A MAN who tried to make easy money by advertising prostitutes on a website was described as a “pimp” by a judge.
Robert Andrew Pettener, 28, sent out messages on Facebook to random women asking them if they would like to work as prostitutes.
A court heard yesterday how one of them was sent to a 16-year-old girl who was horrified at the suggestion and felt very scared.
Judge Philip Hughes branded Pettener a drug-dealing pimp.
Mold Crown Court was told that between November 2012 and January last year he incited women to become prostitutes.
The defendant, formerly of Coleshill Street, Holywell, but now of Bindley Avenue, Winsford, Cheshire, admitted six offences of inciting prostitution for financial gain, possessing cannabis with intent to supply, and supplying cannabis.
He was jailed for a total of two years and two months.
Pettener, whose girlfriend is heavily pregnant and standing by him, was told by Judge Hughes that from November 2012 to mid January 2012 he became involved in trying to persuade young women “to become sex workers for you”.
He had used his mobile phone to try and find girls who were already involved in the sex trade but it was quite obvious he was contacting other young women via Facebook.
One girl as young as 16 received a template recruitment message he had prepared “out of the blue”. Pettener had disguised his identity.
“You were trying to get her to become a prostitute,” Mr Hughes told him.
Analyses of his mobile phone showed he had been in negotiations with others asking what services they would provide clients – with him claiming a cut for managing their work for them.
“You were effectively a pimp,” he said.
He said Pettener exploited young women for financial gain.
They were nasty offences with the potential for significant gain.
Matthew Dunford, prosecuting, said a police investigation was set up after police were alerted to the message sent to the 16-year-old girl.
He had suggested she work for £65 an hour, with £200 up front.
At the time, Pettener was working as a carer at the New Hall Independent Hospital and when arrested at work, he told officers: “Can we go please, it’s embarrassing.”
On the way to the police station, he asked how old the girl was, and when told 16, he said it could have been worse, she could have been 12 or 13.
His phone was seized and his conversations with other women were found, including one where he was in dispute with one working girl over a debt he said she owed.
He was threatening to “sell” her debt to others.
Interviewed, he said he did not know the legalities of it.
Mark Davies, defending, said Pettener got the idea when he visited an escort while separated from his then girlfriend.
He described himself as a conduit or manager where male customers could meet females via his website, two of whom were already providing escort services.
It was not a sophisticated operation, it operated for a short period and he claimed that his financial gain was some £700.
He denied there was any coercion or threats to get the females involved in the first place.
As far as the cannabis was concerned, he grew his own, gave it up and then sold off his drugs to others – people he knew who were already users.
He had no intention of targeting young girls. He would look at their Facebook profiles and he believed they were 18 or over, the 16-year-old girl had been photographed holding a pint of lager and he believed she was older.
Pettener had a difficult childhood and since his arrest had made significant lifestyle changes.
Following his arrest he had lost job as a carer, lost his home and had been living rough for a period of time.
He now had a child due in three weeks time and his partner was a positive influence on his life and was standing by him.
See full story in the Leader