Police seize 85,000 porn magazines and videos

POLICE and Customs investigators seized more than 80,000 sex magazines and about 5,000 pornographic videos during raids on dozens of sex shops and warehouses across London yesterday, David Connett writes.

A total of 22 people were arrested following an 18-month investigation into a series of companies believed to be Britain's biggest suppliers of hard-core pornography.

Officers say they are investigating allegations of VAT evasion and possession of obscene material.

Several sex shops in the Soho and King's Cross areas were closed after eight male shop assistants were arrested. All were later released without charges.

Two warehouses and several other properties were visited yesterday by more than 150 officers from Scotland Yard's Club and Vice Squad and Customs and Excise.

Police said one man, who is serving a jail sentence for unconnected offences, was also interviewed in prison.

Custom officers later charged Kenneth Pocket, 64, a garage owner, of east London, and Michael O'Sullivan, 43, a company secretary, of Braintree, Essex, with VAT evasion.

Two women, Maria O'Sullivan, 37, of Chigwell, Essex, and Jannine Richardson, 32, a bookkeeper of Romford, east London, will appear before City of London magistrates today. Ten men were released on police bail.

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