Why we have revealed this sex trade...

TODAY'S Yorkshire Evening Post reveals the shocking online vice network operating in Leeds.

Our trawl of just one website revealed nearly 1,500 men, women and couples across Yorkshire and the Humber ready to sell themselves for sex. We found details of hundreds of women within 10 miles of Leeds's LS1 postcode area alone. And the really disturbing part is that we know this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Glossy television shows such as Secret Diary of a Call Girl may present a glamorous image of prostitution, but the reality is far less palatable.

Far from an easy way to earn some much-needed extra cash, it plunges participants into a seedy and dangerous world.

The safety of those involved must be a huge cause for concern, particularly as they often work alone at home.

The recent case of self-styled 'Crossbow Cannibal' Stephen Griffiths, who was jailed at Leeds Crown Court for the murder of three prostitutes, highlights the dangers that go hand in hand with life as an escort.

We hope that our exposure of this troubling phenomenon is the first step to tackling it.

Safety first

WHEN it comes to policing, what most of us want to see for our taxes is a highly-visible presence on the streets.

Yet police funding has fallen victim to the spending cuts,

with the YEP revealing yesterday that 500 frontline bobbies will be lost.

There is also a risk that other officers will be moved into backroom roles to plug gaps left by axed civilian staff.

In such circumstances, the role of Police Community Support Officers becomes all the more vital.

While public opinion on PCSOs is split, there can be no question that they play an important part in keeping us safe. But without council money, West Yorkshire Police would simply not be able to employ the 324 PCSOs who currently keep watch over our communities.

So the decision by Leeds City Council to maintain its annual 1.4m funding is a significant one. When we see someone in uniform we instinctively feel safer and the presence of PCSOs is a deterrent to criminals.

The swingeing cuts outlined in the Comprehensive Spending Review leave local authorities facing near impossible decisions over where to wield the axe. However, the council is right not to skimp on public safety – and this decision will ensure it remains a priority.

Chinese way

A CUP of coffee is meant to provide a bit of get up and go in the morning, and that certainly is the case for Jo Robinson, who has got up and gone all the way to China with her job at a Leeds coffee shop.

Jo has been helping to train staff in China in the ways of preparing all types of coffee in their Costa stores, from cappuccinos to latts.

It is work that she enjoys and would not have missed out on – not for all the tea in China, in fact.

The presenters of children's television programme 'Blue Peter' in 1972 (from left) Peter Purves, Lesley Judd, Valerie Singleton and John Noakes with his dog 'Shep'. PA Wire

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