CUSTOMERS trying to visit the website of The Fighting Cocks pub are getting more than they bargained for as the link is being used to advertise sex services.

John Bell, who manages the pub at Middleton St George, near Darlington, said he is receiving about ten phone calls a day from bewildered customers who follow an online link to the hostelry, only to find themselves at a site offering services including casual sex and adult affair dating.

Mr Bell is managing to see the lighter side of the situation and joked: “If I was selling that kind of thing I’d be loaded!

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“We only found out about it when customers started coming in and telling us. You’ve got to see the funny side, but it can be quite embarrassing if people bring it up in a restaurant full of people.”

Mr Bell’s enquiries have led him to the owner of the website domain name, based in Hampshire, who believes that the sex services website was created in the Canary Islands.

The Fighting Cocks did not previously have its own website so the domain name was available for anybody to buy.

But the trouble is that all the contact details for the pub appear under the link so anybody opening it would have no reason to suspect that it will lead them to a sex site.

Mr Bell has sought advice from a computer expert and is working with his contact in Hampshire to try and buy back the domain name and use it as the home for a genuine website for the pub.

He said: “It is a bit of a strange one, we don’t really know where to go next. We can’t do anything with the authorities until someone makes an official complaint and we’re not at that stage.

“It is funny on one hand, but then we’ve had a customer who works for Orange and when he logged onto the site at work he got dragged into the office because of its content.

“It’s getting people into trouble!”