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07th Jan 2023

Man wakes up to find £98k missing from his bank account after ‘drink spiked in London strip club’

Steve Hopkins

A man’s phone records revealed he had been at a car wash for over two hours before being left in a street

A Soho strip club faces closure amid allegations at least 10 customers had a total of £250,000 stolen from their accounts – including one man who said he had £98,000 taken when his drink was spiked.

A string of punters at the Vanity Bar and Nightclub in London’s West End claimed they blacked out and woke to find their accounts had been pillaged.

Many claimed they had no memory of what happened after paying for private dances at the strip club, then discovered transactions for hundreds, and in some cases thousands of pounds, were made to their bank accounts.

The latest victim visited the club on November 26 last year and said he woke up in the street near his home with no recollection of how he got there.

His only memory of the evening was visiting the club and buying a drink, but did not remember anything until 8am the next morning, he said in a witness statement.

When he woke, he checked his bank account and discovered money had been sent to a series of unknown accounts with a total of more than £19,000 missing, it was claimed.

He said he found around £3,000 payments taken by Vanity over four transactions, plus a string of other payments to different people or companies of some £16,000, including one of £2,260 to a cafe, a council hearing was told.

The man did not even remember being in the club and had to use Google maps to retrace his steps.

His phone revealed he had been at a car wash for over two hours before being left in a street near his home, a Westminster City Council meeting heard.

One 49-year-old man visited the venue on 13 June, 2021 after going to the Queens Club tennis event, but after having a private dance, began to have a “hazy” memory, he said.

He then claimed only remembering sitting in an unknown car before being driven to a brothel near Hyde Park.

The man claimed he awoke alone in a room and that he had two needle marks on his hand.

In a witness statement given to police and submitted to Westminster City Council, he said: “After the dance my memory goes hazy and there are parts I have no memory of at all.

“We decided to leave, however I do not know what time this was. I found myself inside the back of a car with the driver telling me he is taking me to see girls.”

After waking up the man added: “I immediately gathered my things and left. I checked my bank account and found a total of £98,000 taken in various transactions to various locations. I found two needle marks on my hand and believe as a result I was drugged.

“I am certain this occurred in Vanity and believe this was done by someone working at the premises.

“I paid for dancers and I was the one that was drugged and then robbed. It is quite clear I was targeted as I was the one that had money and I paid for the dancers.”

Since the incident, he said he suffers anxiety and even considered suicide.

Another victim found £37,500 had been taken from his account, with two further victims having £30,000 taken from multiple accounts.

One 42-year-old window fitter claimed to have £960 taken along with another £480 from a joint account, and a further seven attempts to withdraw £500 from a cash machine in Edgware, north London.

The next day he met with his wife, but collapsed outside a shop and was sick near Liverpool Street station.

He then went to hospital and following tests, said cannabis was found in his system, despite not taking drugs before.

Around £250,000 was stolen from the 10 alleged victims over the course of last year, it was alleged.

The club could now be shut down after police called for its license to be suspended pending an investigation into the incidents.

At a Westminster City Council licensing committee meeting on December 15, an interim closure was ordered while a review was carried out.?own included CCTV of the dancers and customers touching and even one pair kissing – which is a breach of the club’s licensing conditions.

Dancers were pictured appearing to straddle a customer, while others groped the naked dancers.

One was even seen touching a woman’s vagina, according to the police report.

In a statement to the council the investigating officers said: “In the opinion of a senior police officer the premises are associated with serious crime or serious disorder or both.

“In order to promote the licensing objective of prevention of crime and disorder the Metropolitan Police Service are seeking revocation of the premises licence.”

Vanity club denied the allegations and submitted six statements from members of the public refuting being involved in spiking or theft. The venue has been contacted for comment.

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