Sunday, January 25, 2009

Taxpayers face £170,000 bill as police repeatedly arrest stripper for impersonating officer

Police have spent £170,000 of public money trying to prosecute a strippergram for playing an officer as part of his act.

Stuart Kennedy, who performs under the stage name of Sergeant Eros, was last week cleared in court for the 22nd time.

The case collapsed after the Crown Office dropped the charges against him.

In the latest incident as part of an extraordinary two-year spat with police, Mr Kennedy was arrested while driving home from Aberdeen's Tiger Tiger club dressed in full uniform.

He said he had been forced to flee the nightspot fully clothed after being threatened by an angry boyfriend.

Since March 2007, the 25-year-old genetics student from Aberdeen University has been arrested six times and spent 123 hours in custody, without police securing a single conviction.

Grampian Police have incurred the wrath of the public over the accumulated police, court and legal aid costs now mounting to an estimated £170,000.

Mr Kennedy first came under the nose of the constabulary when he was waiting outside a bar in Aberdeen dressed in his uniform.

He was spotted by two plain-clothes female officers who asked if he needed any help.

When Mr Kennedy said he was a stripper, the officers watched him perform his act with batons and a spray at the city's Paramount venue before taking him in for questioning.

He told officers he had ordered the batons and had purchased the CS holder from an internet site called the One Stop Cop Shop.

When asked at the time why he had the spray and the canister, Mr Kennedy replied that it was for defensive purposes, adding: 'Drunk guys get very jealous of male strippers.' He was subsequently charged.

The genetics student charges £115 a time to strip, which includes five minutes of play acting as a policeman complete with handcuffs, and a 20-minute striptease.

Mr Kennedy says he does it to pay off his student loan.

Richard Baker, Labour's Justice spokesman, said locals were growing sick of the Eros saga.

'I don't see this as serving effectively as a deterrent and people regard this more as ludicrous than as a serious matter,' he told the Independent.

But Mr Kennedy said he could not understand all the fuss that was being made by the real-life boys in blue.

'I was a dancer when I was younger and a choreographer I worked with suggested it would be a good way to make some money,' he told the Independent.

'The hours were great as I could study during the week and I thought it would be fun. But instead it has turned into a nightmare.'

Assistant Chief Constable of Grampian Police, Colin Menzies, said his force had a duty to investigate all reports of alleged criminal behaviour.


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