The on-campus letting agency, Adam Bennett, has been accused of advertising escort services from its office above Costcutter.
Bennett has strongly denied the accusations, calling them “wholly fictitious and libellous”, despite Nouse finding that the mobile phone number of an escort service is the same number as that being advertised as ‘Browns of Heslington Removal Services’ in Bennett’s window.
On April 13, Nouse received an anonymous letter, with a Leeds postmark.
The author made numerous claims, one of which was that Bennett was allowing a member of staff to advertise escort services, for the website www.escortmale.co.uk, from his office window on campus.
At the time of investigation the domain name of the named website was active. It advertised the services of a middle-aged, male escort, working in York and the surrounding area. It also contained a list of prices for the various services and personal details about the escort.
Nouse registered on the website, giving a name, email, and phone number, and sent a question to the escort using the given contact form. The escort from the website then replied to the question via text message. The number of the escort is the same number as that being displayed as “Browns of York” in Adam Bennett’s office window on campus.
Bennett has continued to strongly denies any connection of his company with the escort agency, despite being presented with the full content of the letter, and the results found by Nouse.
Bennett issued a statement, saying that “Adambennett.co.uk were not aware of the existence of the website you mentioned, or of the alleged activities of this person”.
He continued to explain that “the driver was allowed to put an advert in our window for his removal service because during his time working for us he had proved himself to be presentable, reliable, well-mannered and hardworking.”
The letter in question also made numerous other allegations about the member of staff, although Nouse was unable to find any evidence at all to support them.
Bennett said that he had been “told from more than one source” that the author of the letter has “connections with another letting agency”, and that he believes it to be “mischief” which was created to harm his new business.
The author of the letter left no name, stating: “I cannot risk giving my name… I don’t want to identify myself as I have taken a house with this agency and don’t want any revenge against my group.”
A second year Politics student called the situation “disgraceful”, stating that “students should be made aware of what’s happening on campus”. He continued to add that “the University has had so much trouble with these letting agencies, I don’t know why they are still letting space to them.”
One second year Economics student has argued, however, that the fact the number on the advert was the same number as the male prostitute was “irrelevant”, adding that “whatever he does in his spare time is alright”.
The University Press Officer David Garner has denied any necessity for the University to intervene in the situation, stating that “this is an internal matter for the tenant”.
The website in question now no longer exists.