How a Stowmarket nightclub aims to keep customers safe from spiking

Charlie Garnish and Luke Rockliffe with the new drink toppers that have been introduced at the Mill Bar and Grill

Charlie Garnish and Luke Rockliffe with the new drink toppers that have been introduced at the Mill Bar and Grill and Carbon nightclub in Stowmarket - Credit: Charlie Garnish

The manager at the Mill Bar and Grill and Carbon nightclub in Stowmarket has spoken about the measures they have put in place to keep customers safe from drink and 'needle spiking'. 

Over the weekend Charlie Garnish, 29, and his team at the club and restaurant at the Maltings complex, made free foil drink toppers available at all bars - this follows the introduction of searches for anyone entering the venue after 9pm. 

Charlie Garnish manager at the Maltings in Stowmarket

Charlie Garnish manager at the Maltings in Stowmarket said customers at the venue have been asking for drink toppers and have been welcoming of measures that keep them safe from spiking - Credit: Charlie Garnish

The measures, which have widely been supported by customers, have been put in place following worrying incidents of spiking in clubs, bars and pubs in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich. 

Suffolk Police said there were 33 cases of spiking reported in November - they confirmed 17 were through 'needle spiking', 15 through drink tampering and one by an unknown method. 

Drink toppers at Carbon in Stowmarket

The foil drink toppers at Carbon and the Mill Bar and Grill can be used with straws - customers can request them for free from any bar - Credit: Charlie Garnish

Speaking about the drink toppers Mr Garnish said: "As soon as the toppers arrived we put them into action, we were telling our customers about them and people were coming to to the bar asking for them."

The toppers are designed for 'open drinks' like a gin and tonic, they work by completely covering the top of the drink so you know it is going to be safe. 

Currently the drink toppers can be used once with a straw. Mr Garnish said customer safety is the key priority - however he hopes the product will be developed so in the future they can be reusable. 

To date neither Carbon or the Mill Bar and Grill hasn't had any reports of spiking, however the team at the venue have been trained in how to spot spiking and how to administer first aid to anyone that might have been affected. 

Mr Garnish said: "The police have been fantastic with the whole thing, they sent us a crib sheet outlining what to look for in spiking.

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"Particularly they covered the forensic measures we would have to take if there was a spiking case in our venue.

"We have looked at different options for keeping people safe and that is when we came across the drink toppers."

The Mill Bar and Grill in Stowmarket

All customers entering The Mill Bar and Grill and Carbon nightclub in Stowmarket are now searched after 9pm - Credit: Archant

Mr Garnish believes that since reports of spiking customers are favouring "going out" in smaller towns like Stowmarket where they feel safer. 

He said: "People don't tend to mind being searched, it is actually quite heartwarming to hear they feel confident we are on the case."

Charlie Garnish and Luke Rockliffe with the new drink toppers that were introduced at the Maltings venue in Stowmarket

Charlie Garnish and Luke Rockliffe with the new drink toppers that were introduced at the Maltings venue in Stowmarket at the weekend in response to spiking fears - Credit: Charlie Garnish


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