Gateshead 'try before you buy' sex doll firm fined
A business selling sex dolls has been fined over its "try before you buy" scheme.
It follows a complaint that LD Europe Ltd, which trades as Lovedoll UK, was allowing potential customers a "first hand experience" of their product using a bedroom on its premises.
This would require a sex establishment licence, which the firm did not have.
The company's owner, Graeme Tulip, was fined £10,000 at Gateshead Magistrates' Court.
Neither Mr Tulip nor his legal representative were at the hearing and, as a result, the company was tried in its absence.
The dolls cost up to £2,000 and the "try before you buy" option is £50.
Inspectors visited the company's premises in Felling in January following complaints it was running a "sex doll brothel", and were taken to a showroom and a "try before you buy" bedroom.
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Owner Graeme Tulip was informed that such a use would require a sex establishment licence, which had neither been sought nor granted.
He was later invited for formal interview under caution and conceded he did not have one.
A sex establishment licence covers premises selling sex toys, books or videos, venues where explicit films are shown to members of the public and those where sexual entertainment such as pole dancing and strip shows take place.