Woman 'assaulted with needle' at Exeter night club as reports of spiking by injection rise

fever and boutique nightclub exeter google maps
The attack happened at Fever & Boutique nightclub in Exeter. Credit: Google

A woman has been assaulted with a needle at an Exeter nightclub as reports of women being spiked by injection rise across the UK.

The incident happened at the Fever & Boutique nightclub late on Saturday 16 October, according to police.

Officers are now appealing for witnesses and say they will work with nightlife venues going forward to combat similar attacks.

The report from Exeter is the only case of possible spiking by injection Devon and Cornwall Police say they are aware of in the region.

The force has also confirmed drink testing kits will be made available in bars, and urine testing kits will be accessible in all of its police stations in order to obtain physical evidence of spiking which can be used to arrest and prosecute perpetrators.

Testing kits will be made available at bars to detect drinks that have been tampered with.

Superintendent Antony Hart, who is the local policing commander for Exeter, East and Mid Devon, said: “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.

"We are investigating an incident in Exeter and progressing enquiries to identify and arrest those responsible."

He said while assaults using needles are "very rare" police are asking people be "vigilant" when in crowded spaces.

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

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

“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.”

Police are offering extra support to both bars and victims of spiking.

Devon and Cornwall Police has recently launched an anti-drink spiking initiative, following a successful trial in Plymouth in 2019 prior to lockdown.

It involves kits which allow bar staff to test a person's drinks to see if it has been spiked.

"If it has, this allows evidence to be secured and medical assistance given to the victim. This can also help give peace of mind if the drink comes back clear from tampering," said Sergeant Dave Moore from the force's licensing team.

He added: “We also have urine testing kits for use by police officers at police stations around the force which can be used for up to three days after the consumption of the drink to test for evidence of spiking.

“We will work closely with the evening and night-time economy to ensure bar and door staff are fully aware of the correct steps to take if a customer has concerns about their drink being spiked. 

“These incidents are rare but are simply unacceptable. Please continue to look out for each-other and to report these matters to the police and together we will stop this predatory behaviour.”

Further advice on personal safety can be found here.