UK

Nightclub spiking: Devon and Cornwall police launch probe alleged needle incident

Zara Owen said she fell ill at a nightclub and found a pinprick on her leg the next day (pictured above). She said she had no hangover, but was suffering a sharp agonising pain in her leg

An investigation has today been launched into another incident in which a woman claims she was attacked with a needle inside a nightclub.

Devon and Cornwall Police say a woman reported being assaulted in Fever & Boutique in Exeter on Saturday October 16. 

It comes as Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday demanded an urgent update from police investigating the scale of the UK’s so-called ‘spiking epidemic’, amid a rise in claims that women have been drugged by men at nightclubs and parties using needles to inject ‘date-rape’ drugs.

Police chiefs have also been tasked by the Commons Home Affairs Committee to urgently provide more information on their assessment of the scale of the problem after reports of incidents in several parts of the country, including Nottingham, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Groups from more than 30 universities around the UK have joined an online campaign calling for the boycott of nightclubs, with campaigners seeking ‘tangible’ changes to make them safer, such as covers/stoppers for drinks, better training for staff and more rigorous searches of clubbers.

A petition launched last week to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry has already gained more than 130,000 signatures.

One 19-year-old student in Nottingham said she had blacked out going clubbing, before waking up to find a pin-prick hole in the back of her leg. Police are involved and have arrested a man on suspicion of administering a poison or noxious substance.

Another student in Nottingham, also 19, said how she woke up in hospital with a throbbing pain in her hand after going clubbing. She too believes she was targeted with a needle to the back of her hand.

There have also been as-of-yet unverified reports of incidents in Liverpool and at least two cities in Scotland, where they have been posted by a social media group – sparking a wave of panic on social media.

Police Scotland say it is investigating Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen, though officers do not believe the reports to be linked. Merseyside Police say their investigation did not uncover ‘any evidence of criminality’. 

And West Midlands Police last night said it had received one report where the circumstances ‘appear to match the description of someone being spiked by injection’. However, the force says it is ‘unclear exactly what has happened’ and officers are continuing to investigate.

A Home Office source said: ‘The individual case studies are awful but we don’t know if there is more of it happening yet.’ 

Drugs experts, meanwhile, have called for calm on as-of-yet unverified social media reports of injection spiking, saying the use of needles would be difficult for someone without medical training. They also say the kind of drugs needed for a quick and discreet injection are ‘highly detectable’ within a victim’s system for several days – meaning police would be able to verify if the person had been spiked.

Other experts warned against conflating reports of injection spiking with a verified rise in drink spiking cases across the UK. 

One spiking victim Zara Owen, 19, (pictured) said she woke up 'with a limp' before finding a 'pinprick' on her leg the morning after attending Nottingham's Pryzm nightclub

Sarah Buckle, 19, (pictured) who is also studying in Nottingham, said she discovered she had likely been spiked via a needle to the back of her hand while out in a nightclub

One spiking victim Zara Owen, 19, (left) said she woke up ‘with a limp’ before finding a ‘pinprick’ on her leg the morning after attending Nottingham’s Pryzm nightclub. Sarah Buckle, 19, (right) who is also studying in Nottingham, said she discovered she had likely been spiked via a needle to the back of her hand while out in a nightclub

Ms Buckle woke up in hospital with what appears to be a needle mark surrounded by a sore on her hand having been spiked in a nightclub in Nottingham

Ms Buckle woke up in hospital with what appears to be a needle mark surrounded by a sore on her hand having been spiked in a nightclub in Nottingham

A petition launched last week to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry has already gained more than 130,000 signatures

A petition launched last week to make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry has already gained more than 130,000 signatures

Devon and Cornwall Police say a woman reported being assaulted in Fever & Boutique (pictured) in Exeter on Saturday October 16

Devon and Cornwall Police say a woman reported being assaulted in Fever & Boutique (pictured) in Exeter on Saturday October 16

What do the experts say on reports of injection spiking? 

Is it possible?

Yes – and there are credible reports where people have woken up with needle marks having been spiked.

But the likelihood of it being a widespread phenomena is ‘deeply improbable’, according to one medical consultant. 

David Caldicott, an emergency medicine consultant and founder of drug testing project WEDINOS, told VICE News: ‘The technical and medical knowledge required to perform this would make this deeply improbable. 

‘It’s really hard to stick a needle in someone without them noticing, especially if you have to keep the needle in there for long enough, maybe 20 seconds, to inject enough drugs to cause this.’

Could someone not give the injection really fast?

Yes – but they’d need a very powerful drug to do so discreetly, experts say.

GHB is one of the most well-known ‘date rape’ drug and is also self-administered in small doses by people recreationally.

But Guy Jones, senior scientist at drugs charity the Loop, told VICE it would be a ‘poor candidate’ for injection because of the large amounts of fluid needed. 

‘Therefore (it would require) a thick, painful needle. This means that the substance involved would be something that would be highly detectable for several days in a toxicology screening,’ he said.

Adam Winstock, director of the Global Drug Survey, added: ‘There are very few easily accessible drugs / medicines that could be given intramuscular in a small enough volume that people would not notice and the effects would take some time to come on. 

‘What you see in the movies is not reality. People need to keep their drinks close to them, avoid taking them from strangers and keep an eye out for their mates.’

Can drugs be administered to any part of the body?

Yes – but some parts are more effective than others

Mr Jones told VICE: ‘Where drugs can be injected non-intravenously, there are specific injection sites that do not work well.

‘The back is one of these unsuitable sites due to the low fat-muscle content, and high concentration of pain receptors.’

What about drink spiking?

While injection spiking is still possible, drink spiking is a lot more common.

Incidents of drink spiking in the UK increased by 108 per cent between 2015 and 2018, with 179 incidents taking place in 2017 alone. 

This is only the officially recorded numbers – and is likely to be much higher as it is common for people not to report it to police.

Charity Drinkaware advise: ‘Don’t accept a drink from someone you don’t know and if they’re available, use drink stoppers, which can be purchased online, for the top of your bottle.’

It comes as women have say they are now taking measures to protect themselves amid reports of needle spiking in clubs.

Some women say they are now wearing denim jackets in nightclubs and bars because the material is ‘harder to pierce’ with a needle. Others are choosing to wear thick clothing in fear of being spiked. 

Zara Owen, 19, from Surrey, said she blacked out soon after arriving at a venue last Monday, telling BBC Breakfast: ‘I know I didn’t drink as much as I usually would on a night-out this night, and the fact that I don’t remember anything is terrifying for me because this is something that is a very rare occasion to me.

‘I’ve never suffered with memory loss and then the next morning … I woke up with a really painful leg.

‘I found a pin prick in my leg which was the epicentre of all pain. It made me unable to walk and I was limping around.

‘As a young person who’s at university, I’m hearing stories of people who have been to nightclubs and they have been injected. I have heard stories of someone having it through their hand or through their back, so this kind of gave me an idea this had happened to me.’ 

Another 19-year-old, who is also studying in Nottingham, said she discovered she had likely been spiked via a needle to the back of her hand while out in a nightclub. 

Sarah Buckle told ITV she arrived at the nightclub around 11pm, but later had to be taken home by friends who though she had drunk too much.

She said: ‘The taxi home I started being sick all over myself and my friends could sense something was wrong.’

Her friends called an ambulance and she was taken to hospital where she woke up the next day with no recollection of the night before. 

‘My hand was throbbing really bad. I also knew I wasn’t intoxicated on a stupid level or overly drunk, she sad.

‘I knew I had clearly been spiked but it would have never occurred to me it was via injection if my hand wasn’t throbbing. I thought how? I never take a drink away from the bar. 

‘You think spiking is to do with your drink, you don’t think something would go into your body.’

Nottinghamshire Police said it has seen a rising number of reports of spiking over recent months and has arrested a man as part of a wider operation.

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: ‘Over the last few months we have seen an increase in reports where people believe that drugs may have been put in their drink … But we’ve also received a small number of reports where people are telling us, as Zara has, that this has been associated with a pain or a mark on a part of their body, scratching sensation, and as though they have been physically spiked.’

The University of Nottingham said it was ‘extremely concerned’ by the reports and was working with police and venues to ‘monitor, review and learn from incidents and experiences in the city centre’.

Police Scotland is also looking into similar reports. A spokesman said: ‘Officers are carrying out inquiries and a small number of reports from the Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow areas are being investigated. These do not appear to be linked.’

Larissa Kennedy, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), said: ‘It’s absolutely disgusting that in the past few days a number of students have reported instances of women being spiked on nights out.’

Sarah Crew, temporary Chief Constable for Avon and Somerset Police who leads the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) work on rape and adult sexual offences, told the Commons Home Affairs Committee on Wednesday: ‘In terms of the injection spiking, I only became aware of that this morning so I know about the reports …

‘I think it’s a fair assumption there may be a sexual motive in those, but there isn’t an indication.’

Where are the nightclub boycotts taking place? 

October 25

Exeter

October 26

Durham

October 27

Southampton

Belfast

Bournemouth

Nottingham

Brighton

Bristol

October 28

Swansea

Edinburgh

Stirling

Aberdeen

Newcastle

November 3

Leeds 

It is ‘difficult to make an assessment on that particular trend at the moment, in terms of the more general drink spiking we do know that that’s a problem,’ she added.

Spiking drinks can lead to up to ten years in prison – or even higher if other offences like rape, robbery or another assault has taken place.

Journalist Lucy Ward last night shared a message from her daughter revealing the extent of spiking in UK clubs – along with the recent reports of spiking through injection.

Taking to Twitter, she said: ‘The epidemic of drinks spiking targeting young women – students and not – in nightclubs has a horrific new variant: injecting women in the back or leg with the same drugs.

‘Young women are going to clubs wearing denim jackets and other thick clothing to try to protect themselves from attackers armed with syringes and an apparent desire to harm young women purely for having fun and freedom.  

‘I asked my daughter – first year at a UK university – if she had heard of it and she sent me this.’

As part of the Twitter thread, Ms Ward, a former Guardian journalist, goes on to share the message from her daughter, which details the scale of the problem.

In the message, her daughter reveals how she has knows at least ‘half a dozen girls’ who have been spiked and ‘more who suspect having been’.

She says in the message: ‘The injections thing is the most recent thing they are doing now and people are more scared than ever.

‘But the scariest thing to me is how unsurprised we all are.  We go out in groups, we refuse drinks, we keep our phones on and in our hands.

‘Girls are wearing denim jackets because the material is harder to pierce. We simply accept the latest horror and come up with new ways to protect ourselves, and of course remain weak and vulnerable anyway.’  

Ms Ward said students across the country were now holding boycotts of nightclubs in order to persuade nightclubs to take action to better protect women.

The boycotts are due to take place later this month in cities such as Southampton, Brighton, Bristol, Nottingham, Durham and Belfast.

Ms Ward added: ‘I cannot describe the rage I feel at this (situation). These are simply random acts of extreme harm. 

‘I don’t blame universities – my daughter’s has worked hard to help when students have sought help. But there is a culture here that we must acknowledge and address.’ 

A Home Office source told Politico: ‘This is absolutely awful. We have asked for an update from the police on this and would encourage anyone to report this behaviour to the police.’ 

Meanwhile, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), the trade body for UK nightclubs, has called for an urgent inquiry into the wide issue of spiking. 

Michael Kill, CEO of the group, urged the Home Office to look at Devon and Cornwall Police, who have recently launched a drink spiking testing pilot using on-site testing to allow people to get their drinks test.

Have you seen, heard or been targeted through spiking by injection?

We would like to hear from your story: Contact [email protected] 

He said: ‘NTIA are very concerned to learn about the reported increase in the number of spiking incidents taking place across the country. 

‘We support all those coming forward to speak about their experiences. It goes without saying that everyone should be able to enjoy a night out without fearing for their own safety, and we are saddened to hear that some don’t feel this way.

‘We have been encouraged to see the progressive approach taken by Devon and Cornwall Police through their drink spiking testing pilot. 

‘The Home Office should launch a formal inquiry to examine the results of that pilot, and the lessons that can be applied to the industry and policing nationally.’

However experts have warned people not to panic, with one medical expert saying the likelihood that injection spiking is a widespread phenomena is ‘deeply improbable’.

David Caldicott, an emergency medicine consultant and founder of drug testing project WEDINOS, told VICE News: ‘The technical and medical knowledge required to perform this would make this deeply improbable. 

‘It’s really hard to stick a needle in someone without them noticing, especially if you have to keep the needle in there for long enough, maybe 20 seconds, to inject enough drugs to cause this.’

Meanwhile, Guy Jones, senior scientist at drugs charity the Loop, told VICE most ‘date rape’ drugs would need to be administered in large quantities with thick needles. 

The entrance to Nottingham's Pryzm nightclub, where Ms Owen claims to have been spiked by a needle amid similar reports elsewhere in the UK

The entrance to Nottingham’s Pryzm nightclub, where Ms Owen claims to have been spiked by a needle amid similar reports elsewhere in the UK

What have police forces said about injection spiking? 

Nottinghamshire Police

A 20-year-old man has been arrested by Nottinghamshire Police on suspicion of drug offences and causing or administering a poison or noxious substance following three reports of women being spiked by injection at two nightclubs in the city within the last fortnight.  

A spokesperson said: ‘We are currently investigating reports of individuals suspecting that their drinks have been spiked.

‘Linked to this a small number of victims have said that they may have felt a scratching sensation as if someone may have spiked them physically. Consequently, we are actively investigating all these reports. 

‘We have a dedicated group of officers currently carrying out CCTV enquires at various venues where we have received such reports.

‘Our enquiries into these incidents are ongoing but we understand people may be concerned about incidents like this and want to reassure the public we are working incredibly hard to investigate.’  

Police Scotland

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of posts circulating on social media about spiking incidents involving injections in Scotland.

‘Officers are carrying out enquiries, and a small number of reports from the Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen areas are being investigated.

‘These do not appear to be linked.

‘We take all reports seriously and we would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of spiking in any form to contact Police via 101.’

West Midlands Police

A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: ‘We’re aware of posts circulating on social media about drink spiking, particularly those involving injections.

‘At present we’ve had one report where the circumstances appear to match the description of someone being spiked by injection. However, it’s unclear exactly what’s happened and we’re in the process of trying to speak to the woman to gather more information.

‘A separate drink spiking incident involving a Birmingham-based university student is under investigation, and we’ve had a small number of reports from Birmingham city centre over the last few months.’   

Merseyside Police

Media reports emerged of a woman wearing a backless dress being injected in the back in Liverpool.

However, Merseyside Police said it could not find any evidence ‘that any criminality occurred’.

A spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘We have been made aware of a social media post reporting that a woman was injected in the back in a Liverpool city centre nightclub and a report was received by Merseyside Police.

‘We have worked closely with the club and examined CCTV footage. We have fully investigated the matter and we can’t find evidence that any criminality has occurred.

‘No formal statement has been made by the woman and no other persons have come forward.’ 

Devon and Cornwall

Superintendent Antony Hart, local commander for Exeter, East and Mid Devon, said it is the only incident of its type that has been reported to police in Devon and Cornwall.

‘There has been a lot of media and social media coverage in relation to drink-spiking, plus the understandable fear following a woman being attacked with a needle in a bar in Nottingham,’ he said.

‘We are investigating an incident in Exeter and progressing inquiries to identify and arrest those responsible.

‘Whilst assaults using needles are very rare, we ask that people are vigilant when in crowded spaces and notify premises staff or police of any suspicious behaviour.

‘This incident has also raised the wider issue of drink-spiking and what can be done to combat this.

‘Women must be able to feel safe across all aspects of their lives and that includes when out socialising.

‘Those who think it’s acceptable to assault women, whether that be verbally, subjecting them to physical attacks or by drink-spiking, must be challenged and will be brought to justice where a criminal offence has been committed.

‘We are asking for the public to help us to tackle this issue head-on. That means if you have witnessed something suspicious in a bar, then you must report this to door and bar staff immediately.

‘We also need people who believe they have been spiked or assaulted to come forward to door staff and the police as soon as possible.

‘Not only does this give us the best chance in catching those responsible, but it will also allow us to get medical treatment for the victim at the earliest opportunity.’

He said GHB, one of the more well known ‘date rape’ drugs, which is also used recreationally by some users, was a ‘poor candidate’ for injection because of the large amounts of fluid needed.

‘Therefore (it would require) a thick, painful needle. This means that the substance involved would be something that would be highly detectable for several days in a toxicology screening,’ he said. 

Adam Winstock, director of the Global Drug Survey, added: ‘There are very few easily accessible drugs / medicines that could be given intramuscular in a small enough volume that people would not notice and the effects would take some time to come on. 

‘What you see in the movies is not reality. People need to keep their drinks close to them, avoid taking them from strangers and keep an eye out for their mates.’ 

A university club event manager has acknowledged that plans to put cling film over drinks to prevent spiking is not a perfect solution but hopes it will offer ‘an extra layer of assurance’ to clubbers.

Ben Lewis, who manages the weekly Woo Cambridge event, said the issue ‘wasn’t on our radar last week as much as it is this week’ and more needs to be done at venues across the UK.

Ahead of its event this Wednesday evening, the club is offering a cling film covering for drinks to guests as a ‘temporary measure’ before more permanent methods of prevention can be put in place. 

Mr Lewis, 24, told the PA news agency his team had looked at several different preventative measures that could be implemented quickly ahead of the event.

‘We’re aware that there’s a nationwide problem and people want something done about it… and we wanted to do something before opening tonight,’ he said.

‘We researched quite a few different measures… but we didn’t think any of them would really work properly. So while it’s not the perfect solution at all, tonight we’ll have cling film, then next week we’ll have proper drink stoppers… for free for customers that want them.

‘It’s a strong cling film and it’s more for people when they’re not drinking to have a little bit of peace of mind. We know it’s not a perfect solution but we simply couldn’t get the official measures in time.’

Campaigners from more than 30 universities who plan to join the nightclub boycott say they are seeking ‘tangible’ changes to address a problem that has become an ‘epidemic’.

Mr Lewis said both event and venue staff would be given specialist training and extra security would be put in place to identify and protect those who looked ‘tipsy or a little bit vulnerable’.

‘It wasn’t on our radar last week as much as it is this week… and because it is a nationwide problem I think every venue in the UK has gone and ordered the official measures,’ he said.

‘(The cling film) was more to reassure people that it was on our minds and we’re trying to do something about it… it’s not just ‘oh yeah, we’ll sort it out next week’.

‘I don’t think it offers concrete reassurance but… I think it makes it at least a little bit more difficult to spike someone and that’s the crux of the issue.

‘The issue should have been at the forefront of our minds but… after two years of not clubbing, I think it is quite easy for everyone to be comfortable, including customers.’

He added: ‘We should really have had a few more awareness posters in the venue and every venue in the UK should have.

‘One positive thing is that this campaign has brought it back to the forefront of everyone’s minds.

‘Everyone’s security and safety is always number one.’ 

A 20-year-old man has been arrested by Nottinghamshire Police on suspicion of drug offences and causing or administering a poison or noxious substance following three reports of women being spiked by injection at two nightclubs in the city within the last fortnight. 

Women in Liverpool, Edinburgh and Dundee of victims have reported being pierced with a needle in their leg, hands and back before waking up with no recollection of the night before – symptoms similar to those who have had their drinks spiked with

Detectives say they are currently reviewing CCTV footage as well as toxicological reports to identify what substance was contained within the needles.

A police spokesperson added, though, that the force does not believe the incidents are targeted and they are ‘distinctly different’ from anything seen previously due to victims disclosing ‘a physical scratch-type sensation before feeling very unwell’. 

A statement said: ‘This is subtly different from feelings of intoxication through alcohol according to some victims.’ 

Stealth, another Nottingham nightclub, said it had also received reports of two women feeling unwell within the last fortnight as a result of being spiked. 

One 19-year-old woman said she was targeted with a mystery liquid as she left the venue in on October 12.

Ellie Simpson said her sister felt a ‘pinch on the back of her arm’ before blacking out and being taken to hospital, where blood samples were taken.

Ms Simpson, 21, added that she was ‘in shock’ and her sister had not been out clubbing since the incident took place.

She told the BBC: ‘Normally she’s the type of person that would stick up for herself, so I think if it could happen to her it could happen to somebody who is more vulnerable,  

The entrance to Stealth, another Nottingham nightclub, which says it also received reports of two women feeling unwell as a result of being spiked with needles

The entrance to Stealth, another Nottingham nightclub, which says it also received reports of two women feeling unwell as a result of being spiked with needles 

Nottinghamshire Police has said a local male has been arrested, but did not state which incident this is in connection with

Nottinghamshire Police has said a local male has been arrested, but did not state which incident this is in connection with

Industry body for nightclubs calls for urgent inquiry into wider issue of spiking 

The industry body for nightclubs has called for an urgent inquiry into the wider issue of spiking.

They have urged the Home Office to look at Devon and Cornwall Police, who have recently launched a drink spiking testing pilot using on-site testing to allow people to get their drinks test.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said: ‘The NTIA are very concerned to learn about the reported increase in the number of spiking incidents taking place across the country. 

‘We support all those coming forward to speak about their experiences. It goes without saying that everyone should be able to enjoy a night out without fearing for their own safety, and we are saddened to hear that some don’t feel this way.’

‘There is a lot that we as a sector are already doing to try to tackle drink spiking. 

‘In response to recent reports, operators across the country have been working with the police, local authorities and key stakeholders, focusing on safeguarding customers, particularly women, at night. 

‘It varies by region, but many cities already have well-established networks amongst operators and community support representatives, and work very closely with authorities, communicating on a regular basis to highlight increases in crime or disorder.

‘The truth is though, very real challenges still exist. We know this a societal problem, but it is very difficult to say with any real certainty what the scale of this problem is, because drink spiking is currently criminalised under an offence which encompasses many other types of incident, and it is also not possible to ascertain whether incident occurred within a licensed venue or some other setting. 

‘The result is that police data revealed through FOI requests does not give an accurate picture of what’s happening, or lend itself to specifically categorising this particular crime.

‘We have been encouraged to see the progressive approach taken by Devon and Cornwall Police through their drink spiking testing pilot. The Home Office should launch a formal inquiry to examine the results of that pilot, and the lessons that can be applied to the industry and policing nationally. 

‘The scheme found that through having on-site testing available in the night time economy, data could be collected that would provide a more accurate picture. 

‘Having testing available and clearly communicating this to customers was also found to have de-escalated situations – where tested drinks came back negative – and generally provided reassurance to customers who had spiking concerns. 

‘We believe the widespread implementation of these measures – to complement existing routine duty of care measures – is an important step in making sure everyone can enjoy a night out safely and without fear, as it should be. The Home Office should work with the industry as part of this inquiry, and also speak to campaign groups and listen to their concerns.’

‘I don’t think it’s quite yet sunk in what’s happened to her. It’s really frightening because I don’t know how you’re meant to prevent it.

‘Obviously you can put your hand over your drink but how do you stop somebody stabbing you with a needle?’  

A statement from Stealth said: ‘We, much like our customers, are concerned by the national news reports about spiking in bars and nightclubs around the UK, and believe it is absolutely unacceptable for women to have tp live in fear of being spiked on nights out.

‘Here at Stealth, in recent weeks two of our customers have reported feeling unwell and suspected they may have been spiked. Both were seen by our on site medic who made sure they were appropriately looked after, were able to safely leave the venue, and we are currently liaising with police to aid in their ongoing investigations.

‘Customer safety is our top priority and our aim is to create a safe environment for people to come together and enjoy a night out.’ 

A police spokesperson, speaking about the incident in Lower Parliament Street, involving Ms Owen, said: ‘We are currently investigating reports of individuals suspecting that their drinks have been spiked.

‘Linked to this a small number of victims have said that they may have felt a scratching sensation as if someone may have spiked them physically. Consequently, we are actively investigating all these reports. 

‘We have a dedicated group of officers currently carrying out CCTV enquires at various venues where we have received such reports.

‘Our enquiries into these incidents are ongoing but we understand people may be concerned about incidents like this and want to reassure the public we are working incredibly hard to investigate.’  

The statement continued: ‘What we need is that if any person experiences such an incident whilst on a night out that they or their friends make contact with us immediately in order that we can investigate at the earliest opportunity and secure evidence quickly.’   

It follows reports from Edinburgh and Dundee, too. Police Scotland said it is also investigating reports of a female being spiked by injection and enquiries were at an early stage. 

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: ‘We are aware of posts circulating on social media about spiking incidents involving injections in Scotland.

‘Officers are carrying out enquiries, and a small number of reports from the Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow and Aberdeen areas are being investigated.

‘These do not appear to be linked. We take all reports seriously and we would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim of spiking in any form to contact Police via 101.’

Victims have reported waking up with a pinprick surrounded by a giant bruise, as well as no memory of the night before.

Those targeted with needles also carry the risk of shared or unclean needles being used, posing threats of HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. 

One woman who claimed to have been spiked said she now has to go for monthly blood tests following a night out with friends last week.

She tweeted: ‘So after seeing recent posts and thinking back to the weekend when I was out I phoned my doctor who confirmed it’s likely that I was spiked by injection.

‘I now need to go for monthly blood tests. Please please just be so vigilant when out. I can’t confirm where it happened sadly.’

Another woman also took to social media to report being targeted with a needle. 

She added: ‘Please be careful on nights out. Last Saturday I was spiked in a club in through an injection in my hand.

‘Luckily I was with people I trust who looked after me, but it was terrifying. I was sober when this happened and it shows protecting your drinks isn’t enough.

‘I don’t remember the evening at all but was very unwell the next few days. Please be careful on nights out and if you do not feel right tell somebody.. Stay safe. X’ 

A petition calling for nightclubs to be legally required to search guests on arrival for weapons and ‘date rape’ drugs has now reached more than 75,000 signatures following the reports.

@Edi_Anonymous, an Instagram page that publishes anonymous submissions, said it had received multiple reports of women being spiked at nightclub venues

@Edi_Anonymous, an Instagram page that publishes anonymous submissions, said it had received multiple reports of women being spiked at nightclub venues

It says: ‘There are too many cases of weapons and ‘date rape’ drugs being used in clubs. 

‘It begs the question, why aren’t nightclubs required to do more to prevent harmful items making it into their clubs?’

Nottingham East MP Nadia Whittome added that she is in contact with police following Ms Owen’s report of being spiked with a needle.

She tweeted: ‘I’m aware of extremely concerning reports of suspected spiking in Nottingham nightclubs, including by injection, and am in discussion with @nottswomenscent.

‘If you have any information, please get in touch with @nottspolice, @nottswomenscent or me.’

Social media reports also emerged of a woman wearing a backless dress being injected in the back in Liverpool. However, Merseyside Police said it could not find any evidence ‘that any criminality occurred’.

A spokesman for the force told MailOnline: ‘We have been made aware of a social media post reporting that a woman was injected in the back in a Liverpool city centre nightclub and a report was received by Merseyside Police.

‘We have worked closely with the club and examined CCTV footage. We have fully investigated the matter and we can’t find evidence that any criminality has occurred.

‘No formal statement has been made by the woman and no other persons have come forward.’ 

  • Have you seen, heard or been targeted through spiking by injection? We would like to hear from your story: Contact [email protected] 

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