Night In: Campaign to boycott clubs amid spiking concerns spreads across UK

ITV News Northern Reporter Sangita Lal explains what measures students are now taking to try and stay safe

A movement to boycott nightclubs amid a reported rise in spiking is quickly gaining momentum across the UK.

The Night In campaign calls on people to stay away from nightclubs for one night in a bid to urge venues to better protect clubgoers from harm.

The campaign, initially thought to have been launched by Edinburgh student Martha Williams, has now sparked a national movement following a series of spiking cases.

The first boycott was held in Exeter on Monday, while Durham, Liverpool, Leicester and Aberystwyth's will take place on Tuesday night.

A further 64 cities across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to hold nights of boycotts until November 5.

It comes after the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said there were 198 drink spiking incidents across the UK over the past two months, as well as 24 reports of some form of injection.

The NPCC said the majority of cases involved young women and the alleged offences took place at licensed premises and private parties.

Night In Leeds organiser, student Izzy Broadhurst, told ITV News that since launching the campaign in the city, campaigners have received a "really overwhelming response".

"So many people have told us about their experiences. We've had a mix of traditional drink spiking and also this new development of injection spiking," she said.

"A lot of these cases have just been over the past few weeks. It happens so often - and more than people think." The student urged nightclub owners to take "responsibility for the safety of people in their clubs" and called out a "culture of victim blaming". "This is a really serious crime and it can be really traumatic and clubs need to acknowledge that and make sure all staff are trained in what to do," she added.

Night in Leeds organiser Izzy Broadhurst told ITV news spiking "happens so often and more than people think"

CEO of Night Time Industries Association, Michael Kill, said the reports have "levelled some serious concern" among nightclubs.

He said the NTIA's members are working with police forces and looking at retraining, safeguarding and searching protocols at venues.

But he added: "We also need to look at the perpetrators."

ITV News has heard from several students across the country who shared their traumatic experiences of spiking.

Freya Collington described the "terrifying" moment her friend suddenly became "completely paralytic" after claiming she had just been spiked by a needle at an Exeter nightclub last week.

The student told ITV News: "All she told me was that she was hugged very tight by someone she didn't recognise."

"About five minutes after my friend noticed the injection site, she'd become completely paralytic and had to be carried to be sat down and supported by my friends around her," she added. "She couldn't hold herself up."

Freya said the incident had left her her and her friends "so shaken up" that she is now too scared to go out.

Sarah Buckle, 19, told ITV News she felt "sick" after waking up in hospital with no memory of how she got there and a throbbing pain in her hand and a puncture wound last month.

Sarah Buckle said she's now "petrified" to go out after the night left her feeling "violated"

The University of Nottingham student said her friends initially thought she might have had too much to drink - but grew concerned when she "stopped talking, went silent and stood up and almost collapsed".

"We were escorted out of the venue as I could not stand up. Then in the taxi home I started being sick all over myself and my friends could sense something was wrong," she added.

Speaking of waking up the following morning in hospital, Sarah said: "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."

Sarah's hand was "throbbing" the day after she went to a nightclub.

Sarah's story came after another student in the same city, Zara Owen, said she woke up with no recollection of the night before and with a "shooting pain" in her leg and what appeared to be a needle pinprick wound.

Elsewhere, an 18-year-old woman was reportedly spiked by needle in a club in Portsmouth after feeling "tenderness and numbness to her arm", while a student of the same age said she was spiked by an injection in the back in Liverpool.

Another teenager said she was also injected at a club in Preston on the same night two women reportedly had their drinks spiked.