1. ITV Report

Takeaway boss convicted of recruiting girls into prostitution

Azad Miah has been found guilty

A takeaway boss has been convicted of attempting to recruit four girls aged 12 to 16 into prostitution.

44-year-old Azad Miah hounded and stalked the girls to have sex for money while at the same time running a brothel from his city centre premises in Carlisle.

The married father-of-four was also found guilty of paying for the sexual services of two teenage girls.

ITV News' Steven Douglas has this report.

His mode of operation was to target girls and women who he thought would rather have sex for money than risk jail by stealing to feed addictions to drugs or drink.

During the trial the court heard how Miah treated his arrest as "a joke" and showed contempt for the girls who accused him.

Investigating officer Detective Constable Christy Robertson recalled his "arrogant" and "disrespectful" demeanour when she interviewed him.

I would say that he showed contempt for the girls, he was dismissive of them. He was disrespectful to me. If I challenged him in any way then he was across the table with fingers (pointing) in my face. I think that he thought it was a joke to him.

– DC Christy Robertson

She said he displayed the same lack of compassion to his victims in the lengthy police interviews as when he entered the witness box in his trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

Miah claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy between the girls after he stopped giving money to some of them out of kindness.

He said he was embarrassed at having to admit in open court that he had a number of extra-marital affairs.

DC Christy Robertson praised the bravery of the girls involved in the case:

I have to admire these girls for what they have done. They have had to admit to themselves a part of them which had remained hidden - things that their family and close friends may not have known about. This is a massive secret that they have held for a number of years. After talking to a number of the girls individually they said they had to do this to stop it happening to anyone else.

– DC Christy Robertson
Miah was convicted for coercing four girls into prostitution Credit: ITV News

DC Robertson also conceded there may be more victims of Miah who have so far been reluctant to contact them, but the force was treating it is an isolated incident in the county.

One of the alarming issues which came to light during the trial is that one of Miah's under-age victims complained to the police about him three years before his eventual arrest.

His youngest victim - a 12 year old girl - said she eventually gave up talking to the police in 2008 because nothing was being done.

Also that year, a woman complained to police that Miah had began to undress and told her to take her clothes off on her second day of work at his Spice of India restaurant in Carlisle city centre.

And one of the girls who Miah was cleared of encouraging to have sex for money had also complained to police about him in 2008 about claims he persistently harassed her, the court heard.

Cumbria Constabulary did not launch its investigation into Miah though until Christmas 2010 following a disclosure by one of his victims to one of its "partnership agencies" about claims of child prostitution.