The £170,000 strippergram

Force criticised over cost of arresting dancer 22 times for impersonating a policeman. Jonathan Brown reports

In keeping with his exotic stage name of Eros, Stuart Kennedy's working wardrobe boasts a cornucopia of outfits which have helped enliven many a hen party since he took on the job of part-time strippergram to pay his way through college two years ago.

The 25-year-old genetics student from Aberdeen University can play the fantasy fireman, serve as a "buff" butler, sexy soldier or even a revealing James Bond. But it is his portrayal of a peeling policeman, Sergeant Eros, which has placed him unwillingly at the centre of an extraordinary spat between the real-life boys in blue and their political overlords.

Last week the latest case to be brought against the young scientist for impersonating a police officer collapsed in court after the Crown Office unexpectedly dropped the charges against him.

It was the 22nd time Mr Kennedy had appeared before the bench since his first arrest in March 2007 and he has spent 123 hours in police custody. Since his first brush with the law he has faced charges including possession of an offensive weapon – his truncheon and a fake CS spray – and allegedly fitting a flashing light to his car.

But so far none of the cases brought against him have yielded a successful prosecution and with two further court dates pending, there is mounting anger over claims that the legal actions have cost some £170,000 of public money and have risked turning the police in and around his native Aberdeen into a laughing stock.

The latest followed his arrest 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.

Yesterday the Assistant Chief Constable of Grampian Police, Colin Menzies, was staunchly defending his force's treatment of Mr Kennedy, insisting it had a "duty to investigate all instances when reports of alleged criminal behaviour are received". He said: "I am, however, extremely disappointed that the force and our officers have come in for such criticism when I believe they have acted proportionately and with the greater interests of the community we serve at heart throughout."

It is particularly embarrassing timing for Grampian Police, which must recruit 30 fewer officers this year because of a £781,000 gap in funding. Richard Baker, Labour's Justice spokesman, said local people were growing "sick" of the saga of Eros. "I don't see this as serving effectively as a deterrent and people regard this more as ludicrous than as a serious matter," he said.

Bill Aitken MSP, the Conservatives' justice spokesman, said it was time to stop. "This is a classic instance of time being wasted unnecessarily," he commented.

As far as Eros himself is concerned, the notoriety is getting in the way of what was a lucrative money-spinner. For £115, his customers can enjoy five minutes of play-acting as a policeman – complete with full body armour and handcuffs – before settling down to the main event, a 20-minute striptease in which he hides his modesty with the assistance only of his (fake) police cap. Afterwards he poses for photographs.

Mr Kennedy said he had developed the strippergram role over the years. "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. 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," he said. So intense is the interest in his act now that he has been forced to hire his own "crisis management specialist", Caroline Weintz, to help him deal with the unexpected situation.

She has accused Grampian Police of issuing "misleading" statements by claiming he has been reported by members of the public concerned at his realistic mode of dress and is calling for an inquiry.

Mr Kennedy believes he may have become an unwitting target for police officers looking to settle a score, though he says he will not give up his routine even though it threatens his future – fully-clothed – employment prospects.

"In relation to the case which was thrown out on Friday, I was held in police custody for 39 hours even though I had, and still have, no convictions. I can only assume that the decision by Grampian Police to hold me was malicious. I have no doubt that they were trying to intimidate me after they had been made to look foolish as a result of my first high-profile arrest," he said.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
Fans take a selfie with Ed Miliband in Kempston, near Bedford, on Tuesday
election 2015
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power