Two suspected brothels have been closed following a joint council and police operation.

On October 16, council and police officers raided two suspected brothels in South Ilford.

Several women discovered at the locations are being offered support to exit their involvement in prostitution, Redbridge Council says.

The operation, codenamed Magpie, included council enforcement officers and police officers from the Response Task Force, CID, Safer Neighbourhood Teams and the Human Tracking Unit.

Council leader Cllr Jas Athwal said: “I’d like to congratulate the police and council officers on the success of this joint operation.

“As a council, we’re already doing a huge amount to tackle prostitution in the borough.

“But this is a long-term problem and one which requires us to work in close partnership with the police, and I am looking forward to continuing our work together.

“Our priority is to engage and support women to exit prostitution, whilst sending a strong message to the criminals behind this activity that we will disrupt them at all levels, not just on the streets at night.”

Inspector Barrie Beyler, from the Metropolitan Police Response Taskforce, added: “This operation was a successful example of numerous agencies coming together working within a multi-agency approach to protect vulnerable women who appeared to be exploited for financial gain.

“The purpose of the operation was to safeguard these individuals whilst offering ongoing support to deter such future illicit activities.”

Fours wards, Ilford Town, Valentines, Clementswood, and Loxford, have been subject to an anti-social behaviour Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) since May 2017.

The PSPO, which expires in May 2020, prohibits consumption of alcohol in public, spitting, aggressive begging, urination and defecation and other anti-social behaviours.

The order enables enforcement officers and police to issue on-the-spot fines to those caught breaching it.

Redbridge Council says enforcement of the PSPO and patrols in the area have reduced street prostitution.

The borough was also recently awarded more than £460,000 by the government to help tackle street prostitution.

The council says it will use the cash on “long-term solutions” focused on supporting women to exit prostitution and developing environmental improvements recommended by specialist crime reduction advisors to reduce the likelihood of prostitution.