A man who rented three flats to prostitutes, charging them thousands of pounds in cash for over a year has been jailed.
Angus Binnie took out the leases of the flats in Dundee’s Hilltown and Ladywell areas from a reputable letting agency in the city.
He then advertised them for short term rental on various websites – and charged itinerant prostitutes massive fees of up to £600 a week to use the flats in residential blocks to ply their trades.
When the properties were rented by police the women openly admitted to using the flats as brothels – and told cops they had been rented to them by Binnie.
When Binnie appeared for sentence today, solicitor advocate Kris Gilmartin told the court he had initially rented the flats as a lawful venture and had charged a flat rate.
However as things progressed the properties were used by prostitutes.
He said he took no part in the administration of the sex workers and therefore had no control over them or their finances, adding that the prostitutes “could not believe their luck”.
He said apart from one woman, all of the female witnesses were consenting adults who had chosen to make financial decisions.
“Apparently there is an industry where females will travel to all parts of the UK and stay in properties and advertise their services from there,” he said.
Mr Gilmartin said the exception had been a woman named Nam Chan, who he said had been trafficked into the country but had chosen to remain working in the industry despite being free to leave it.
He said Binnie had befriended her and that friendship had turned into a relationship, with Binnie supporting her child.
Telling the court that Binnie had simply rented out his properties to the prostitutes, he said he had “turned a blind eye” to their activities rather than become involved in the industry.
He added: “He is clearly remorseful, he has shown true shame and regret at his actions.
“If he is given a custodial sentence he will lose his employment and it will cause him serious problems in gaining future employment.”
At a previous hearing, the court heard one of the women told a cop that one of three phones spotted in a bedroom was her “sex phone” while another told officers she offered “massage and hand relief” services to clients.
A third was found with an Ann Summers bag on display in a bedroom used for sex work.
The three flats were in Dundee’s Mid Road, Stirling Street and Weaver’s Loan.
Fiscal depute Nicola Gillespie told Dundee Sheriff Court that many of the sex workers had come to Dundee from out of town, with Binnie meeting them at the train station and conveying them to the properties.
She said: “One woman paid him between £500 and £600 for five days rent.
“They provided their services from the flat but were interrupted by police.
“They freely stated they were working as prostitutes.
“Sex toys, condoms and lubricants were found there.
“At another property there were a number of bottles of baby oil found at the foot of a bed and three mobile phones.
“When the accused was traced by police near one of the properties he stated he had rented the properties.
“He said one was for people from his work and another was to make money.
“He said he had listed them on Gumtree and on Booking.com for short term lets.”
Binnie, 62, of Dens Road, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to allowing premises to be used for habitual prostitution between March 20 2017 and April 24 2018 at three addresses in Dundee.
His not guilty plea to four charges of human trafficking, one of living wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution and one breach of bail were accepted by the Crown.
Sentencing him to 12 months in custody, Sheriff Alastair Carmichael told Binnie: “I have come to the view that there is no alternative to a custodial sentence, due to the length of time you were involved, the number of addresses involved and the number of women involved.
“This was not a casual act it was well thought out activity.”