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Vigilance needed to foil drink spiking

Police, parents and publicans are pledging zero tolerance against drink spiking in pubs and clubs around Thanet. The strong measure follows a warning from the parents of a local teenager who claims her drink was spiked in a popular local nightspot.

They contacted the Thanet Extra, fearing other drinkers could be defenceless to attack or even rape unless more is done to find those responsible.

Their 21 year-old daughter from Westgate, who has asked not to be identified, began to feel unwell after a night out last month. She was not attacked but was unable to co-ordinate her body movements and at one stage fell to the floor, becoming “like a rag doll”.

Her mother said: “Our daughter said that she was aware of what was going on at the time but that she couldn’t feel her body.

“The following morning she was horribly shaken, her skin was translucent and, unlike her, she was very tearful.

“My husband and I can only hope that any future victims will have such remarkably good friends as our daughter did because their presence and competence undoubtedly saved her from a much nastier outcome.”

Nationally, around twice as many people are reporting drug related sexual abuse than a decade ago, but PC George Allum, licensing officer for Kent Police, said: “Thankfully, we do not get many incidents of drink spiking reported to us.

“We want people to feel they can enjoy themselves without worrying. The advice is to take sensible precautions and don’t leave yourself in a vulnerable position.”

Thorley Taverns, which operates various pubs and clubs around Thanet, has already introduced a number of measures in an effort to tackle drink spiking.

Operations director Philip Thorley, who runs the chain with his father Frank, said: “It’s a highly emotive issue and something we feel very strongly about.

“We work very closely with the local authorities, issue bottle stoppers and ensure that drinks are not left lying around. If they are, then our staff will remove them.

“Our management and our door staff know what to look for and they will do everything in their power to tackle drink spiking.”

Police in Thanet have received no reports of drink spiking or date rape in the past six months but say that people can reduce their chances of falling victim by using common sense and a little caution. Their advice is:

1) Stay with your friends and look after each other. Arrive as a group and leave as a group.

2) Do not leave your drinks unattended.

3) Time a cigarette break outside a venue with the end of a drink rather than leaving it inside, unattended.

4) Report anything to door staff, venue managers and the police.

5) Ask the bar if they use the 'spikey’ devices - stoppers that prevent anything being put into drinks.

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