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Police have concerns at Dover's the Castle Inn's topless dance plan

By This is Kent  |  Posted: January 27, 2011

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POLICE in Dover say they have "concerns" about an application for a temporary sexual entertainment licence at a local pub.

The licence requests permission to hold "a performance of dance by topless women" and have a private dance area, where Dover women will perform erotic naked dances for £10 a session, at The Castle Inn in Russell Street.

The application was served at Dover District Council offices in person on January 19.

The first event is scheduled for February 4, and officials have noted the pub has already ordered and erected a silver pole.

The police officer responsible for licensing, Steve Alexander, said: "Dover is seen as a bit of an innocent backwater compared to North Kent and Margate, and when my bosses saw this they went to 20,000 feet.

"They had never seen anything like it. New rules for sexual entertainment venues are not yet in place, and this is a temporary licence to pre-empt that.

"There are 21 guidelines with simple rules for establishments to follow, like preventing people looking in from the outside, but our main concerns are the prevention of crime and disorder.

"The Castle Inn has held a number of drum and bass events in recent months and they have gone off without incident, so as long as there are door staff our grounds to make objections are limited.

"We have concerns as to how the private dances are to be monitored, so we will be looking at this closely."

Dover District Council licensing boss Tony Bartlett said: "This is a temporary licence application for sexual entertainment. It has come to our attention there is a silver pole in the public bar at The Castle Inn, which currently does not have a licence for the performance of dance.

"Without a licence, if a woman were to put on a performance, and were so much as to expose even part of a breast, the landlord would be liable for a £20,000 fine or six months in jail. If this temporary licence is granted lewd acts are still prohibited.

"I don't think I need to explain what a lewd act is but in the private area there would really need to be a doorman or CCTV to ensure nothing lewd occurs."

Landlord Paul McMullan said: "We put up a pole to see where it might go and it got stuck – no one is dancing round it and won't be doing so until we have a licence.

"I have spoken to three officers at the council and one police officer, they are really getting themselves in a spin. One of the licensing officers even told me the women would be allowed to go naked if they didn't move. We haven't had those kind of restrictions since the 1950s.

"The girls want to make a bit of extra cash by taking off their pants for a tenner and who can blame them? But this is a real sticky point for the council, so we are looking at semi see-through netting."

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