ENFORCEMENT action is being taken to shut down an unlicensed sex shop in Burnley.

And another sex shop in the town will come under the scrutiny of councillors tonight, when they will have to decide whether to grant it a licence to continue operating.

Both shops are within yards of each other in Colne Road and have been the target of residents' protests and a near 500-name petition calling for their closure.

Tonight's meeting of Burnley Council's licensing sub-committee will hear that enforcement action is under way to shut down the shop at 122 Colne Road after the manager failed to respond to requests to apply for a licence.

Councillors decided last year to set an application fee of £1,500, of which £250 would be refunded if the licence was granted.

The report to councillors states that two inspections were made at the shop when officers decided it was being operated as a sex establishment. Members are being asked to note the action being taken.

Later in the meeting, councillors will be asked to decide in private session whether to grant a licence for 124c Colne Road, which has operated as a sex shop for more than 15 years.

An officer's report states the application has been made by Raymond Darker, provides background details, but offers no recommendation on whether the application should be approved or rejected.

At a recent meeting, councillors were told the premises at 124c, owned by Quiet Lynn Limited, were licensed in May, 1994, but since then the licence had lapsed.

Committee member Granville Lord said he considered it to be totally degrading to the community to have sex shops in the town. "It is disgusting to the people of Burnley. I don't feel there is any room for them in this town, there is always mail order e-mail or the Internet for anyone who wants it," he added.

Chairman Coun Philip Walsh said shops had been trading there for at least 10 years and people were unhappy about it.