Essex

Escort agency men jailed for underage prostitution offences

Stephen Castle and Steven Davis Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Stephen Castle and Steven Davis were involved in the running of an escort agency called Girls4You

Two men who employed vulnerable teenage girls as prostitutes have been jailed.

Steven Davis, 55, and Stephen Castle, 41, ran an escort agency called Girls4You in Shoeburyness, Essex.

The men were charged with various offences relating to child prostitution and were convicted following a trial at Basildon Crown Court.

Police said the pair had "absolutely no regard for just how young and vulnerable" the girls were, calling their actions "selfish and despicable".

Castle, of Friday Street, Eastbourne, was sentenced to four years in prison for five offences, including controlling child prostitution, possession of indecent images of children and being concerned in the supply of mephedrone.

The court heard the computer programmer had pictures of one of his victims on his phone - she had started working for the agency just before her 16th birthday.

Other women who worked for Girls4You said they took drugs and drank at Castle's flat while waiting for bookings, the court heard.

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Davis, of Vauxhall Bridge Road, Westminster, claimed to work for the agency as a part-time driver rather than a business partner.

But he was convicted of two prostitution offences and being concerned in the supply of mephedrone and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years.

Det Supt Mark Hall, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "They claimed to have looked after them but all they did was exploit them to make money for themselves and ply them with drugs and alcohol to maintain control over them."

The trial concluded in November but could only be reported following the conclusion of a related trial.

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