08:30 Thursday 31 January 2013

Adult store celebrates as court dismisses case

Written byBY HELEN KREFT

AN adult shop has won its case against a council which wanted to force the owners to acquire a licence to sell a ‘significant amount of sex items’.

However, Michael McGee, director of Heelz Adult Store, in the Eton Business Park, off Derby Road, Burton, denied his shop was selling the suggested amount of items and the case was then dismissed due to lack of evidence.

Mr McGee and his brother, David, had been running Heelz for a year before the licensing officer at East Staffordshire Borough Council came knocking in January 2012.

Two test purchases were made in which sex items were sold and the brothers were given an application to fill in for a proper licence.

Mr McGee said: “Any business or premises needs a licence for adult shop if it is selling a significant degree of sex articles but everyone’s definition is always different.

“We are working on similar guidelines to Ann Summers which also doesn’t have that licence.

“If we had four walls full of sex articles then yes I accept we would need a licence, but we have as much if not less than Ann Summers. We were told it is because Ann Summers sells clothing, but so do we.”

Mr McGee, of Thames Close, Derby, was prosecuted by the borough council for running the store allegedly as an unlicensed sex establishment and a trial took place last week but was then dismissed.

He said: “We came here because there was nothing like this in Burton. We cater mainly for club-wear. We don’t do amazingly well but we get a lot of people in.

“While the court case was going on we were reluctant to advertise, even over Christmas, because we were waiting to see what was going to happen.

“If we lost the court case, we would have had to get a licence, which costs about £3,200. The licence is imposed if anyone wants to sell hardcore porn but we don’t want to do that. We are basically saying we are not a sex shop, we are an adult store. If we were head to toe in toys then we would get a licence, but we aren’t.

“It is a lot better now. I am more annoyed now because they wasted all this public money.

“I have been in this industry for 14 years so I know what I can and can’t do. They brought up the fact I had applied for the licence at my shop in Derby which is true but the market was different then and that proves that I knew what to apply for.”

His brother added: “It used to be called Heelz but we had parents ringing up asking if we sell childrens’ shoes so we changed the name to Heelz Adult Store.”

The borough council declined to comment and has 21 days to consider if it wants to appeal.

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