PLEDGES to protect revellers in Barnsley from being ‘injection spiked’ have ramped up amid reports of a rise in incidents - with one venue even saying they will close their doors to keep patrons safe.
Both nationally and in Barnsley, the issue of spiking has become a prominent issue and a suspected rise in the number of incidents has led club bosses to introduce more stringent measures.
Town centre bars, pubs and venues have clubbed together under the ‘Stay Safe in Barnsley’ banner - a part of which is the ‘Ask for Angela’ scheme, which sees members of staff take people who feel threatened to a safe place when they use that phrase.
Barnsley Council has been helping ramp up the measures in place by offering bottle and pint covers behind bars, with a reported 30,000 being sent out to venues this week alone.
There are talks of new measures throughout the town centre, such as greater use of handheld metal detectors and more stop-searches at venues being introduced.
A teenager was reportedly spiked by injection in the town centre on Saturday and admitted the issue is now a lot closer to home than she originally thought.
She told the Chronicle: “It’s really scary that this happened.
“You see it on the news about spiking injections but it doesn’t feel close to home, but now it is.
“It’s a really good thing that my friends were there because I don’t know what would have happened otherwise.
“Normally I’d wake up with a hangover but I woke up really sharply and I had no idea how I got there.
“I’ve always been really careful when covering my drinks but I couldn’t even do that.”
A spokesperson from Brook Leisure Group, which runs Che Bar on Peel Street, told the Chronicle they have had no formal reports made to them about any incidents of spiking - though any reports they do receive are taken ‘extremely seriously’.
“It was a good weekend and we did the normal checks and put the protocols in place,” the spokesperson said.
“We’re involved with the drinks cover system and we did that last weekend.
“We’ve got stringent measures that are in place - it’s a good operation.
“It’s not a new issue in Barnsley as it has happened before but it’s certainly something that has been in the news this week.
“We’ve already got lots of things that are in place and we’re always looking at other options - we do search people and we’ve got the metal detector wands.
“We’ll assist wherever we can and we’re aware of incidents that are happening around town - it’s not good at all.
“We have had no formal report of any spiking but if we had then we would have dealt with it.”
The group also owns a number of nightclubs and bars in Sheffield - where spiking has become a ‘serious’ problem.
In the last week, it has been reported a number of young girls in the area have been injected and taken to hospital - and although no incidents occurred in the venues owned by Brook Leisure Group, bosses confirmed they have closed a venue to support a boycott by young people in the city.
“We’re always working with the police and with the council and there’s a lot being done - we want to get people into Barnsley,” the spokesperson added.
“It’s our absolute priority to make people feel safe when they’re in our venues.
“We have other venues in Sheffield and we’ve shut them to show our support and we’d be happy to do that in Barnsley too - we just hope that it doesn’t come to that.
“We want people in Barnsley to feel safe.”