Mansfield bar owners react to 'truly worrying' increase in spiking allegations

Licensed venues in the Mansfield area have launched a raft of measures to help keep customers safer amid rising reports of suspected spikings.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 11:50 am
Updated Thursday, 4th November 2021, 1:10 pm

Reports suggest women have had their drinks spiked in Mansfield, with revellers such as Lizzy Hallam, who was hospitalised on Sunday, experiencing extreme symptoms of intoxication.

Now, members of the Mansfield Association of Late Night Venues have agreed a number of measures to help limit the opportunity for spiking in the town, including a new policy of confiscating drinks left unattended.

Jono Edwards, who owns a number of venues in the town centre, such as Andwhynot, Cheeky Monkey and Canvas nightclub, announced the measures, saying the allegations are ‘truly worrying’.

Andwhynot Bar & Restaurant on Leeming Street.

Jono said: “We have held a MALV meeting and this matter has been discussed by us all at great length – with Mansfield Council’s licensing department and Nottinghamshire Police in attendance too.

“The amount of allegations being brought forward is truly worrying.

“MALV will continue and also introduce extra measures, to ensure all town centre venues are doing the best they can to ensure people have a safe night when visiting Mansfield.

“These measures include such as, from this weekend, all unattended drinks will be removed and disposed of by venue staff.

Lizzy was on a night out on Sunday when she became suddenly unwell and ended up being admitted to King's Mill Hospital

“We hope this policy will raise awareness and also encourage people to take responsibility for drinks in their possession when going to the toilet, dancing, smoking etc.

“This alone will make the job for any potential offender more difficult.

“All town centre venues will soon be issued with spiking testing kits – these allow venues to test people’s drinks ‘there and then’ for foreign substances.

“Therefore, if customers genuinely think their drink has been tampered with, we’ll be able to test it for you while you wait.

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police

“All venues will also be offering ‘bottle stops’ upon request, which can make spiking a bottled drink far more difficult.

“Awareness posters will also be issued to all venues that heighten awareness of spiking and the consequences of it.

“Door staff will also heighten searches upon entry to venues – anyone refusing a search will be refused admission.

“We always have strongly advised any person who believes they have been spiked in a venue to contact staff or doorstaff immediately, that way we can ensure customers are taken to a ‘safe space’ and on-site first-aiders can assess them.

Jono Edwards and other licensees have agreed a number of new measures to help keep customers safe.

"Following this, we will always ensure safe transportation to hospital and any drinks showing positive for drugs will be secured for evidence purposes.

"If a customer declines to go to hospital, then we will not allow that customer to leave the premises with anyone not a proven friend or family member.

“As always, in any established case of spiking, we will contact the police and provide them with any evidence gathered, including CCTV, and fully cooperate with any investigation at all times.”

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‘Horrific crimes’

One of the key things which Jono and the other licensees want to impress on their patrons, is the need to seek medical advice and report the incident to the police as soon as possible.

He said: “We believe its crucially important any person that believes they have been spiked must visit A&E as soon as possible – as most drugs used for these types of horrific crimes leave the body after a few hours – so timing is crucial.

“This way, further tests can be carried out at the hospital and hopefully evidence gained – which therefore could result in prosecution.

“We have to acknowledge there are evil people that will and would spike drinks for ulterior motives – and those motives are disgusting and chilling, these could include sexual assault and rape.

“If we, as town centre venues can prevent such occurrences, then that only can be a positive outcome for all.”

Nottinghamshire Police have set up a dedicated team to deal with spiking incidents and pledged to increase town centre street patrols during peak night-time periods.

Superintendent Kathryn Craner said: “If you believe you have been spiked, suspect anyone else has, or see any suspicious activity our message remains the same and we want to encourage everyone to come forward immediately.

“Not only do we have a team dedicated to the investigation of these reports, but members of the public can also expect to see many more officers patrolling streets during the night-time economy so people can continue to enjoy a safe night out in Nottinghamshire.”

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