Home Secretary Priti Patel has requested an urgent update from police following harrowing reports of women being injected at nightclubs across the country.

Dozens of young women have come forward to recall their terror in finding a prick in their arm or leg realising they had been spiked by injection in nightclubs.

Several said they were avoiding clubs and house parties as a result - or were wearing thick denim to protect them from the jabs.

Police chiefs said plain clothes officers were likely to be deployed in nightclubs although womens' groups warned some women struggled to trust forces in the wake of Sarah Everard's murderer.

Zara Owen, a 19-year-old student, says that she believes she was spiked in Pryzm nightclub in Nottingham (

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Zara Owen)

A Home Office source said: "We've asked the police to look into what's going on. We need to understand the scale of the problem.

"The thought of what's going on is just horrendous."

Police in Nottinghamshire and Glasgow are investigating multiple reports of young women being “spiked physically” in nightclubs.

Zara Owen, 19, told the Mirror she woke up after a night out at the University of Nottingham, where she studies, with no recollection of what had happened the night before.

"I was originally really confused because I woke up with no memory of the night," she said.

"That is something that never happens to me and it was confusing since I hadn't drank much alcohol.

"When it hit me I had been spiked, I was so shocked to realise this had happened to me as I take the safety measures given very seriously."

Home Secretary Priti Patel has asked police to investigate spiking by injection (

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PA)

Another student in the city, Sarah Buckle, told ITV how she ended up in hospital after being stabbed with a needle in a nightclub and becoming violently sick.

"I stopped talking, went silent and stood up and almost collapsed," she 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.

"You think spiking is to do with your drink, you don't think something would go into your body."

Other women have shared on social media their terrifying experiences of being spiked by needles during nights out in cities including Dundee, Edinburgh, London, Liverpool and Leeds.

The National Crime Agency is understood to be looking at trends across the country to find out how widespread the spiking is.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds calls for urgent action to protect women

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds called for perpetrators to face the "full force of the law".

He said: "The reports of this vile act are terrifying - and yet another example of the appalling violence faced by women and girls, day in day out.

"This awful crime needs to be clamped down on without delay.

"That must involve bringing together the police, venues, universities and - crucially - listening to women who have been attacked.

"The Home Secretary should deliver action without delay, to help prevent this happening again, bringing those responsible justice and ensure they face the full force of the law.”

With many women scared to go out, students have launched a plan to boycott bars and nightclubs across the UK to protest the number of incidents taking place.

The Girls Night In Event will take place on October 28.

Police are warning women to stay alert in nightclubs and bars (

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Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Universities have said they are working with bars and police to help ensure students' safety after the reports.

A spokesperson for Universities UK said: "The safety of students is of the utmost importance and universities are working together with local police forces, clubs and bars, and student unions to ensure they are fully aware of all risks to student safety."

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said the organisation was "very concerned" about the reported increase in the number of spiking incidents.

He said: "We know this is a societal problem, but it is very difficult to say with any real certainty what the scale of this problem is."

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