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Bristol club T3 Temptations is fined after its lap dancers go too far

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Written by:   | Posted 22-August-2013 12:13

Bristol club T3 Temptations is fined after its lap dancers go too far

Lap dancers at a Bristol club have been giving customers more than they are allowed by law.

One performer has been suspended and two have been reprimanded by bosses at T3 Temptations in Old Market for kissing and other inappropriate physical contact.

Yesterday, magistrates ordered the company to pay more than £16,500 in fines and costs for five licensing breaches.

Temptations’ manager Valerie Hoare was also ordered to pay £1,550 for two breaches, including the legal costs of the prosecution brought by the city council.

The punishments came on the same day that it emerged an online petition had been launched calling for Mayor George Ferguson to close all strip and lap-dancing clubs in Bristol.

Bristol Magistrates Court heard how CCTV from Temptations examined after an unannounced visit from licensing officers in January showed three dancers getting closer than they should have in the "private booths" area of the West Street venue.

Its Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) licence states that customers and performers are not allowed to touch each other during a performance.

Prosecuting, Sally Andrews said: "The footage from all three cameras showed extensive and repeated contact between customers and performers."

The court heard this included one stripper holding a customer’s face and giving him a kiss while he had his hands on her buttocks.

Other footage showed a dancer sitting on a customer’s lap, while in another booth a performer touched a man’s leg with hers.

The court heard that the management at Temptations has a strict policy on "dirty dancing", which can include fines of up to

£150, suspension, or in the worst cases, sacking.

T3 Temptations Ltd was fined a total of

£11,500 for five breaches, plus £4,905 legal costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

Passing sentence, presiding magistrate Albert Rogers said the regulations for SEV licences were put in place for the safety of performers and customers and that the bench took any breaches "very seriously".

The largest fine was for not showing due diligence in ensuring the licensing conditions.

Mr Rogers added: "The larger sum reflects our particular concerns about the club’s failure to prevent contact between the girls and the customers."

Mitigating, Tony Daniel said neither the company nor its manager had any previous licensing convictions, has redressed all the breaches discovered and passed a subsequent inspection.

Of the contact between dancers and customers, he said: "It’s got to be reminded that these performers are skilled. Some are more skilled than others. By their very nature they are endeavouring to tease and titillate the customer.

"Some who are not quite so skilled can, in situations, over-balance and get too close."

Referring to the specific footage from the booths, he added: "The incidents are momentary – they are not lasting. It’s not a case of a customer catching hold of a performer in any sexual way for any period of time."

Mr Daniel said often customers would get overly "friendly" and a performer would have to push them away. He conceded that on the night in question, security staff should have monitored the CCTV and intervened, but Temptations was short-staffed at the time and has since recruited.

The company admitted failing to show due diligence in making sure its SEV licence was complied with; allowing licensable activities to take place when an emergency light to the exit was not working; failing to exhibit its licence on the premises; not fitting an automatic closing device to external entrance doors and allowing performers and the audience to share a smoking area.

Hoare, 36, of Woodborough Street, Easton, admitted breaches relating to the faulty light and smoking area.

When she was interviewed by licensing officers, citing safety concerns, she said: "I don’t feel there’s anywhere else appropriate for the dancers to have a cigarette."

That issue has since been addressed, the court heard. The court also heard that due to personal issues, Hoare had not been in work as often as she would normally have been, around the time of the failed inspection.

Read also: Petition calls on Bristol mayor to close all strip clubs in city

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