A married couple who built a £3.8million brothel empire were allowed to continue operating by police for 14 years who instead focused on “serious types of organised crime”, a court has heard.
Sandra ‘Sandy’ Hankin, 55, and Mark Hankin, 57, made a fortune running two massage parlours where sex was sold for a minimum of £50 a time.
The couple’s brothel, called ‘Sandy’s Superstars’, was said to have “flourished” in Northenden and Bury, Greater Manchester thanks to an agreement made with police.
Police had limited resources and priority was given to tackling brothels which used underage people, trafficked women or had links to organised crime.
Prostitutes were given regular security and health care checks courtesy of NHS officials during their stints at Sandy’s. But after regular complaints from locals both premises were raided by police and shut down in 2016.
The massage parlour business was accredited with the Security Industry Authority and routinely paid its taxes with HMRC inspectors.
The couple, of Corwen, North Wales, pleaded guilty to keeping brothels to use for prostitution at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester and were sentenced to six months in jail suspended for two years.
Mrs Hankin, a former escort, will have to pay back £200,000 from her illicit activities while her husband, an engineer, must refund £150,000 under Proceeds of Crime rules.