U.K. Mail Order Porn Merchants Jailed

Michael Hayes
READING, England — The owners of a mail order adult video service will go to prison after pleading guilty to charges of money laundering and illegally films.

Russell Tyler and John Wilkins pleaded guilty to the charges stemming from a December 2004 police raid. During the raid, officers uncovered thousands of videos and DVDs as well as an operation for copying, packaging and distributing the films, prosecutor John Price told the Reading Crown Court.

According to Price, the British Board of Film Classification rated many of the films R18. By law, it is legal to sell such films in licensed sex shops, but distribution via mail is forbidden.

The BBFC's website describes R18 as "a special and legally restricted classification primarily for explicit works of consenting sex between adults." R18-rated videos are legal in the United Kingdom — they don't violate British obscenity laws — but they can be sold only in specially licensed sex shops, and retailers who want to sell R18-rated videos anywhere in England, Wales or Scotland must obtain a sex shop license from a local authority.

Tyler and Wilkins, who did business under the name Vulcan, operated out of Tyler’s licensed XTC sex shop. According to Price, the two pocketed more than $160,000 in profit from the illegal sale of films.

According to Price, some of the more tame titles seized included “I Like It Fat” and “Rubber and Laytex.” Price went on to say that several of the films featured “unnatural activities between adults,” including coprophilia — the practice of using excrement for sexual gratification.

None of the films seized involved children, animals or any other illegal acts, Price said.

“The people taking part are volunteers, and there is no suggestion that they were sold to anyone other than enthusiastic connoisseurs of pornographic films,” Price said.

Judge Christopher Critchlow rejected requests by attorneys that the men be sparred jail time.

Sentencing the pair to 21 months in prison, Critchlow commented that many of the films were “obscene, degrading and corrupting.” But, Critchlow added, he did take note of the fact that all of the films depicted activities between consenting adults.

Seeking to skirt the ban on mail order porn, British mail order companies have set up shop in Holland and Spain in order to ship product back to the U.K., Mike McCann, Chairman of Britain’s Adult Industry Trade Association, told XBIZ in November.