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Altrincham pub shut down over prostitution claims has licence revoked

Greater Manchester Police had raided the Grade II-listed building - which dates back to the mid-1800s - on February 13th.

An Altrincham pub where police found a trafficked woman being used for prostitution has had its licence revoked.

Trafford Council's licensing sub-committee yesterday opted to revoke the licence of The Railway Inn on Manchester Road in Broadheath, held by Rebecca Ellis.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) had raided the Grade II-listed building - which dates back to the mid-1800s - on February 13th and arrested two people on suspicion of crimes relating to controlling prostitution for gain.

Ms Ellis and her father Richard Gerard Ellis remain on police bail until May 14th, pending a decision by the Crown Prosecution Service over whether to charge them. They both deny the allegations.

Trafford Council's solicitor James Parry said: "In one of the upper rooms of the premises they discovered a woman who said she was a sex worker who advised the police in a statement captured on body-worn video that she had been trafficked to the premises."

The MEN reports that in written evidence submitted to the hearing by Neill Courtney, Trafford’s community safety and CCTV team leader, the female told police and council officers that she had been brought to the premises by Richard Ellis.

“She explained to officers, who recorded her account on their body-worn video, that she had been engaged in sex work at the pub, where Richard Ellis had provided her with drugs,” his statement said.

The pub was served with a closure order after a raid by police and council officers on February 13th

“The female, whose identity is known to me, explained that she engages in sex work in Manchester to pay for her addiction to crack cocaine. She stated that she had been provided with crack cocaine for free and had been told not to leave the upstairs of the pub. She felt that Richard Ellis would make it difficult for her to leave by doing such things as keeping her belongings and refusing to transport her elsewhere unless she agreed to return.

“She told police officers that Richard Ellis pestered her to have sex with him in exchange for crack cocaine.”

At the end of the hearing Trafford Council decided to revoke The Railway's licence, with chair Cllr David Jarman confirming: “The decision of this licensing sub-commitee is to revoke the premises licence.”

It was added that the decision was "made in the interests of public safety... It is not a criminal matter.”

Mr Ellis, who appeared in person at the hearing, has 21 days to appeal.

Cllr Rose Thompson, Trafford council’s executive member for communities and safety, said: “We are committed to protecting our residents and communities. Our community safety officers work in partnership with police to support our neighbourhoods to prevent and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

“If there is an issue within your neighbourhood that is causing you to feel unsafe, please don’t hesitate to contact us.”