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Bosses of Mail order Porn Get Jail Time

UK- The bosses of a mail-order video porn empire have been jailed for money laundering and distributing illegal films.

Russell Tyler, 44, from August End in West Reading, and John Wilkins, 44, from Bucknell Avenue in Pangbourne, ran the business from addresses in Oxford Road, Milford Road and Beecham Road.

Police raids in December 2004 uncovered thousands of videos and DVDs packaged and ready to be sent out, together with a “sophisticated” operation for copying, packaging and distributing the films, prosecutor John Price told Reading Crown Court on Friday.

Many of the films were rated “R-18”, meaning it is legal to buy them in person from a licensed sex shop but not to sell them via mail order.

Other films had not been rated by the British Board of Film Classification and were therefore illegal to sell, he added.

The tamest of the titles appearing in court files included “I Like it Fat” and “Rubber and Laytex”, while others featured “unnatural activities between adults,” including coprophilia, Mr Price said.

He said none of the movies featured animals, children or other illegal acts, and were not sold to anyone under age.

“The people taking part are volunteers, and there is no suggestion that they were sold to anyone other than enthusiastic connoisseurs of pornographic films,” he said.

He said Tyler, who owns the XTC licensed sex shop in Oxford Road, was the main beneficiary of more than £100,000 profit from the mail-order business, which operated under the name “Vulcan” and used the XTC customer database as the foundation of its success.

Mr Price said Wilkins was responsible for the day-to-day running of the operation, and had bought the expensive equipment used for copying the movies after being told what to order by Tyler.

Wilkins had earlier admitted nine charges of having an obscene article for publication for gain, three charges of possessing an unclassified work for the purposes of supply, and five charges of transferring criminal property, which related to money transfers of the profits made by him to Tyler.

Tyler had admitted five charges of converting criminal property, but denied possession of any of the films.

Martin McCarthy, defending Tyler, tried to lay the blame squarely on Wilkins, saying his client had not been aware of what Wilkins was doing and had only sold him the XTC mailing list and provided IT help.

But Mr Price told the court Tyler was “fully aware” of what the other man was doing and had been the main financial beneficiary of the business.

The two men’s partners, Claire Hinchey, 43, from August End, and Kelly Wilkins, 34, from Bucknell Avenue, had been due to stand trial with them, but the case against them was dropped after Wilkins and Tyler entered their pleas last month.

Charges of conspiracy to publish obscene articles and converting the proceeds of crime were ordered to lie on the court file.

Judge Christopher Critchlow rejected submissions from Mr McCarthy and John Causer, representing Wilkins, that the men be dealt with by means of a financial penalty.

He said nine per cent of the videos seized had been classed as “obscene… degrading and corrupting,” but said he took note of the fact that none showed activity that was not between consenting adults.

Each of the men was jailed for a total of 21 months.

There was no order for costs.

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