A police investigation was launched after a 16-year-old girl claimed her drink was spiked at a York restaurant.
And as a result of what officers discovered, the restaurant could lose its licence.
The inquiries began after the alleged spiking incident at the Sky Blue restaurant, on Barbican Road, on 21 January 2022.
In her statement to police, released as evidence for a review of the premises licence, the girl said she ate elsewhere that night and arrived at the Sky Blue shortly after 9pm.
With a group of friends she had booked a karaoke booth at the restaurant.
When she arrived, she ordered a single vodka and Coke. She was served the drink and wasn’t challenged over her age.
Over the course of the night she ordered two more double vodkas and Cokes. They left at about 11pm after her friend’s boyfriend picked them up.
“We started driving home and started feeling not right,” she told police.
“I almost felt really drunk but not, I have been drunk before and it didn’t feel like this. I was dizzy and couldn’t keep my head up but I knew I wasn’t drunk.
“I tried to speak to my friend but my jaw locked and I couldn’t speak. I tapped her on the shoulder and she told her boyfriend to stop the car.
“My friend said my jaw was swinging and my eyes were all over the place. I can’t remember anything else.
“I have been told my friend called my mum saying I had been spiked and my mum and dad helped me get into my house and looked after me.”
She was monitored closely by her family overnight. The next day they arranged for her to have a drugs test at Superdrug, Monks Cross.
That tested positive for Benzodiazepines, a type of sedative medication.
No CCTV for that night
After taking the statement, police visited the restaurant. Officers asked to see CCTV footage of the night in question, but there was none.
An investigation then found that the system’s hard drive was full and “footage was being written over less than 30 days from when it was taken and that not all of the cameras were working”.
This was one of numerous apparent breaches of the restaurant’s licence officers then uncovered, including:
- failure to properly train staff on age verification and other issues
- lack of proper documentation
- failure to properly staff and monitor the karaoke rooms.
Documents state that the venue “has a chequered history of non-compliance with premise licence conditions”.
In 2020, when operating as The Regency, its licence was revoked after an investigation discovered illegal workers there being paid as little as £2 an hour.
After it became Sky Blue, it was granted a new licence with Kheng Chooi Koay the licensee, on condition that it had no connection to the previous Regency management.
In their report to the City of York Council licensing hearing, police say: “Mr Koay despite knowing the history of the Premises has failed to take responsibility for the running of the Premises and ensuring compliance with the Premise Licence Conditions, allowing unauthorised licensable activities to take place.
“He has shown a blatant disregard for the conditions attached to the Premise Licence, despite knowing the history of the Premises, he has chosen to delegate responsibility or the day-to-day operation of the venue to Mr Leung.
“Mr Leung was part of the problem management which previously resulted in the revocation of the Premises when it operated under ‘The Regency’.”
Police have asked the City of York Council to review the Sky Blue’s licence on the grounds of safeguarding public safety and the prevention of crime. The council’s licensing hearing will consider the evidence on Monday 12 September.
They could choose to revoke the licence or change the conditions.