Brothel keeper Sydney Walsh was jailed for nine months today for running prostitutes from "A Different Sauna" in Watford town centre.

Walsh, 55, lived upstairs in the Market Street property while eight Eastern European women sold sex, at different times, downstairs in number 93.

When police raided the brothel in March last year they found a large number of condoms and double beds.

One of the prostitutes said Walsh was "kind" to the girls. She said she would pay him half of the money from a massage, while she would keep all the money from the sexual services she provided.

Prosecutor Aneurin Brewer told St Albans crown court that two rooms were in use at any one time at the house.

Walsh's 91-year-old mother holds the lease on the building and lives there with her son. A police officer who visited the house last month found a prostitute was still working there.

A jury convicted Walsh of assisting in the management of a brothel. He had no convictions for brothel keeping, but had 17 previous convictions for 33 offences. These included theft and the possession and supply of drugs.

Andrew Campbell, defending, said the prostitutes working at the premises had not been trafficked. He said Walsh, a painter and decorator, now had nothing to do with what was now going on downstairs.

He said there was no evidence that Walsh was living an extravagant lifestyle, and that he did not receive extra payments for the sexual services provided.

Jailing him, Judge Andrew Bright QC said: "This was no massage parlour in the true sense. The girls were offering sex for money. 

"The good people of Watford need to know when people are convicted of running a brothel action is taken. 

"The message has to go out that running a brothel in the centre of Watford is a serious criminal offence and those involved can expect an immediate custodial sentence."

From the dock, Walsh pleaded with the judge: "I realise I have done something wrong. My mother is 91. She needs me very much."

The judge replied: "I have passed an immediate sentence and that is what you will serve."