A high street brothel is operating by a bus stop used every day by children on their way to school, the Echo can reveal.
The seedy side of Atlas House in Christchurch Road was confirmed by an Echo investigation, highlighting how much is still to be done to clean up the streets of Boscombe.
Nick Lawrence, who owns Nothing New over the road, said Atlas House is so well known locally he has seen school children fooling around knocking the door.
“I would rather it wasn’t there, it isn’t very nice, and it brings nothing to the area as its customers are usually in and out,” he said.
“It doesn’t fit in here anymore, this area is really improving and a place like this seems out of date.
“There was a brothel above my shop when I first moved in a year or so ago, I had blokes knocking asking to see the girls and I told them I had nothing to do with it.”
However, Mr Lawrence, who is part of the Bournemouth Vineyard church which supports on-street prostitutes, added: “On the other hand it is better for the girls to be in there being checked on than on the street.
“There are always going to be brothels somewhere, this just isn’t an ideal place.”
Boscombe East councillor John Wilson said he had not received any complaints about Atlas House.
“Certainly if it is a brothel I want it to be shut down, we don’t want this sort of thing in our area,” he said.
“We are trying to improve the area and to encourage people to shop and take their holidays here.”
Boscombe Police Inspector Chris Weeks said: “We always listen to community concerns if they suggest a brothel is operating in the area, and if it is causing some distress or concern we will investigate and take appropriate action.
“To date that level of concern hasn’t been brought to my attention about Atlas House.”
Dorset Police are focusing on rehabilitation of street walkers and kerb crawlers to curb the area’s unique on-street problem, but brothels known to the police remain in use.
We asked Chief Constable Debbie Simpson if Dorset Police were content to allow brothels if they kept prostitutes off the street.
She said: “Some places, such as the Netherlands, have moved on-street prostitution into the brothels.
“But studies there show that they now have more trouble than they’ve ever had, that drug misuse and the sex trade have increased along with violence.
“What we are trying is a longer term solution.”
- THE Echo paid two visits to Atlas House, a bare, nondescript shop front with CCTV cameras outside.
On the first visit the door was unlocked by a young Asian woman in a dressing gown who kept herself concealed behind the door.
Listen to the Daily Echo's conversation with the receptionist
Our reporter was led to a bedroom and told that prices were “£20 for half an hour or £30 for an hour”. She implied that for £30 there would be two girls.
When asked what was on offer the woman said “sex, or oral”. She seemed confused when asked if she was able to provide a massage, and suggested our reporter try elsewhere.
The second time the Echo visited we were told all three girls were busy and anything more than a massage would have to be agreed with the girls.
Our reporter was told: “We do massage, £20 for half an hour or £30 for one hour.
“Just massage only.
“Anything else you have to discuss with the girls. I’m just the reception."
- ONLY last month the Echo highlighted a massage parlour just a few doors down from Atlas House, which police described as a brothel.
Rose Beauty and Body Shop was refused change of use permission to operate as a beauty salon after a police report to councillors stated it offered sexual services.
Chief Constable Debbie Simpson has described Boscombe’s sex industry as a “long-term problem” without “easy off-the-shelf solutions”.