ESSEX Police have provided an update on their ongoing investigation into concerning reports of spiking in Colchester.

Officers launched an investigation last month after receiving 12 separate reports of drinks being spiked in the town centre over an eight-week period.

The force believes the victims were placed in "vulnerable" and "potentially harmful" situations after their drinks were tampered with.

Speaking at the time chief inspector Rob Huddleston, Colchester’s district commander, said each case had been assigned to a specific officer to investigate.

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He also said the force was "trawling through hours of CCTV" but admitted catching those responsible could be difficult due to the footage being dark and grainy.

When asked for an update on how the force’s investigation was progressing, a spokesman said: “We are aware of the national issues raised around drink spiking.

“We are working together with partners and with licensed premises to ensure people can enjoy a safe night out in Colchester - our CID-led investigation remains ongoing.”

The police's investigation was launched after horrified mum Emma Benjamin spoke to the Gazette about how she believed her daughter was spiked.

The 39-year-old, of Shrub End, Colchester, says her 18-year-old daughter, Shania, had collapsed while out clubbing in a bar with some of her close friends.

Helen Dunston, 68, also reported her youngest daughter, 27, had collapsed at a town centre bar.

She previously said her daughter had become “like jelly and could barely stand up and was clearly drugged” and was “foaming at the mouth.”

Thurrock Gazette: Isobel PearceIsobel Pearce

Isobel Pearce, 19, also believes her and her friend were spiked while enjoying an evening of clubbing in Yates, in Head Street.

Shortly after taking a sip of their drinks, the pair said they completely blacked out before Isobel eventually regained consciousness in the bar’s toilets.

The former Colchester Sixth Form student initially found herself entirely incapable of moving and being persistently sick.

“I was unable to pull my own underwear up and I was completely unable to even stand or move any part of my body,” she said.

“There was a bouncer who picked us up to remove us and she just put us out on the streets, despite us saying we hadn’t had much to drink and had been spiked.

“I blacked out again and the next thing I know me and my friend are being woken and picked up from an alleyway.

“We were lying on the floor all alone and unconscious, gurning and in our own sick."

READ MORE: Colchester mum horrified by clubbers being spiked by injection

In recent days reports of young clubbers being unknowingly injected with drugs have also become a major talking point.

Isobel has now issued a warning to other bar-goers and has urged them to be vigilant while on a night out in the town.

“I dread to think what could have happened if somebody else found us with worse intentions," she added.

“My friend has lost all memory from the moment of sipping the drink and mine has vanished.

“You cannot trust bars to not let you get spiked and you cannot trust staff to help you if you have been.

“This is how unsafe we really are - it seems we really do only have each other.”

A spokeswoman for Yates said: "The safety of our guests and our team, has always been, and remains, our number one priority and we continually review our safety and security procedures to ensure our customers and staff remain safe. 

"We treat all allegations of spiking seriously and ask customers to bring this to our attention immediately should they have concerns their drinks have been tampered with. We have attempted to contact Isobel, so that we can understand from her directly the details of her experience.

“We are aware there is increasing concern over alleged increases in spiking in clubs and bars,  and have therefore enhanced our measures and employed Guest Support to assist any guests that are feeling vulnerable or unwell. 

"These team members are easily identifiable, as they wear a neon armband. We have enhanced security checks on our door, and we ask guests remain vigilant and report any unusual or suspicious behaviour to one of our team immediately."