Norwich venues at forefront of national fight against spiking

Cans N Cocktails and Voodoo Daddy's Showroom are paving the way to stamp out spiking across Norwich and the rest of the UK

Cans N Cocktails and Voodoo Daddy's Showroom are paving the way to stamp out spiking across Norwich, as well as the rest of the UK - Credit: Archant

Two Norwich venues are the first in the country to undertake cutting-edge training, putting them at the front of the war against spiking.

Cans N Cocktails, in Prince of Wales Road, and Timberhill's Voodoo Daddy's Showroom are two of the first three to be Drink Spiking Aware (DSA) accredited by Stamp Out Spiking.

The training will minimise the likelihood of drink spiking happening and help victims of the crime.

Owner of Cans N Cocktails Andre Smith shared how important it is to pave the way for other venues across Norwich - and the rest of the country - to curb the spiking epidemic: "We're at the forefront of protecting people from spiking, so people come to us because they feel safe in our venue.

Cans 'N' Cocktails opens on Prince of Wales Road when Andre Smith will be mixing the cocktails Byli

Andre Smith of Cans N Cocktails - one of two Norwich bars at the forefront of the national fight against spiking - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"It's nice to do something because we believe it's the right thing to do."

Lorna Street, from Norwich, was spiked when she was 18. 

Since the attack she has become an ambassador for Stamp Out Spiking. 

"People are now going to be aware that specific venues have had training, so people that go out can understand that this place can make you feel a little bit safer. It gives a piece of mind," she said.

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"My end goal is that every single place has to do this course, because everyone should be educated. Anyone that is on board with taking part is important in protecting people."

Lorna Street at the Stamp Out Spiking event at Voodoo Daddy's Showroom in Timberhill, Norwich on January 13

Lorna Street at the Stamp Out Spiking event at Voodoo Daddy's Showroom in Timberhill, Norwich on January 13 - Credit: Oliver Hosier

Lorna wants venues to get on board and register their interest in anti-spiking training.

"I really hope that this is like a domino effect, and that people can see that this is starting off here," she said. "Norwich isn't the biggest city, but it's a way to start the conversation. If people can see that we're taking this action, maybe they'll follow suit.

"If we keep banging the drum and talking about it, and clubs make it known that this behaviour is not welcome, then people that unfortunately going out for that reason really think twice about it.

"They know what will come of it and that it's not tolerated in any way. Hopefully it'll steer people away from even contemplating it."

Stamp Out Spiking's CEO and founder Dawn Dines said: "Cans N Cocktails were on the button before this was on the national agenda. They're proactive in their fight against drink spiking.

"Andre and Cans N Cocktails are the forward-thinkers of Norwich. They're not just doing it as a reaction like everyone else - they're ahead of the curve.

"They've woken up and smelt the coffee. This is why we're so excited.

"Lorna took it upon herself to put on a charity event to contribute to our mission. Cans N Cocktails - alongside Voodoo Daddy's Showroom, because they hosted the event - helped us get that ball rolling."

Staff at both venues now bear all the training required and are awaiting their formal certification to come through.

"Its' been a year in the making and 17 years of my campaigning to get here. We're absolutely elated," Dawn added.

"This just shows the power that women can have, they don't have to be in high up places. All the work that's been done behind the scenes has changed the law, 17 years of hard work is what has done it. I'll be doing a happy dance, it's a monumental moment.

"This information is now cascading throughout communities with Cans N Cocktails leading the way. They're the most forward-thinking bar in Norwich."

Ben Street, live venue manager at Voodoo Daddy's added: "I think it's just about putting in every measure that you can, being a beacon for bars nationally and locally.

Ben Street is more than happy to facilitate the gig in the central Norwich venue

Ben Street is more than happy to facilitate the gig in the central Norwich venue - Credit: Ben Street

"We need to stamp this out straight away, whether it be spiking or something else more nefarious. I hope that the way we've addressed this situation sets a standard for other venues to follow."