Police are urging pub and club-goers to look out for each other this weekend following a rise in drink-spiking in Essex.

Detectives are investigating five incidents where people became unwell after their drinks were potentially tampered with.

One of the incidents happened in Brentwood last month, while the other four happened in Colchester on the nights of September 2 and 3.

Police say all four people affected in Colchester have recovered and a man is helping with their enquiries in relation to the incident in Brentwood.

Ahead of the weekend, detectives are urging punters to ensure they have a drinking buddy with them on their respective night-outs.

But they insist drink-spiking is rare and officers will be out patrolling town centres this weekend to provide reassurance.

Assistant Chief Con Rachel Nolan, who is in charge of night-time economy at Essex Police, said: “Thankfully, incidents such as these are very rare in Essex but we now have five live investigations into suspected drink spiking which took place in Brentwood on August 7 and in Colchester on September 2.

“I know many people are eager to get out to pubs and clubs to see friends and family after more than a year of having coronavirus restrictions in place but I would urge them to ensure staying safe and getting home safely are their top priorities.

“There are number of things you can do to reduce the risk of having your drink spiked such as never taking a drink that you haven’t seen being prepared in front of you, never leaving your drink unattended, even for a moment, and if it doesn’t taste right, don’t finish it.

“If you or your friends start to feel unwell, please seek medical help immediately or if you see one of our officers, please alert them.

“Above all, please look out for one another.”