Fun and games at the Croydon Sadvertiser, which despite the “silly season” for news, has nonetheless managed to have a couple of beltingly good, old-fashioned front page “splashes” in the last three weeks.
There’s a bit of a problem with last Friday’s “Sexclusive”, though.
“Sinister” brothel uncovered next to charity office runs the headline over a 400-word article that took two people to write.
Clearly, our intrepid reporters have had a bit of fun with this story, as they have gone in to the establishment of ill-repute with a hidden camera (they only share one of their pics with us, though, spoilsports!) and they even use the time honoured phrase which once helped give the News of the Screws its nickname, saying that “the reporter then made his excuses and left”.
Boiled down, this is the story: there’s a knocking shop been operating on London Road, West Croydon for some time; the police and council have done nothing about it; oh, and embarrassingly for Age UK, it’s right next door to their shop.
The “sinister” bit comes from a lengthy quote from a “local businessman” who is unnamed by the paper, but who we are told called in the story presumably out of a sense of civic duty. Either that, or the newspaper just made up the quotes.
Why do we say that? Well, if you’ve bothered to buy the paper this week, turn to page 52 of the very self-same Croydon Sadvertiser, and there’s the usual couple of columns of seedy small ads for premium 0909 chat lines, “massage services” from “discreet” “ladies” or “escorts”, in “luxury surroundings”.
There are some local newspapers that have taken a principled line and no longer carry such ads, on the grounds that they encourage the exploitation of women and may also help drive businesses built on the trafficking of young girls.
In the next door borough of Lambeth, the council there withdrew all advertising from the South London Press to protest against the paper continuing to profit from prostitution.
Tough economic times and all that, but it’s a fair guess that the Sadvertiser has made a tawdry but tidy profit from advertising Croydon’s brothels down the years. A sort of pimp at one step removed if you like.
Never once have they flinched from this apparent hypocrisy when running their latest, holier-than-thou brothel story (there’s been at least seven in the past two years) after the latest half-hearted police raid in the neighbourhood.
But it gets worse.
Because down the ad column, there’s an advert for a massage parlour, with phone number, for the very brothel featured on this week’s Sadveriser front page!
Our intrepid reporter writes disapprovingly that he got the brothel’s number from a card in a local general store. If only he read his own newspaper, he might never even have needed to leave his office.