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Pair arrested on suspicion of conspiring to administer poison in spiking inquiry

·4-min read

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to administer poison in connection with a spate of reported drink-spiking incidents involving needles in Nottingham.

Nottinghamshire Police said the men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested after receiving information from a member of the public on Wednesday, following a general appeal for help from a senior officer.

The force said both had been arrested “on suspicion of conspiracy to administer poison with intent to injure, annoy or aggrieve”, and they remain in police custody.

The arrests are not being linked to any specific allegation of spiking by a needle, or contamination of a drink.

Earlier, Lincolnshire Police said it had arrested a 35-year-old man at 3am on Friday in connection with an attempted drink-spiking at a nightclub in Lincoln.

The suspected offence “doesn’t involve a needle”, the force said.

Welcoming the arrest, Lincolnshire’s police and crime commissioner Marc Jones said: “We cannot accept people being unsafe when they go out with friends for a drink.

“This arrest should send a huge signal to those would-be criminals who look to prey on our community in this despicable way.”

Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire Police said it is now investigating a total of 15 separate incidents of young women and men being spiked with “something sharp” in less than a month.

The reports follow other “spiking” incidents in several parts of the country, including Exeter, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Nottinghamshire force said it had received three new reports in the last 24 hours of people being “spiked with a needle”, taking the total of such incidents under investigation to 15.

The first of those allegations dates to an incident on October 2, with the highest number of reports made on October 15 with many involving students as victims.

A number of the victims reported being spiked by some sort of injection and have reported effects “consistent with a substance being administered”.

In all, 14 women and one man have reported being spiked with a sharp object.

The force said it had also received 32 other spiking reports since September 4.

In a bid to reassure people, more police officers are being deployed to Nottingham city centre this weekend, with a police dog operation planned for Saturday night and plain clothes officers on duty.

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, earlier this week and remains on conditional bail.

Devon and Cornwall Police said they are investigating reports of a woman being attacked with a needle in Fever & Boutique in Exeter on Saturday October 16.

The spate of spikings has prompted Home Secretary Priti Patel to ask police forces to assess the scale of the problem.

Groups from universities around the UK have also 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 now gained more than 160,000 signatures.

Superintendent Kathryn Craner, of Nottinghamshire Police, said of the latest arrests: “These two arrests come after a plea from myself and the force for people to come forward and report any incidents to us.

“We are continuing to thoroughly investigate any reports made to us and these two arrests show that we are working extremely hard and working positively with our licensed premises to investigate any reports made to the force.

“We will act positively on any information that the public provide to us, as can be seen today, and this is why I would like people to continue to come forwards.”

She thanked people coming forward to report further incidents, adding the force is putting “a lot of resources” into those investigations.

Ms Craner added: “If you believe you have been spiked, feel you have been spiked, suspect anyone else has been spiked or see any suspicious activity, our message remains the same and we want to encourage everyone to come forward immediately.”

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