Former Birmingham Mail editor Steve Dyson (left) has renewed his call for local papers to stop carrying sex advertising after claims that editors and publishers could face prosecution if their titles carry them.
The Croydon Guardian, which has been investigating sex trafficking, has quoted a senior Metropolitan Police officer saying editors and publishers who continue to run adverts which are fronts for brothels could be arrested.
Vice squad detective inspector Kevin Hyland told the Guardian: "It is an offence to advertise for prostitution. If newspapers do run adverts there is a possibility of prosecution. The legislation we are thinking of using is aiding and abetting offences of controlling prostitution for gain, offences of trafficking under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and possibly money laundering."
Dyson, who this summer campaigned that 'It's time to ban sex ads' on his blog hosted by HoldtheFrontPage, said: "This is exactly why the regional newspaper industry needs to be so careful about the sexually explicit services it potentially offers via its classified sections.
"One, the implied activities and certain images used are distasteful given most titles' family, community-based audiences.
"Two, if editors are not vigilant and honest about the real-world activities taking place in the establishments they promote, they could ultimately find themselves in court.
"What has been seen in Croydon is surely a reminder to all in our industry that now is the time to ban sex ads."