A 39-year-old married man with four children has been found guilty of soliciting a prostitute and fined after a court didn’t buy his excuse that a known sex worker was in his vehicle in West Midlands, Great Britain, to help him buy tomatoes.
West Midlands Police said officers found the woman sitting inside Muhammad Ikhlaq's car while he withdrew money from a cash machine on May 9.
Ikhlaq, of New Street, Dudley, said the cash was to pay for tomatoes to bring to a colleague at work the next day. He also claimed he asked the woman for directions to the nearest grocers and she offered to show him the way.
Two plain-clothed police officers had followed the pair in an unmarked car. They had been working on Operation Scarlet & Minus, a crackdown on kerb crawlers in the town’s worst-affected areas.
The officers stopped Ikhlaq at a traffic light and arrested him immediately, before taking him to a police station for questioning.
Ikhlaq, who is a prison security guard, denied that he was soliciting for the purpose of obtaining sexual services in a public place.
“I asked her because I thought she looked local and I was in a hurry,” Ikhlaq said. “She said she was going that way.”
Magistrates said Iklaq’s story was not credible and ordered him to pay a fine, costs and a victim surcharge.
After the hearing, PC Stacey Paterson said: “I’ve heard some excuses before but in the 10 years that I have been a police officer I have never heard a kerb crawler covering up his crimes by claiming to be buying tomatoes.”