| Last updated
Campaigners plan to boycott nightclubs because women are 'scared' to go out clubbing after a spate of recent spikings.
Police are currently investigating claims that a woman was spiked via an injection in her leg, and now activists are calling on nightclubs to tighten security measures, and police to catch and prosecute more offenders.
Police in both Nottingham and West Yorkshire have received reports of spiking via injection, and officers in Scotland are thought to be investigating similar reported incidents.
Last week, 19-year-old Zara Owen told The Independent that she woke up after a night clubbing in Nottingham with a 'sharp, agonising pain' in her leg.
She had a limp, and also had no recollection after a certain point in the evening.
Zara said: "I said to my mom that my leg was sore. She initially thought I had pulled a muscle or something,
"My friends were confused as well because they know I didn't drink much."
She continued: "I thought maybe I'd been spiked, because it seems horrible to jump to the conclusion but it seemed quite likely."
Then, a day later, she discovered what appeared to be a 'pinprick' that - when pressed - sent a shooting pain through her.
"The main thing that is really terrifying me as well as being spiked is that it was by an injection," she added.
"Naturally, I could be a carrier of HIV or hepatitis if this needle in use was a dirty one."
Now, students at universities in Nottingham, Edinburgh, Bristol, and Exeter are planning to boycott nightclubs next week, calling for more to be done about spiking, including tighter checks on entry to nightclubs.
Edinburgh's 'Girls Night In' campaign wrote: "We deserve to have FUN on our nights out.
"It's not fair that our club experiences are being tainted by the fear, worry and anxiety that we are going to be drugged."
One of the students behind the Nottingham campaign said that they first believed that the stories were 'hearsay' or 'like a horror story'.
However, that soon changed.
They said: "Then we heard it happened to people we know and people we can actually put a name and a face to."
Another said: "I didn't even think it was a thing.
"It sort of changed the game a bit, the fact you can be conscious about keeping your drink close. But then you can't really stop someone injecting you.
"So I think it has created a different level of fear for girls in Nottingham and across the UK."
They said that they think women are 'scared' to go out.
The other campaigner said: "We're all frustrated that after a year and a half inside and now we can go out, we feel like we've been forced to stay inside."
Nottinghamshire Police Superintendent Kathryn Craner said that they are investigating the reports, adding: "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."
A 20-year-old man has been arrested and released on bail pending investigations.
Craner added: "This arrest comes as part of our ongoing investigations into alleged spiking reports in the city.
"We do not believe that these are targeted incidents; they are distinctly different from anything we have seen previously as victims have disclosed a physical scratch type sensation before feeling very unwell.
"This is subtly different from feelings of intoxication through alcohol according to some victims."
A spokesperson for the University of Nottingham said the institution is 'extremely concerned' by the reports, and said that it is working with then venues and police 'to monitor, review and learn from incidents and experiences in the city centre.'
They added: "We have contacted them about the specific concerns raised and will continue to liaise with them to actively tackle societal problems and challenge behaviours."
On the incident in West Yorkshire, the police said: "We have spoken to the victim about this matter and enquiries are currently ongoing into the incident."
Detective Superintendent Paula Bickerdike said: "We understand the genuine concerns that women have around their safety, particularly in the night-time economy, and we remain absolutely committed to doing everything we can alongside our partner agencies to make the county a safer place for women and girls."
As it stands, spiking drinks can be punishable by up to 10 years in prison, with longer sentences if crimes such as rape, assault of any kind, or robbery have taken place.
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read