STAFF at a Boscombe pub have backtracked after advertising for topless barmaids in a bid to eventually become a strip club.

The Portman Hotel licensee Claire Higginbotham first posted the advert on Thursday before removing it from the company’s Facebook page yesterday, following enquiries by the Daily Echo.

Bournemouth Echo:

A representative of Marston’s, the pub’s owner, said Ms Higginbotham confirmed the advert was “tongue-in-cheek” and had been misunderstood.

But landlady Ms Higginbotham confirmed she has “always wanted a strip club” and hoped to arrange a meeting with Bournemouth Borough Council to discuss the matter, the Echo can exclusively reveal.

She said she hoped to increase trade with a “one-off theme night” within a separate room, which punters would access through a side door, claiming to have had a couple of applicants.

“I just wanted to put feelers out,” she said.

“There is nothing like this in Boscombe, you have to go into Bournemouth.

“I am not advertising it as a strip club or anything like that. Just a themed night every now and then. It was a one off, we had permission from our landlords.

“But it is not something we are going to do, from the responses we got back.”

Ms Higginbotham, who has run the pub since November 2012, said she was interested in running a strip club after many years of working in the pub trade.

“I have always wanted a strip club,” she added.

“After I put up the advert someone sent me a link about Bournemouth council clamping down on this sort of thing and I had no idea about that. That is why I pulled the advert.

“I won’t be taking it any further.”

A Bournemouth council spokesperson said any such licensing queries should be raised with Dorset Police, although the police say it has nothing to do with them.

A Bournemouth representative for the Women’s Equality Party said: “I find it really rather amazing. We know there are topless bar staff across the sector, we know it goes on. But it sends a sad message that even nowadays, in 2016, we’re relying on sexual objectivity to engage with punters.”