A Winsford man has been jailed for two years and two months for inciting women - one just 16-years-old - to become prostitutes.
Between November 2012 and January last year, Robert Andrew Pettener, 28, of Brindley Avenue, advertised prostitutes on a website and sent messages on Facebook to random women asking them if they would like to become sex workers.
Mold Crown Court heard today (June 26) how one of the messages, which suggested that she work for £65 an hour with £200 up front, was sent to a horrified 16-year-old girl.
Pettener, whose heavily pregnant girlfriend is standing by him, earlier admitted six charges of inciting prostitution for financial gain, possessing cannabis with intent to supply, and supplying cannabis.
The court heard that he used his mobile phone to try and find girls who were already involved in the sex trade.
Analyses of the phone showed that 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.
Judge Philip Hughes said to Pettener: “You were effectively a pimp."
Prosecuting barrister Matthew Dunford told how an investigation was launched after police were alerted to the message sent to the 16-year-old girl.
At the time the defendant was working as a carer at the New Hall Independent Hospital in Wrexham.
When he was 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 that she owed.
He threatened to 'sell' her debt to others.
When interviewed, he said that he did not know the legalities of it.
Mark Davies, defending, said that 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.
Mr Davies said it was not a sophisticated operation, it operated for a short period and that Pettener claimed his financial gain was some £700.
Pettener denied that 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 his drugs to people he knew were already users.
Pettener claimed he had no intention of targeting young girls.
He looked at their Facebook profiles and 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.
The court heard that Pettener had a difficult childhood and had lost his job as a carer, his home and had lived rough for a period of time since his arrest.