Doncaster health chief issues advice after figures reveal drink and food spiking incidents have tripled

Drink spiking.
Drink spiking.

A Doncaster health chief has issued advice after figures revealed drink and food spiking incidents have tripled in the last three years. 

Data obtained by The Star under the Freedom of Information Act showed there were 82 reported crimes across South Yorkshire where food and drink had been tampered with drugs or alcohol between January 2015 and December 2017.

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There are a wide range of offences attached to the act of spiking, including three incidents of 'administering poison so as to endanger life', and 32 reports of sexual assaults on men, women and children.

The crime is also on the rise as incidents have gone up each year with 39 in 2017, up from 30 in 2016 and 13 the year before that.

Dr Rupert Suckling, director of public health at Doncaster Council, has now issued some advice to help prevent people from becoming a victim.

He said: “Drink spiking can happen to anyone and you should never leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from someone you don’t know.

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“Drinking within the recommended alcohol limits will put you in the best position to spot anything suspicious and help you to get home safely.

“If you have any concerns about drink spiking you should contact the Police or a member of Pubwatch as soon as possible, they are there for your safety.”

He added: “Doncaster is one of 33 Local Alcohol Action Areas, a Home Office initiative which aims to reduce alcohol-related harm and create safe and thriving night time economies.

“We work closely with South Yorkshire Police and town centre Pubwatch and will be launching the Doncaster Best Bar None scheme later this year.”  

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Superintendent Paul McCurry, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “The rise in reported incidents of drink spiking can be attributed to several different factors, not limited to an increased public awareness of this type of crime. We also work very hard in partnership with the NHS and other health agencies to monitor this type of issue and ensure incidents of this type are recorded.

“Even though there has been a rise in reports, it is important to understand that not all of those incidents will be confirmed as drink spiking.”

“Our advice to the public who are concerned about drink spiking would be to never leave your drink unattended, and if you believe your drink has been spiked notify your friends and/or premises staff immediately so that you can receive medical attention.”