'Terrifying': LBC joins spiking victims on London night out as reports surge

1 November 2021, 12:14

By Charlotte Lynch

LBC has joined victims of spiking on a night out in central London, who were left feeling "scared" for the safety of women.

Reporter Charlotte Lynch and spiking victim Rose Stokes visited clubs and bars in a packed Soho on one of the busiest nights of the year - Halloween.

Rose said it felt like "business as usual" and wondered "how many people is it going to happen to tonight?" - despite a surge in reports of drink spiking, and a terrifying new trend of women being injected on nights out.

One bouncer told LBC's reporter Charlotte Lynch they had been asking men to open their coats to search them, and drink covers were available at the bar.

But when victim Rose asked for a cover for her drink, the bartender was confused, and threw a napkin at her.

In the toilet, one woman told Charlotte and Rose that she'd been spiked "a few times".

She said: "I'm out with four boys, so I feel safe, but none of the boys got searched. No one's checking anywhere - and we've been in quite a few bars. It's terrifying."

When Rose asked whether she'd seen any police, she replied "no."

Read more: 164 drink and injection spiking incidents across UK in two months

Read more: Student shares harrowing experience of being 'spiked' with injection

Comedian Bella Hull was performing nearby, and told Charlotte she had been spiked.

Shockingly - she claims it was "normal" at her university.

She said: "I was spiked for a laugh. It was similar to pranking someone - people would spike their friends, people would spike themselves. It was a done thing."

Bella, who is 23, said "there probably are" groups of people who believe that spiking is just normal and "a laugh".

One man told Charlotte and Rose that he believed women were lying about being spiked.

He said: "Drugs are too expensive to spike someone."

When Rose asked what he'd say to her, as a victim of spiking, he replied "lucky you, you just saved £20".

Rose was left feeling "scared" for women.

She said "Even some of the bouncers we spoke to aren't taking it very seriously. Something needs to change and I feel really scared for all of the women out in Soho tonight.

"It feels like they aren't being properly looked after, and I dread to think how many of them will wake up tomorrow and not remember what's happened."

Read more: Police to review scale of drink spiking amid reports of women being injected at nightclubs

Nearly 200 drink spiking incidents have been reported to police forces across the UK over the past two months. The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said there were 198 confirmed reports of drink spiking in September and October, and 56 confirmed reports of spiking involving an injection.

The majority of cases featured young women, with alleged offences having taken place at licensed premises and private parties.

The NPCC said: "Police forces are investigating incidents and continue to work with pubs and clubs to increase searches and guidance to staff. 

"We will continue to analyse the reports and work with police forces, plus other law enforcement partners including the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs), as investigations develop to build a problem profile and determine any further action by police or venues.

"We would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim or witness to spiking, in any form, to contact their local police force.

"Any reports of spiking will be investigated and taken seriously. You should try and report it to police as quickly as possible to help officers carry out tests and gather the best evidence."

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), said venues were well regulated, but his organisation was working with the government to introduce schemes to help tackle the problem.