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Friday, 7 July, 2000, 13:52 GMT 14:52 UK
'Shed porn' housewife jailed
Scales of justice
Thomas denied conspiracy to publish obscene articles
A housewife has been jailed after being found guilty of running the Welsh end of an international porn operation from her garden shed.

Sentencing Sharon Thomas, 41, to three months in prison, Judge Michael Burr told the defendant that she was not as naive as she pretended.

Sharon Thomas
Sharon Thomas: Jailed for three months
Thomas, from St Clear's, Carmarthenshire, helped run an international pornography mailing service, sending out an estimated 150,000 catalogues from her garden shed, a jury at Swansea Crown Court was told.

The court heard that an Amsterdam-based pornography supplier called Your Choice used Thomas' address to conceal the source of the material which was being sent.

Catalogues highlighting illegal porn CDs and videos were distributed to tens of thousands of customers over a five-year period, the court was told.

Obscene articles

Thomas told the court she believed that catalogues containing material entitled Sex Encounters of the Lurid Kind were legal in Britain.

She earlier denied conspiring to publish obscene articles but was convicted by a jury.

Judge Burr ordered that Thomas' computer and fax machine be confiscated.

During the trial proceedings, prosecutor Trefor Davies told Thomas that she had put personal gain before her conscience and was well aware of what she was doing.

The company always assured me that everything was above board

Sharon Thomas
But Thomas said the catalogues she sent out were no more obscene than a lot of top-shelf material.

"I do not think that an ordinary person would regard that as obscene," she told the court.

Thomas - who denied one charge of conspiring to publish obscene articles - said she agreed to help businessman David Waterfield run the British end of the operation in 1994.

The court heard that Mr Waterfield, also of St Clear's, had set up Your Choice in Holland with his wife.

Paid in cash

Thomas said that over the five years she worked in the operation she had earned no more than a total of 15,000.

But she admitted that most of the money was paid in cash and had never been declared.

Thomas also dismissed suggestions she had always been aware that catalogues containing words such as hard core might be illegal.

"I have questioned time and time again about words like hard core and the company always assured me that everything was above board."

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29 Jun 00 | Wales
Housewife's garden shed porn
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