So When Can We Expect the Raid on Prince Harry's Favourite Club, Sir Ian? AS THE NEW MET COMMISSIONER PLEDGES A CRACKDOWN ON MIDDLE CLASS-DRUG TAKING, WE UNCOVER THE SCALE OF THE PROBLEM

The Evening Standard (London, England), February 4, 2005 | Go to article overview

So When Can We Expect the Raid on Prince Harry's Favourite Club, Sir Ian? AS THE NEW MET COMMISSIONER PLEDGES A CRACKDOWN ON MIDDLE CLASS-DRUG TAKING, WE UNCOVER THE SCALE OF THE PROBLEM


Byline: FLORA STUBBS;MATTEUS SANCHEZ;MARK PRIGG

THE scale of cocaine use in London can be revealed today.

An Evening Standard investigation found traces of the illegal class A drug at more than half of the capital's top bars and nightclubs.

In the wake of new Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair's promise to clamp down on middleclass drug use, our reporters tested ten venues across London and found cocaine in six of them.

Venues that tested positive include Pangaea and Chinawhite, two nightclubs frequented by keen partygoer Prince Harry.

Reporters took swabs from surfaces in the toilets, which were sealed inside police evidence bags and tested at forensic laboratory Scientifics in Derby.

Today, the laboratory confirmed the results. "There is absolutely no doubt six of the samples contain traces of cocaine," said Chris Harrison from Scientifics.

At Pangaea we found visible traces of white powder on the only flat surface in the cubicles - the lid of a sanitary bin. It was cocaine.

A spokesman for Pangaea said today: "Of course we don't condone drug use.

Other than that we have no further comment."

We also found cocaine at the Notting Hill Arts Club - a favourite of celebrities including Kate Moss, Sadie Frost and Jade Jagger and at the opulent Chinawhite club in Air Street. Management at both clubs declined to comment.

According to latest figures, an estimated 622,000 people in London regularly use cocaine and more than half of all UK seizures of the drug are in the capital.

Police seized 360 kilos of cocaine - with a street value of [pounds sterling]9 million - in London last year, up 400 per cent on the 96 kilos seized in 2003.

Our findings come after Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair announced a "war" on weekend drug-users.

Sir Ian said: "It's not just enough to say 'we take a bit of Charlie at the weekend and that's fine.' "There is a sense that people think it is okay to do drugs. All I will say is that people may find out that it is not."

He suggested making "a few examples" of the people caught.

At Bar Soho on Old Compton Street we again found a white powder - which, again, was cocaine.

Lee Wells from Soho Clubs & Bars Limited, the group that owns Bar Soho, said today: "Obviously cocaine use isn't something we condone in any shape or form. …

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