Airport-style security coming to seafront club amid spiking fears

The owner of the Empire Lounge in Great Yarmouth says he needs some financial support if he is to su

The owner of the Empire Lounge in Great Yarmouth says he needs some financial support if he is to survive the pandemic and says it is unfair his business had fallen through the Covid cracks meaning he has missed out on help Picture: Empire Lounge - Credit: Archant

A nightclub owner has stepped up security and employed extra door staff in a bid to prevent drinks being spiked.

Mario George of The Empire Lounge on Great Yarmouth's seafront also says anyone who fears they have been a victim of spiking will be immediately sent to hospital and the police called.

Mr George said  he was taking the issue "extremely seriously" after police revealed they were investigating a report of drink spiking "in the King Street area" which he tagged as "absolutely disgraceful."

In other parts of the country there have been reports of people being injected with needles, although the Yarmouth incident is understood to involve a contaminated drink.

Mr George said he had been working closely with the licensing authority and the police to make his venue as safe as possible,  going over and above what was required as extra protection.

At Saturday's Halloween party he is laying on extra door staff with clubbers passing through two sets of checks, including pat-down searches for some and random bag checks.

"We want people to feel safe when they come in and have to take every report seriously," he said.

"It will be like Heathrow Airport."

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He said in case of a suspected spiking a clear procedure had been put in place to treat the victim and catch the offender, which had been drawn up alongside police officers.

He stressed there had been no spiking incidents at the club and that all measures were precautionary.

A  programme of refurbishment was currently under way ahead of the busy festive season, he said, adding that the increased security would stay in place to protect customers.

Gail Smith in Mixsmiths

Gail Smith at Luck, Lust, Liquor and Grinds in King Street is giving out free stop tops in a bid to prevent drinks being spiked. - Credit: James Weeds

Meanwhile, at Luck, Lust, Liquor and Grinds in King Street free stop tops are being given out to help reassure customers.

The bar said it was also increasing its search policy on the door and that its staff had received additional training.

A post said: "We will do all we can to keep our customers safe. Always safety first."

Police say detectives are investigating after five people were spiked across three Norwich venues on Friday and Saturday, October 22 and 23.

A further person reported being spiked at a King Street venue in the early hours of Sunday.

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