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Agencies & People

“We had no idea!” Estate agencies astounded after brothel discovered

Madam sentenced for running eight brothels in Torbay include a central operation on a busy town centre street packed with estate agencies.

Nigel Lewis

torbay estate agency

Estate agency staff working at three leading firms in Torbay have told local media they were working too hard to notice a large brothel was being operated opposite their offices.

The unusual situation arose after a notorious madam was convicted of running a string of brothels in and around the Devon resort town.

59-year old Edwina Kalay (picture, above) moved to the town to run a fast food restaurant after doing time for running a brothel in Oxford following a conviction in 2014.

But by 2018 the restaurant was in trouble and she, and associate and her son set up a string of brothels in rented properties in the area, including one in central Torbay above a news agent in a street where many of the town’s estate agency firms are found.


This central operation was only uncovered after local elderly residents reported being scared to go out at night, and shopkeepers became suspicious of the women working at the address.

But the town’s local paper has reported that estate agency staff working at three branches very near the brothel told reporters that they had no idea what was going only a few feet from their office windows.

Jon Emery at Haart told the paper: “This is the first we have heard about it – they obviously did it very discreetly because we weren’t aware.”

Other agents nearby oblivious to the illegal activity included Connells, who staff said they were shocked by the revelations, and Taylor Lettings, whose staff were ‘wide eyed’ when told of the court case, it was reported.

Kalay’s operations have now closed after she received a sentence of two years and eight months for running eight brothels and a similar sentence for money laundering sum totalling nearly £100,000. Her son received an 18-month suspended sentence.

Two years ago a lettings director at a Hertfordshire was convicted of running a brothel at one of his properties.

Read the full police report.

March 12, 2021

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