A pensioner hit out at authorities after he was hit with a £140,000 bill for running two brothels in Leeds.
Raymond Telford, 77, told the YEP: “I was helping to keep women safe.”
Telford, who has been operating the illegal sex shops in the city for more than 25 years, was ordered to pay the sum after a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing at Leeds Crown Court.
The case related to police raids on a flat in the city centre on Kirkgate and an address on Bayswater Road, Harehills, in December 2010, where prostitutes were found to be working and clients accepted they were paying for sexual services.
After the case, Telford said he was refusing to call time on his career as brothel owner. He said: “I suppose at my age I should be calling it a day.
“But I think one day it will be legalised in this country and, if I’m still around when it is, I will open some more premises.”
Reacting to the decision of the court, the married grandfather said: “Life is life and I will just have to pay it. But what most people don’t understand is that by closing me down they are just endangering more working girls.
“They will continue working whatever happens but this time they will be doing it on their own where they are more vulnerable.
“At my place the working girls were much safer, they had health visits each month by a doctor and got condoms and everything they needed. We have got to look at things in perspective.
“I think if it went to a vote most people would agree that prostitution should be legalised as long as brothels are properly regulated.”
Telford said he had spent years working in construction, based in Holland and Saudi Arabia, before opening his first brothel in Harehills in the 1980s. He said he had also operated premises for gay, lesbian, transvestite and transsexual clients.
He added: “I was born and bread in Chapeltown and have been around working girls for most of my life and nearly all of them are decent people. To do what I did you need to know how their brains work and what makes them tick.
“People may look down their noses and ridicule and criminalise people who get involved in this industry but I think prostitution saves a lot of lives.
“Making it legal would save even more.”