KERB crawlers caught during an undercover police operation have been found guilty of picking up a prostitute.
Uncle and nephew Siraz Alli, aged 45, and Safik Patel, aged 29, both claimed they did not know the woman was a prostitute — but magistrates rejected their claims.
Bolton Magistrates Court heard that officers saw a prostitute running towards the side of the road each time a car came past where she was standing in Lever Street, Great Lever, on May 11.
Shortly after she was seen to get into a silver Honda car at about 9.50pm. The car was stopped nearby in Coe Street by police.
The pair claimed they thought she needed help.
Alli, of Thorn Street,Astley Bridge, said: “Safik pulled over because he obviously wanted to help that girl. I didn’t think she was a prostitute.”
The woman told the court Alli had asked her: “How much for business?” Patel, of Crompton Way, who is a married man with a terminally ill child, claimed he saw the woman waving her arms and thought she needed help.
He said he then thought he was being “mugged” when police stopped him.
He said: “I felt sorry for her because it was raining. She approached the car. I opened the door and said my window wasn’t working and she got in the car. She said take me to the station.”
He added: “Why would I need to anything like this when I have a wife and a reputable job?”
Magistrates convicted both defendants of soliciting another for obtaining sexual services as a prostitute but said Patel was convicted by joint enterprise.
Both men were sentenced to 18 month conditional discharges, ordered to each pay £250 costs, and a £15 victim surcharge.
Sgt Nicki Tompsett, from Bolton Central police, said: “This result sends out a positive message that this is unacceptable and warns other kerb crawlers that we will bring them to justice.”
The men were arrested as part of Operation Zero, which aims to eliminate prostitution from Bolton’s streets.
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