An Irish civil servant who was exposed by journalists for running a gay escort service has avoided jail.

Eugene Leech, 48, given a six-month suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after pleading guilty to controlling or directing the activities of prostitutes for gain on dates between May and July in 2005.

His activities had been exposed by journalists from RTE’s ‘Primetime’ show, who contacted him through networking site Gaydar.

Leech, of Donaghmede, acted as a ‘go-between’ for male prostitutes and took a cut of the fees charged by the men.

He escaped jail after Judge Patrick McCartan noted he had made little money from the scheme and did not fit the role of a typical pimp.

Judge McCartan added there had been no coercion or bullying involved.

The journalists had been looking for evidence of underage activity but all the men involved were over 17 years of age.

Leech lost his job after telling his employers footage of him was to be shown on Primetime.