A BROTHEL operating on a busy high street has been shut down after the police discovered sex was being sold on the premises.

Wanstead Sauna, on Wanstead High Street, has been shut down after Redbridge Magistrates issued a closure order.

The order, dated July 2, says that the premises must remain shut for three months because it was being used for “activities relating to one or more specified prostitution offences”.

The close came after an operation by the Metropolitan Police's Central Prostitution and Trafficking Unit.

A Met spokeswoman said that the force was unable to specify exactly what kind of prostitution offences they had uncovered at the brothel as their investigation was ongoing.

In 2008, Valerie Sayers of the Wanstead Society claimed the sauna was operating as a brothel and called for its closure.

Mrs Sayers said: “Well we've all known for years that that's what it was, so I suppose it's just got to the point where they can't ignore it any longer.

“You never know what these things are related to, whether there's something else it's linked to.

“That area of the High Street is a bit run-down, which is a shame, and it needs a bit of smartening up.”

Treasurer of the Wanstead Business Partnership Jeffrey Edelman, said: “It's good that it's closed because it wasn't a very good advert for the high street.

“I think it was more something that's noticed by local residents than businesspeople, because it wasn't that obvious, but it can only be a good thing for businesses.”

The sauna's website – which does not mention the fact the business has been shut – offers a range of services such as massages, showers and saunas with one or two “girls”. It also features a list of woman who work at the premises.