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January 18, 2001 09:00pm
Sex Shop is Fined Because it's Videos are 'Too Tame'
Source: Electronic Telegraph
by: Sally Pook

A SEX shop owner who sold "hardcore" pornographic films was ordered to pay £5,826 yesterday because they were not explicit enough.

Customers of Little Amsterdam, in York, and The Adult Shop, in Grimsby, owned by Nicholas Griffin, paid up to £50 a time for erotic videos. But when they got the films home they discovered they were distinctly tame.

One video, Secrets of a Sensuous Nurse, was a 30-year-old comedy starring Ursula Andress and Jack Palance. Confessions of a Sex Maniac told the innocent story of an architect who wanted to build an office block shaped like a pair of breasts. Talk Naughty to Me proved to be equally "softcore".

Michael Taylor, prosecuting, said the charges against the company were only samples of numerous breaches. He added: "These videos can be seen on late night terrestrial television. They were not the more interesting videos these people were seeking, and in simplistic terms it is clearly a breach of the Trade Descriptions Act. The public have been misled."

Colin Rumford, head of trading standards in York, said: "We responded to complaints from the public, both men and women. They felt embarrassed and reluctant to come forward, but also felt cheated. They did not know exactly what they had bought until they settled down to watch the films. In many cases they must have got a shock, hence the complaints."

Griffin, 30, of Grimsby, pleaded guilty at York magistrates' court to four offences under the Trading Standards Act. Three complaints from customers were taken up, and Griffin Star Printing Company, owned by Griffin, prosecuted under the Trade Descriptions Act.

The company admitted it applied false trade descriptions to the videos by labelling them "hardcore", and also pleaded guilty to selling a video without a censor's classification certificate. It was fined £3,800 and ordered to pay £2,026 costs.

Griffin said: "I am amazed people have the audacity to complain about things like that. No one complained to me. In future, I will make sure that I know what I am selling. This is a pretty unique case and I shall tighten up on procedure."

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