A trainee reporter just three months into the job went undercover to expose a sex party held at a local hotel.
Matt Cannon from the Brentwood Gazette carried out an undercover investigation into a party held by a female sex worker at Brentwood’s Holiday Inn, after it was one of two session openly advertised on Twitter.
And he managed to capture images of the group-sex party on his mobile phone, most of which were too graphic to use, after the secret camera he had planned to use stopped working.
The paper splashed on the story last week after seven men handed over £40 cash for a one-hour romp and it has passed on information to police and the hotel.It also reported how graphic images from the sex party were posted on an unlocked Twitter account later that night.
Gazette editor Nev Wilson, who is also senior editor of the Essex Chronicle Media Group, said: “Full credit to Matt for this expose, there were incredible guts shown by covertly using his phone to film and take pictures after his own secret camera failed to function.
“Despite the complications, enough footage and pictures (obviously not for print) were gathered, along with the images that the Twitter account later posted, to convince me we had enough to publish. And the hotel and police thanked us for the information we provided them with prior to publication.
“The story has, inevitably, already gained a lot of attention online and I’ll watch the newspaper sales figures with interest to see if sex really does sell in this instance. Who said local news was boring!?”
While the Gazette did not use the classic line “our reporter made his excuses and left”, it did point out that Matt played no part in the proceedings, nor handed over any cash.
Matt, who only joined the weekly paper in April, said: “It was a little bit dicey there for a moment when the camera packed-up but I wasn’t about to miss the chance to capture some of the action.
“There were a few nerves as I didn’t know quite what to expect inside the room. I can safely say I’ve never seen anything like it. It was all very awkward.
“In my opinion it was definitely a party to join late and leave early.”