Brothel boss jailed

JAILED: Razvan Ursu
JAILED: Razvan Ursu
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A 33-year-old man from Romania has been jailed for controlling brothels in Burnley and Blackburn.

Razvan Ursu was sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Friday having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

The 33-year-old now faces deportation.

Detectives started tracking Ursu in March 2015 after receiving intelligence women from Romania were using websites to advertise services as prostitutes in the Blackburn area.

Following extensive work, officers identified links with Suffolk Police relating to an organised crime gang based in Ipswich. Suffolk officers had executed a warrant at an address in 2013, finding three males and four Romanian females. One of the males was Razvan Ursu. The group were interviewed and bailed pending further enquiries, but the group, including Ursu, failed to answer bail.

In May 2015, a man was seen by officers leaving an address in St Stephen’s Avenue, Blackburn and following enquiries, identified as Razvan Ursu.

It was quickly established Ursu was driving females around the area, collecting and dropping them off at airports and ports. He was also heavily involved in the prostitution of these women.

In June 2015, officers raided brothels in Ford Street, Burnley and St James Road, Blackburn, where Ursu was caught trying to escape with a female, a Romanian national.

When interviewed by officers, the woman, who later returned to Romania, confirmed Ursu’s role in running brothels in east Lancashire and Suffolk.

Ursu was charged and appeared at Preston Crown Court in March where he pleaded guilty to two offences of controlling brothels in Blackburn and Burnley and conspiracy to controlling a brothel in Ipswich.

He was sentenced to more than three years in prison with credit given for early guilty pleas. He will also be extradited at the end of his sentence.

Det. Sgt Tony Atkins, of Lancashire Police, said: “This was a complex and at times, fast-moving case involving the safeguarding of young, vulnerable females from across Europe.

“These women were being trafficked at the hands of ruthless people with no thoughts for their victims and only about the profits that could be made.

“The sentencing follows excellent work by a range of teams and recognises the dedication and resilience of officers at Lancashire Police.

“This type of offending is being actively targeted by the police and other agencies, if members of the public have concerns about addresses or females they believe are being exploited in this way please contact Lancashire police on 101 or anonymously through Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.”