Harlesden man jailed for £12m sex and drugs racket loses appeal bid

Ashley Sheldrick

Ashley Sheldrick - Credit: Archant

A Harlesden man jailed for running a £12.3million chip and pin racket that allowed brothels to accept card payments for sex and cocaine has lost an appeal to have his sentence reduced.

Ashley Barrie Sheldrick, 51, of Wrottesley Road, ran a very lucrative network of a least half a dozen brothels’ while he co-owned a nightclub Shoreditch, east London.

Cab drivers were approached by men leaving London pubs and offered to take them to the brothels where they could pay for sex using cash or cards.

Sheldrick and his co-conspirator Terrence Hart, 46, took almost 25 per cent of the sum paid as commission and police believe the scam racked in millions of pounds.

Last June at Inner London Crown Court he was jailed for eight years after admitting conspiracy to manage a brothel and to money launder.

Hart, from Brighton, was convicted of the same charges and sentenced to 10 years.

Sheldrick’s lawyers today argued his jail term was far too tough and ought to be cut.

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They pointed to his previous good character, remorse, the impact on his children, his guilty pleas and co-operation with the confiscation proceedings.

Mr Justice Hickinbottom said the Crown Court judge had dealt with sentencing with ‘patent care’ and ‘referred to and fully took into account the personal circumstances’ of Sheldrick.

The judge, who was sitting with Lady Justice Rafferty and Judge Keith Cutler, said he accepted his ‘sentence is severe’.

But he added: “We do not consider that eight years, after a late plea, is arguably wrong in principle or manifestly excessive.”

Sheldrick was caught after police carried out an undercover operation in 2012.

Undercover officers posed as clients and were offered sex for money and given the payment options.

The court heard in some cases brothel customers said they could not remember a great deal, waking to find receipts in their wallet showing very large amounts of money taken from their cards, one over £40,000.

Related link: Harlesden man jailed for £12.3m chip and pin brothel racket