Belfast Telegraph

Co Antrim marina chief had a lucrative sideline in brothels

By John Cassidy

A Co Antrim marina boss has been handed a 30-month suspended prison sentence for running a lucrative brothel racket across Northern Ireland.

Robert Weir (56), of Drumsough Road, Randalstown, pleaded guilty to running or managing brothels between June 2011 and April 2012. He also pleaded guilty to converting criminal property between April 2010 and April 2011 totalling over £124,000.

Weir further admitted possessing criminal property to the sum of £4,000 in cash which was seized as part of an operation by the PSNI's Organised Crime Branch.

Prosecution counsel Kate McKay told Deputy Belfast Recorder Corinne Philpott QC that Weir had leased a number of luxury apartments across Belfast and Londonderry for what he had claimed was a "legitimate business''.

The court heard Weir would collect prostitutes from airports and train stations after they had advertised themselves on the Escort Ireland website and take them to the apartments which the women would use to offer sexual services to clients.

Ms McKay said Weir charged the prostitutes £100 a day for the rental of the apartment bringing him a "substantial amount of money'' on a daily and weekly basis. When first arrested in December 2011, he admitted he was running a business and that he was leasing the apartments and then sub-letting them but said he didn't know the women were prostitutes.

The deputy Belfast Recorder said that as Weir had spent seven months on remand, the court would impose a concurrent two-and-a-half-year sentence on all counts suspended for three years.

Last week Robert Weir's son Matthew Weir (26), of Churchview, Randalstown, was handed down a four-month prison sentence suspended for three years for aiding and abetting his father in running brothels.

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