. If someone can give the law the run around for terrorism charges, I'm sure they'll get him off tomato shopping with a prostitute!

    1. Gavin King
      Coat

      Perhaps he was getting off, tomato shopping with a prostitute?

    2. Roger Greenwood

      You will need the phrase . . .

      "shopping for tomatoes" and plenty of others, once the ISP's start their filtering systems.

  4. lansalot

    Hmmm..

    I'm sure we'd all like to know how many of those he got to the pound...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Was she squeezing his plums?

  6. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    This law

    Was ostensibly supposed to help prostitutes. How did it help that woman?

    1. Buzzword

      Re: This law

      No, the law exists to keep prostitutes off the streets and in licenced "massage parlours". Local residents are generally opposed to seeing ladies of the night hawking their flesh on the streets. Probably because they lower house prices.

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: This law

        So you're saying it's about the government making sure they get a cut.

        Now then, in this case she wasn't technically on the street so I have to wonder how she gets around. I imagine a taxi would be out of the question and a double-decker bus could fund a town for a month.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Boffin

        Re: This law

        "No, the law exists to keep prostitutes off the streets and in licenced "massage parlours". Local residents are generally opposed to seeing ladies of the night hawking their flesh on the streets. Probably because they lower house prices."

        Actually no. The law is designed to keep prostitutes off the streets and away from men making money off them.

        It is not in fact illegal to run a private flat or office for the purposes of sex for cash. IIRC you can have a partner or employee and employ a maid as long as she's a bit of a hound. You are not allowed to advertise however.

        Of course if you become popular advertising will not be a problem.

        And in the UK they arrest the customer as well as the worker.

        1. Squander Two

          Re: This law

          > IIRC you can have a partner or employee and employ a maid as long as she's a bit of a hound.

          No, you're not allowed partners or employees. In the UK, prostitution is legal but brothels are illegal, meaning that prostitutes are forced by law to work alone. Which is bloody dangerous. Personally, I think prostitutes ought to be allowed to share premises so that they can share the cost of hiring a security guard, and that making this illegal is absolutely appalling, considering how dangerous their job is.

          1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
            Boffin

            Re: This law

            "No, you're not allowed partners or employees. In the UK, prostitution is legal but brothels are illegal, meaning that prostitutes are forced by law to work alone."

            I'd check that. I definitely recall a plan to allow 2 "sex workers" to work from the same premises. I'm not sure if they would be viewed as sole traders or an actual partnership but I'm not sure if the change got passed.

            Something in a budget statement?

        2. GeekinOrpington

          Re: This law

          This is your own personal experience?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's get this straight - people like to talk about how screwed up it is in America, but over there they arrest and fine you just because someone who they believe (or know) to be a prostitute is sitting in your car, with no EVIDENCE of any crime taking place?

    Who knows, maybe she offered to toss his salad and misunderstanding her intent he responded with "well, I need some tomatoes first"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well it is true, we do live in a repressed Victorian society where sex cannot be shown on TV, yet it is then flooded with violent, kill them, murder, blood thirsty films from the US.

      Is this a paradox, protect us from sex but violence is perfectly ok?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Circumstantial?

      that's what I don't get - maybe he really was going to buy tomatoes, what evidence was there that he was doing any illegal? Is hanging about with the local hooker and withdrawing cash from a cash machine illegal?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The Crime is

      charging money for sex, it's an untaxed business transaction (Cynthia Payne would know the details)

      If, like some Japanese students, they let you buy them a meal and some drinks then shag you, instead of handing over cash, it's perfectly legal

    4. JohnG Silver badge

      Prostitution is not a crime in England and Wales - this allows HMRC to extract income tax from the (estimated) earnings of prostitutes, something they could not do if it were illegal. Solicitation for prostitution is a crime, on the part of prostitutes and their clients. This legislation is stupid and cynical.

    5. Squander Two

      The evidence.

      It's not mentioned in the article, but I'd guess the "evidence" consisted of getting the known prostitute to confess in return for a lighter sentence.

  8. Anomalous Cowshed

    The law...

    Old Mother Justice made her way to market on her ass, which she had christened Law many years ago. She found it awfully stubborn and wily, and would have loved to ride on a horse, like her friend Lady Godiva, or her little hotheaded friend, Joan or Arc, but deep down she knew that she was stuck with it until the bitter end.

  9. lee harvey osmond
    Joke

    Ummmm .... but why ...

    ... why was he looking for toms, when he had already found one?

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Ummmm .... but why ...

      "... why was he looking for toms, when he had already found one?"

      Quality

  10. volsano

    TOMATO

    You say "TOMATO".

    West Midands police say "SOLICITING".

    That's quite a drift in accent.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's about time the law stops giving a shit about what consenting adults do in private.

    Really, there are a lot more important things to worry about in the world than people paying each other for sex.

    1. Shades

      As far as I'm aware, unless the law has recently been changed, the law doesn't give a shit about what consenting adults do in private. Prostitution is legal in ones own home as long as it isn't advertised.

      The problem is that this kind of arrangement (especially in the £20 range) is often not in private, far from it in fact.

      1. Graham Marsden

        @Shades

        "The problem is that this kind of arrangement (especially in the £20 range) is often not in private, far from it in fact."

        True, but as you might notice in one of the articles linked from the original one "Five women and four men were detained [...] after Police received information suggesting that the property was being used as a brothel".

        Now if all the women were there consensually and no force or coercion was being used to keep them there, then why is there a problem? It's all in private, nobody is being hurt (at least, not unless they want to be!) and every one is happy.

        But, no, successive Governments have decided that two women working out of the same property is a brothel and if they have someone there as a security guard, he's classified as a pimp who is "living off immoral earnings".

        Bravo, Governments! I bet we're all safer now...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > As far as I'm aware, unless the law has recently been changed, the law doesn't give a shit about what consenting adults do in private.

        You make a good point.

        The proper place for this kind of thing is in a brothel or by using some method of contact that doesn't rely on hawking it in the street (which some people rightly or wrongly object to [me, I don't really care that much]).

        However, prostitutes are pushed to this situation because of the various prohibitions on the operating of a brothel. The insanity of our laws make it legal to be a prostitute, but illegal for anyone to engage in any practical way of acquiring customers.

    2. bonkers
      Thumb Up

      consenting adults in private

      Absolutely, why should the state be concerned unless there are overriding public risk issues.

      ,

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Trollface

      @skelband

      "Really, there are a lot more important things to worry about in the world than people paying each other for sex."

      I think its more devious than that: they pay each other for sex without paying any tax to the government.

      Now you're suddenly in a whole heap of trouble because when the government realizes they're missing out on some tax income the gloves go off.

      It's required. Because how else will those politicians pay for their own escort services?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @skelband

        "Now you're suddenly in a whole heap of trouble because when the government realizes they're missing out on some tax income the gloves go off."

        Why does the movie Carry on Henry come to mind? Something about a sex tax?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      They were on the street in a car. Hardly private. Or do you think he booked a hotel room then drove his £20 hooker to a cashpoint?

      Yes in certain areas we need laws removing or relaxing. Prostitution though? No.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        > They were on the street in a car.

        Looking at tomatoes.

        Lock those bastards away!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's illegal?

    About sitting in a car with a woman, whatever her profession?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could have been worse?

    He might have said he was paying for lettuce...

  14. Bradley Hardleigh-Hadderchance
    FAIL

    This is easily done

    I picked up a lady of the night by mistake one dark night in deepest darkest Tottenham.

    I had just got a new car and thought I would go for a midnight spin. One of life's little pleasures...

    As I was just making my way out of Tottenham this lady by the side of the road was waving her arms and it looked as if she was trying to flag me down. I thought she might be in trouble so I stopped the car. Thinking maybe she just needed a lift. She opened the door and got in...

    I ended up dropping her about 20 yards down the road. I don't which one of us thought the other one weirder.

    It's easily done. At that time I didn't realise I was on the spectrum. It might have come in handy if I had got nicked. Really don't know how I would have explained that one, apart from telling the truth - I thought she was in trouble or that she wanted a lift.

    Wonder how long I would have got?

    :-)

    "I hereby sentence you Mr. Hardleigh-Hadderchance...."

    Cries from my family in the courtroom...

    Wonder how long I would have lasted in prison?

    As the judge retires from a hard afternoon's sentencing, slipping into his naughty schoolgirl outfit to get spanked into next week by a leather clad dominatrix.

    Life just isn't fair sometimes I suppose, but that is one I'm glad I 'got away with'.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is easily done

      Thank your lucky stars you did not have any tomatoes with you....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is easily done

      I've pulled over at the side of the road in sheffield before to stop and make a phone call. A startlingly ugly woman with a can of strong lager just got in the passenger side.

      Presumably enough to get me arrested had the 5-0 been there at the time.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: Tottenham?

      I picked up a lady in Tottenham in very similar circumstances. I didn't drop her 20 yds further on, though.

      She wanted a lift home, and I gave her one. Ok, you can stop the sniggering, because yes, she took me to bed. And it wasn't for money.

      The only thing I regret is that such an event. with a desirable stranger, is something that has only ever happened to me once.

  15. markw:

    Enormous blue cock

    One has been erected in Trafalgar Square — another story for you ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Enormous blue cock

      God I hate Tottenham.

  16. Fink-Nottle
    IT Angle

    Hmmm. I wonder if same law could be used to prevent a wife from repeatedly soliciting a 'known IT worker' to perform DIY in public?

  17. GeekinOrpington

    I have no sympathy with soliciting on the streets but shouldn't there have been some actual evidence before this man is fined so much money?

    Considering the derisory fines (typically around £100) and sentences for assault and robbery where the victim is often left in fear of walking the streets this seems excessive as there was no victim!

  18. Dieter Haussmann

    And a man can marry man, and it's exalted as epiphanical.

  19. NomNomNom

    "Really, there are a lot more important things to worry about in the world than people paying each other for sex."

    If the world only consisted of adults you'd have a somewhat valid point. But you are forgetting that our streets and cars are also teeming with children. It is primarily to protect children that prostitution has been historically prohibited (when it has).

    But okay it's the 21st century so I am obviously not saying we should stop adults paying for sex outright. Far be it for me to judge what two consenting adults get up to in private (apparently we are not allowed to hold such opinions these days). But nevertheless we do need to highlight such acts for the deviance they are if we are to stand a chance of maintaining the moral compass of wider society in the long term.

    I am not a fan of the Nanny state, really I am not, but in cases of moral turpitude sometimes top down enforcement is necessary. I would propose an opt-in policy by which by default any driver picking up a prostitute would face prosecution, irrespective of excuses. Only drivers who had opted in to the prostitution scheme and had the license to show it would be legally permitted to pick up prostitutes. It goes without saying the same drivers wouldn't be allowed near kids. Kids or prostitutes, that would be the choice, you can't have both. That way everyone wins. The kids are kept away from the more sinful side of society, the lower class have their fun and women are "empowered" or whatever the justification for it is these days.

    1. Rattus Rattus

      "Kids or prostitutes, that would be the choice, you can't have both"

      Fine, then I choose prostitutes.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Facepalm

      "It is primarily to protect children that prostitution has been historically prohibited (when it has)."

      No. That might well have been the reason given; ("think of the children"), but it was done because society frowns on paying people for sex. Prostitution is not considered a legitimate occupation* so any and all reasons will be given for making it illegal.

      That said, if brothels were legal, I suspect the rate of street prostitution would drop.

      * except of course that paying for sex is legal in certain circumstances, provided the tax man gets his cut. I'd be interested to know that that tax rate is?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re "primarily to protect children that prostitution has been historically prohibited"

      Rubbish. It is primarily because of prudery and secondarily because of property values.

      In recent times it has also been to protect women from being forced into prostitution, but, in today's Britain, you can be sure that prudery trumps even the better and more valid motives.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > It is primarily to protect children that prostitution has been historically prohibited (when it has).

      I don't think most children have enough money to interest a prostitute.

  20. Sampler

    woah, woah, woah, woah

    As a former Micra owner I can assure you this man is innocent, there is zero chance of him getting a quick grumble in such confined quarters..

  21. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Tomatoes

    He was only following health advice - One should have 5 portions of fruit and veg per day.

  22. iucidium
    Trollface

    Its Dudley

    Watch Jeremy Kyle, those are the lookers...

  23. Winkypop Silver badge
    Joke

    Ladies, don't drive in car with a fruiterer / greengrocer!

    Even if he does have a lovely pair of coconuts.

  24. Mtech25
    Devil

    What i want to know

    Is did the poor man ever get his tomatos?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    War driving

    Posted anonymously for obvious reasons. Some years ago, when war-driving was a bit of a craze, I installed the relevant stuff on my laptop and went for a drive around a large Northern city. "Ping" went the open-network notification. So I pulled over on a deserted street to see what the laptop said (this maybe 12 years ago?).

    Within seconds the passenger seat was occupied by one of the oldest profession's followers who took no small amount of convincing that I had NOT stopped for her. Had Mr Plod taken an interest I think it would have sounded odd in court, too.

    1. Lester Haines (Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

      Re: War driving

      I suppose the magistrate would have put it: "I'm having none of your story that the lady of the night in question was simply helping you to find tomatoes on the internet.

      "Would you prefer to be fined for wardriving or kerbcrawling?

    2. GeekinOrpington

      Re: War driving

      You are so right, in these cases it seems that the law, as interpreted by magistrates, is that it is your duty to prove your innocence rather than the prosecutor to prove you guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Something not right here....

    ....this story doesn't make sense, exactly what crime did they prove this poor guy had committed ?

  27. Flashy Red

    He should thank his lucky stars it was a just fine and this is Great Britain

    I can only imagine (from his name) that he may have also have been stoned (and not in a terribly good way) had pulled this stunt in his ancestral home.

  28. Flashy Red

    Oh ...

    Expecting to see "Just popping out for some tomatoes" on the Profanisaurus any day now.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kebab crawling

    That'll be what the tomatoes were for!

  30. Bradley Hardleigh-Hadderchance
    Alien

    Let's face it

    We live in an insane age. Interesting times for sure.

    Draconian laws against the growing of a single plant. The oldest game on the planet illegal.

    Prohibition does not work. It damages individuals and it damages society disproportionately.

    In another hundred years, the rate things are going, it will actually be impossible to commit a crime, yet everyone will be a criminal.

    When I lived in Kings X. I would regularly see pimps smack their 'bitches' blatantly on the street. A street where very often police would walk up and down. A street with CCTV up the proverbial. I really wanted to say something, but thought better of it. Some of the pimps were 6 foot 8 black men, some were 4 foot 11 Scotsmen. I fancied my chances against neither of them. And what if I had won that particular battle? It was a street I had to walk down every day. I can see why the vigilante sub-genre of film is so poplular. Charles Bronson I am not.

    I often wonder what would have happened should one of the policemen see the pimp smacking his 'bitch' up in plain daylight on the Kings X road. Cocked a deaf 'un, I would imagine. This is a street where lone women and children walk down. It was a disgrace.

    Prostitution should be legal. In fact, where I used to live - opposite the Magistrate's court in fact, there was a massage parlour with a lot of lovely blonde ladies working there. I would often catch a glimpse of a 'trader' coming out all refreshed and popping off in his 911. This is a hundred yards from the Magistrate's court. I don't even know if that is legal or illegal. Technically there is no law against paying a lady to give you a back rub, but I would imagine there is one for things further on. I never saw it raided.

    I will never understand why men pay women for this 'thing'. It is anathema to me. But hey ho. If others wish to partake, then good for them. It certainly would make the streets safer. And less lives would be ruined. I would imagine a wife would 'click' on sooner or later. I can see why she might be a little miffed. But court, fines, criminal records (do you get a criminal record for this?) only add insult to injury.

    Make it legal. What the hell, tax it. Safe places for people who consent. And we shall leave the morals of the situation down to the individuals involved. 'Darling, I visited a prostitute today', or even, 'Darling I prostituted myself today'. I hate that word 'prostitute', btw, it is obtuse and callous. I suggest a different name for our ladies of the night - may we call them 'Sisters of mercy'?

    For they will never be departed or gone.

    Bless their little stocking tops.

  31. Ubermik

    This is kind of shocking I suppose that no actual crime was seen to have been happening.

    I used to live in balsall heath and was friends (yes ACTUAL friends lol) with several prostitutes and regularly socialised with them went for nights out etc and even dated a few

    What this prosecution seems to suggest is that just being in the proximity of a suspected sex worker could see you being prosecuted making it kind of impossible for them to have any friends or social life for fear of this kind of thing happening to their friends if they were ever in their car

    I also find it kind of disappointing that the government still pursues prostitution rather than just legalising it though. As the "ruling classes" seem to be the biggest bunch of pervs in the country it seems to be sending out the message that sex on demand isn't for peasants and poor folk, nothing else

    And as a trailing thought, its hardly going to be believable that a prostitute would be a likely person to help you choose tomotas

    Had be been shopping for plums, a salami, bananas, donuts, chocolate donuts, melons or heck, even a kebab it would have been far more believable

  32. Martin Maloney
    Thumb Up

    A happy ending (for real)

    This goes back 40+ years. I was sitting in court, waiting for a friend's case to come up on the docket.

    In this city, back then -- and still, from what I understand -- cops cruise by and sollcit street hookers. As soon as the hooker accepts and gets into the cop's car, he flashes his badge and arrests her.

    A hooker's case came up. The arresting officer testifed that he pulled up alongside her, yelled out the window, "Where's the action in this town?" She replied, "For $20, I could be the action." "Get in." And then he arrested her.

    The hooker's lawyer was sharp. He reviewed the cop's testimony to him, and the cop said, "Yes, that's what happened."

    Then the lawyer dropped his bombshell. "At any time, did either of you mention sexual intercourse?"

    "Well. er, uh, no," the cop stammered and sputtered.

    "Your honor, I move for a dismissal."

    And the judge granted it!

    1. spiny norman

      Re: A happy ending (for real)

      Why wasn't the cop in the dock for soliciting?

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