Soho strip club is shut for three months after licensing breaches

Soho strip club is shut for three months after 10 men say they lost £250,000 when drinks were spiked – including one alleged victim who woke up next morning to find he had spent £98,000

  • Victims complained their drinks were spiked after visiting a Soho strip club
  • They claim they lost a total of £250,000 while visiting Vanity Bar and Nightclub
  • Westminster City Council has suspended the club’s licence for three months
  • Scotland Yard confirmed they are investigating three cases of theft and fraud 

A Soho strip club has been shut down for three months after allegations were made of at least 10 customers having £250,000 stolen from their accounts when their drinks were 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 finances had been raided.

One man even said he had £98,000 taken in a series of fraudulent transactions when his drink was spiked.

Many alleged victims 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.

Vanity Bar and Nightclub, pictured, has had its licence suspended for three months amid a Metropolitan Police probe into allegations that customers were fleeced of some £250,000

CCTV images showed one man touching a dancer intimately – which was against the club’s licensing agreements

Westminster City Council ruled a suspension of the venue’s license must continue after the Met Police submitted evidence of breaches of its conditions.

At a committee hearing held on Monday, the authority also put 23 conditions on the club’s license, including staff retraining.

Scotland Yard confirmed today that three of these cases are part of a criminal investigation into allegations of theft and robbery. So far no arrests have been made.

As part of the Met’s case, a raft of documents were put before councillors detailing the allegations.

This included one man who 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, the Westminster City Council meeting heard.

One 49-year-old man visited the venue last June 13, 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 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.’

Westminster City Council suspended the licence after the Met Police submitted evidence of breaches of its conditions to trade

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 when he went to the club after a Foals gig.

A further seven attempts to withdraw £500 from a cash machine in Edgware, north London, were also made, the man said.

The next day he met with his wife, but felt so ill and dizzy, he 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.

Some 10 men have claimed they have lost £250,000 during visits to the central London club

A total of 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 in these incidents.

At a Westminster City Council licensing committee meeting on December 15, an interim closure was ordered while a review was carried out. That closure has now been imposed for three months.

Documents submitted to the council to back up the Met Police’s bid to shut the club down 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 privates, according to the police report.

In a statement to the council the investigating officers said: ‘In the early hours of November 26, 2022 a male became a victim of drink spiking/theft. The male recalls entering Vanity and purchasing a drink.

‘The male has no recollection after this point. The victim came round the next day and was in a street near to his home address.

‘The victim has checked his bank and found approximately £3,000 payments were taken by Vanity over four transactions.

‘There were numerous other transactions made to different people/companies to the approximate value of £16,000.

‘The victim is of the belief that his drink was spiked/drugged in Vanity. The victim has no recollection whatsoever of being in Vanity and had not authorised these transactions.

‘The crime was reported to police on the afternoon of the 26th November 2022. From the policing systems it appears there have been 10 allegations this year of a similar nature totalling a potential £250,000.

‘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.

Lawyers acting for the club claimed the allegations arose when customers’ wives or girlfriends saw large transactions leaving their accounts and the men then tried to shift the blame for spending so much money on strippers on being spiked.

The venue has been contacted for comment.

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