A MERCHANT City massage parlour will be allowed to continue trading – despite operating ILLEGALLY for six months.

Owner Thomas McAslan opened Jasmine Thai Massage in January despite not having a public entertainment licence.

Home Office and HMRC officials ordered the closure of the Brunswick Street business after a police raid on June 22.

But a week later cops returned to find staff still working after Mr McAslan claimed he was not informed of the need to close.

Representing the businessman in front of Glasgow’s licensing chiefs, Niall Hassard from TLT Solicitors, insisted his client had made a genuine error, and meant no “deceit or ill manner” during what had been a very confusing and concerning process”.

He said: “We have to recognise that we’re all fallible as humans. People make genuine mistakes and misunderstand what’s required of them.“Mr McAslan wasn’t present during the first visit. When he arrived, the police had left. When the police returned on the June 27, Mr McAslan confirmed that it was not his understanding that he was on notice.“(The first visit) was a multi-agency visit from police, immigration, home office officials and HMRC. It was very confusing for the staff involved.

“There was a lot of information being checked and a lot of documentation being displayed, and questions being asked.

“There was a lot of concern with regards to the number of officers who were present.”

It was revealed that four massage therapists had been working at the parlour alongside a cleaner and a receptionist.

Mr Hassard said Mr McAslan had been “kicking himself” for failing to get his business appropriately licensed before opening.

He added: “Far from being some sort of backstreet fly-by-night operation the business is instead a bona-fide high-quality therapeutic Thai massage facility.”

But licensing chiefs took a dim view of the businessman’s failings.

John Kane said: “If you’re asking for a licence and you’re telling us that after a police visit no-one understood what the outcome should have been. That’s a concern.

“The fact that the police came back a week later and the business is still trading is also a concern.”

Committee chairman Alex Wilson added: “You didn’t look up what you needed for that business and that is a licence. If I submit an application for a driving licence it doesn’t mean I’m able to drive.

“You say there was a lot of confusion on June because it was a multi-agency approach.

“I think the fact that we’ve had two incidents where you could have stopped trading, that should have been a warning right away. It should have been a wake-up call to say, ‘I’m not going to trade in case I’ve not got a licence’.”

The committee agreed to grant Mr McAslan a restricted public entertainment licence for one year.