CLUBBERS in Southend are being urged to “remain vigilant” and be hyper-aware when out drinking after a girl claimed she was spiked in the city.

Southend’s councillor for community safety Martin Terry insisted spiking is “rare” but is calling on young people to educate themselves on the support available to prevent falling victim.

At clubs and bars across the city, a number of measures are in place including drink covers and drink testing strips and Mr Terry has told young people to make the most of the options available.

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He said: “It is concerning to hear. It is something I have experienced with my own children in the last few years, so unfortunately it does happen.

“These premises’ do take measures, offer drink covers, and staff training. But I would still urge everyone to try and take full care out anyway.

“I really hope the girl concerned fully recovers and gets well. It is something we, at the council, drive through our licensing to make sure premises are well managed and staff have full training.

“But, unfortunately, there are people in our society that will try these sort of things.

“It is sad that all these measures have to be taken. It is a rare occurrence, but I urge everyone to be on guard at all times, and looking after those around us.”

Between January 2021 and June 2023, there were 811 offences involving drink spiking cases recorded by Essex Police, according to a Freedom of Information request.

Essex Police recorded 639 victims of reported spiking offences between January 2021 and December 2022.

Of the reported crimes during this time, 51 victims were aged under 16, 28 were 16-17 years old, and 560 were aged 18 and over. A total of 447 of the victims were female while 184 were male.

In March, Essex Police held a Safe Space event in Southend to provide information about drink spiking and giving out stop tops.

A spokesman added: “We need to know about every possible spiking so we can investigate, even if no other crime has taken place.

“If you are out in a bar or club, you can report to a member of staff, who will be able to help and support you.”