Liverpool swimming teacher ‘spiked’ before passing out in taxi on way to hospital

The 20-year-old woman says she is now “put off from going out anywhere” after claiming she was injected in a nightclub.

Twenty-year-old Chloe Birch thinks she was injected on a night out in Chorley.
Twenty-year-old Chloe Birch thinks she was injected on a night out in Chorley.
Twenty-year-old Chloe Birch thinks she was injected on a night out in Chorley.

A Liverpool swimming teacher has described how she passed out in a taxi on the way to hospital after an incident where she believes she was a victim of needle spiking.

Chloe Birch, 20, was visiting boyfriend Robbie Harrison when they went out for a meal and on to nightclub Lost Bar and Club in Chorley last Saturday.

Ms Birch says she remembers feeling a burning sting in her right arm while in the club before becoming disoriented.

Lancashire Police have confirmed that investigations into the incident are ongoing.

What happened on the night of the ‘spiking’

“We went out with a few friends for a meal and arrived at the Lost Bar around midnight,” Ms Birch explained. “We went downstairs and it was quite quiet.”

“We went upstairs around 1am and were drinking and having a good time when all of a sudden I felt a sting in my arm which felt like someone had put a cigarette out on my arm.

“I knew exactly what it was. I passed out in the taxi on the way to the hospital.”

Chloe Birch’s arm with a puncture wound.
Chloe Birch’s arm with a puncture wound.
Chloe Birch’s arm with a puncture wound.

What happened next

Two days after being jabbed Ms Birch said her arm was aching, she was vomiting all day, had a headache and was lethargic.

The incident was reported to Lancashire Police.

Phil Harrison, Robbie’s dad, appealed for the public to help police investigations.

He told the Chorley Guardian: “Please could we encourage anybody with information which could assist police enquiries to come forward.

“To be honest they [the police] have been incredible so far.

“As it’s the first case and hopefully the last they are making it top priority. We just want to make it public, as someone might know something.”

Ms Birch, who studies Sports Therapy, added: “It has put me off going out anywhere. You don’t think it’s going to happen to you.

“I’m lucky I was with Robbie as if I was with the girls it could have been worse.”

Police investigation

Lancashire Police Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Russ Procter, said: “These reports are clearly very concerning and it is understandable people are worried and anxious.

“We take offences of this nature very seriously and all reports will be investigated thoroughly by our officers.

“We would encourage anyone who believes they have been a victim or witness to spiking, in any form, to contact us. Any reports of spiking will be investigated and taken seriously. You should try and report it to police as quickly as possible.”

The Lost Bar and Club has been approached for comment.

What is spiking by injection or ‘needle spiking’?

Spiking by injection describes the act of one person spiking another, but instead of placing a pill in a drink, it is done through the use of a needle.

It carries extra risks as unclean or shared needles pose threats of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

Spiking by injection symptoms are similar to that of being spiked via a pill in a drink.

A petition, titled “Make it a legal requirement for nightclubs to thoroughly search guests on entry”, has collected more than 172,000 signatures on the Parliament Petition website.

What are the symptoms of being spiked?

Drink Aware says that the symptoms of being spiked could include:

  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Loss of balance 
  • Visual problems 
  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unconsciousness

Drink Aware medical adviser, Dr Sarah Jarvis, says: “The symptoms will depend on a lot of factors such as the substance or mix of substances (including the dose), your size and weight, and how much alcohol you have already consumed.”

What is Merseyside Police about spiking?

In response to local and national reports of people being spiked either through drinks or injection, Merseyside Police has set up a designated investigation team.

The team is to ensure each report is investigated and people affected are provided with support.

The police said they are also working with partners across the city including Liverpool City Council and universities.

In a statement, Liverpool community policing Superintendent Diane Pownall said: “All reports of this nature received by Merseyside Police will be extensively investigated with officers looking at CCTV, as well as speaking to victims and potential witnesses, and looking into medical evidence.”