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Prostitution 'still a problem' after police blitz
People living and working in a hotspot for prostitution have welcomed a police blitz on kerb crawlers - but say the problem is persisting.
Operation Dash, targeted Lea Bridge Road between Vicarage Road and Bromley Road, near Bakers Arms.
The area has been long known as a hot-spot for prostitution and police took targted action on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights over the last two weeks.
It resulted in 74 arrests of those suspected of offences including kerb crawling, soliciting and drink driving.
Of the arrests, 71 people were charged, cautioned or conditionally cautioned.
A number of residents who spoke to the Guardian welcomed the operation, but said the problem is persisting.
Anita, who didn’t want to give her full name, lives in Westerham Road.
The 41-year-old said: “I’ve seen them going into the alley there and do their business.
“They don’t even go that far in. They don’t care.
“I’m hearing horns every evening and arguments early in the morning.”
David Le Grand, manager of Won Lot a Chinese restaurant in Lea Bridge Road, said his storeroom opens out on to an alleyway used by prostitutes.
The 35-year-old said: “They’re dealing at the back of my door.
“I see people selling their bodies and I have to clean up the used condoms the next day.”
A 22-year-old, who works as a barmaid at Bootlaces in Lea Bridge Road, said: “You see condoms all over the ground. My boss has actually seen someone at it. She walked in on them and they didn’t bat an eyelid.”
Police say kerb crawlers, rather than prostitutes, were targeted because arresting sex workers has limited long term success and outreach work is seen as a more viable approach.
A public meeting is being held to discuss the issue at the Waltham Forest Resource Hub in Russell Road, Leyton, at 7pm on December 18.
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