A police force is investigating 12 separate incidents of young women and men being spiked with “something sharp” in less than a month.
Nottinghamshire Police said a number of the victims reported being spiked by some sort of injection and have reported effects “consistent with a substance being administered”.
The reports follow other “spiking” incidents in several parts of the country, including Exeter, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Nottinghamshire force said it would be deploying more officers into Nottingham city centre, with a police dog operation planned for Saturday night.
The force said it had received 44 spiking reports since September 4, including 12 with “something sharp” as opposed to contaminated alcoholic drinks.
The first of the 12 was reported on October 2, and one victim suffered an injury which could be consistent with a needle.
Devon and Cornwall Police said they were investigating reports of a woman being attacked with a needle in Fever & Boutique in Exeter on Saturday October 16.
Following reports of incidents across the country, Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked police forces to assess the scale of the problem.
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 120,000 signatures.
Superintendent Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “I would like to reassure people we are working incredibly hard to investigate these reports and are placing a lot of resources into these inquiries and also have a dedicated team of detectives working on any reports made to us.
“I understand that these reports and those from other cities are concerning but want to reassure people that we have been working with our partner agencies and licensed premises throughout the city to help tackle any reports of spiking.
“By taking a multi-agency approach and coming together to work on these reports we are able to use a vast amount of resources.
“As has been said, not only do we have a team dedicated to the investigation of these reports but members of the public can also expect to see many more officers patrolling the city centre during the night-time economy.
“This is all designed to ensure that our local venues and people on a night out feel safe.”
The force said the highest number of reports were made on Friday October 15, with many of the complaints being made by students.
A 20-year-old man was arrested as part of a wider investigation into spiking after officers received a report of suspicious activity in Lower Parliament Street, Nottingham city centre, the following day.
He remains on conditional bail, police said.
Supt Craner added: “It is vital that we investigate any reports as quickly as possible, which means being able to secure evidence really quickly.
“This gives us the best chance of being able to progress our investigations.
“One of the really important messages for anybody coming into our city centre is that we need you or your friends to report any incident as soon as possible.
“If you believe you have been spiked, feel you have been spiked, suspect anybody else has been spiked or see any suspicious activity we need you to report that immediately.
“There will be lots of officers in the city centre for you to report any concerns to but also we have trained employees at a majority of the venues in the city who you will be able to speak to as well.
“These employees will know what to do and how to get that report to us.
“I cannot overstate the importance of reporting as quickly as possible.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe