Three arrested as UK students report nightclub needle attacks

Students in Britain have reported finding pinmarks and bruises on their skin after nights out.
Students in Britain have reported finding pinmarks and bruises on their skin after nights out.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Police in England said on Friday (Oct 22) they had arrested three men, after several days of increasing alarm at reports that revellers had been injected with needles at nightclubs.

A number of young women and men, mostly students, have come forward, saying they believe they were injected with drug-filled hypodermic needles at clubs and bars.

Women in particular have for years been warned to be alert to their drinks being spiked with alcohol or sedative drugs while on nights out.

Police in Nottinghamshire in central England said on Friday they had made two arrests as part of an ongoing investigation into "spiking" incidents in the city.

They involved two men aged 18 and 19 who were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to administer poison "with intent to injure, annoy or aggrieve".

The police force said the arrests were not linked to any "specific case or incident reported to us over the last few weeks" of either drink spiking or spiking by a needle.

In neighbouring Lincolnshire, police said they had arrested a 35-year-old local man on suspicion of possessing drugs with intent to administer them.

But the suspected offence does not involve a needle, Lincolnshire Police said.

Two female students at the University of Nottingham told British media this week they believed they were injected with unknown substances while on nights out.

They showed apparent pinmarks and bruises on their skin.

Zara Owen, a first-year student at the University of Nottingham, said she woke up after a night out with hazy memories and a sharp pain in her leg, and spotted a pinprick.

A second-year student at the same university, Sarah Buckle, said she was taken to hospital by her friends when she collapsed on a night out.

She later found a bruise with a dark mark in the centre on her hand, she showed in a televised interview with Channel 4 News.

Nottinghamshire Police said they have received 15 reports of "alleged spiking by something sharp" since the start of this month from 14 women and one man.

They had received 32 other spiking reports since early September.

Other police forces said they were also probing similar reported attacks, which have prompted students to boycott some clubs and bars, calling for tighter entrance security and better safeguarding.