Ben Gregory was on a night out in Clapham, south London, when the incident happened. He said he has no memory of what happened, but the following morning he woke up without his phone and wallet
A 26-year-old man had £18,000 stolen from his credit cards and bank accounts after his drink was allegedly spiked at a nightclub in south London.
Ben Gregory was on a night out with some friends in summer when the incident happened.
He said they went for a meal at a restaurant before heading to a nightclub in Clapham, where he believes someone spiked his drink.
He does not remember many details of the night, but said that the following morning he woke up late and felt “pretty dizzy, dazed”.
Since he had no phone or wallet with him, Ben immediately became alarmed.
He also found some messages on his work phone from his brother who asked him if everything was okay because he had noticed an overdraft had been opened on their joint account.
Ben said he believes criminals targeted him with the intention of stealing from him.
He explained that in the space of just a few hours, dozens of transactions, transfers and withdrawals were made using his accounts.
The suspects also created two £2,500 overdrafts and transferred money from his savings accounts to his current accounts before withdrawing it, the BBC reports.
Ben said over £18,000 was stolen from his American Express and Revolut cards and from HSBC and Monzo accounts, which he said made him feel “terrible, absolutely terrible”.
Ben said: “Over the next few days I couldn’t stop thinking about it, couldn’t sleep, found it very hard to eat. Because ultimately I felt worried and vulnerable.”
The victim said American Express and Monzo refunded the money that was stolen within days of the incident.
However, HSBC and Revolut initially refused to refund the money, before reversing that decision once the BBC’s Money Box started looking into the case.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed detectives are investigating a possible linked series of fraud offences targeting male clubbers in Clapham.
The police force said although there is no evidence of drink spiking at this stage of the investigation, that is a line of enquiry.
A spokesperson for the Met told The Mirror: “A number of cases have been reported of men leaving club venues in the early hours of the morning and taking an unlicensed mini cab home.
“They later find that their bank cards have been taken and in some cases, their mobile phone or sim card has also been stolen.
“Some of the victims have stated that they have little or no memory of their journey home, or of their property being stolen, some have a vague memory of stopping during the journey to withdraw money from a cash machine.
“There is no evidence to support drinks having been ‘spiked’ although this is a line of enquiry.”
The spokesperson added: “At this stage the potential linked series is comprised of 16 reports.
“A 36-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of fraud on Thursday, 23 September. He was released under investigation.
“A 38-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday, 17 November on suspicion of fraud and taxi touting. He was taken to a south London police station and was subsequently bailed to return on a date in mid-December.
“The investigation continues.”
Detective Corinne Powers of Central South Command said: “The investigation highlights the need for party-goers during this festive season to keep an eye on their drinks and be aware of their alcohol intake. If you are drinking please remember to plan a safe journey home before the evening’s festivities get underway.
“If you find yourself in a position where you need to take a taxi but haven’t booked one, please make arrangements through a recognised booking service or app.
“Vehicles posing as mini cabs are illegal, unregulated and uninsured for the purposes of carrying passengers. To get into one is risky; to get into one when you have been drinking and are vulnerable could place you in danger.
“We want everyone to enjoy this year’s party season without the distress and inconvenience of becoming a victim of crime. Please help us to keep you and your property safe.”
A Revolut spokesperson said in a statement: “This was a very unusual case where the payments were authorised by the customer but, as is now clear, without his consent.
“We very much regret the distress and inconvenience to Mr Gregory and we have reimbursed his losses.”
The Mirror has contacted HSBC for comment.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.