Police confirmed today that eight men have been arrested in connection with a bogus male stripper ring that operated across Britain and targeted women attending hen nights, birthday parties and office leaving dos.
The arrests were made after a raid on a house in Esher, during which costumes and computer records were seized, the culmination of a 6-month investigation dubbed “operation baby-oil”.
Gang members would approach large groups of women at night-clubs and restaurants, then proceed to expose their genitals after a striptease-style removal of their other clothes. Only later would the women realise that nobody had in fact arranged a stripper, by which time the perpetrators had made good their escape.
Tanya McClelland's experience at a club in Brighton was typical of the gang's methods. “About 20 of us were in one of the VIP suites at Oceana, enjoying a few drinks and telling stories about Catherine [Lynch] whose hen-night it was. The door swung open, and a man dressed as a fireman came in and said something like 'things are gonna get hot, and I might need to get my hose out', which we understood to be a reference to his penis.
“We were all cheering and whooping as he stripped down and I even rubbed his smooth, oiled, muscular chest. Now that I know he wasn't a real stripper, and that he was doing it for his own sick gratification - I just feel so used and dirty.”
Consumer groups have called for better regulation and labelling of male strippers so that the public can be sure that they are seeing a paid, professional stripper, and not an exhibitionist getting his kicks by exposing himself to large groups of women.
Detective Inspector Colin Osbourne, who led the investigation, said that the gang identified potential targets by their pink cowboy hats, feather boas and matching T-shirts and took advantage of the women when their guard was down.
“Flashers have moved on since the local pervert in the park with the dirty mac. They are sophisticated, organised and well-equipped. They share information in internet chat rooms and have been known to stalk groups of women from spa to bar, waiting for their opportunity.
"It has been a difficult investigation because when women realised they had been victims of a sexual offence, they were often unable to provide a useful description of the assailant as they had been too busy hollering "get 'em off" to get a good look at his face.
"Also many of the traumatised victims were understandably reluctant to believe we were real police officers.”
Osbourne hailed this as the most significant result for his department since a high profile bogus gay fashion adviser was apprehended encouraging women to “look good naked”.
Have you been the victim of a bogus male stripper? What steps should the government take to protect the public from gangs of muscular, oiled, well-equipped exhibitionists? Send us your comments using the form below.
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