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Bury St Edmunds woman, who believes she was spiked in The Corn Exchange Wetherspoons, has said she is anxious to go out again



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A Bury St Edmunds woman who believes she was spiked by injection in a town centre pub has said the incident has left her anxious to go out again.

Virginia Hale was on a night out with her friends in the town centre on Saturday when she fell ill and paramedics were called.

The 50-year-old had been drinking in The Corn Exchange Wetherspoons where she had three drinks. The group left the pub at about quarter to ten and walked to The Grapes.

Virginia (left) with her friend Amy (right) in Wetherspoons before she became unwell. Picture: Amy Bayliss (53469728)
Virginia (left) with her friend Amy (right) in Wetherspoons before she became unwell. Picture: Amy Bayliss (53469728)

Virginia said she cannot remember much after arriving at The Grapes and that she began vomiting and fell unconscious in the pub garden almost as soon as they arrived.

"I can't remember it whatsoever which is really scary. All I remember was going to the toilet and when I came out I didn't feel very well," she said.

Police and paramedics were called to help Virginia, who was taken to hospital for treatment. She later found a puncture mark on her knee which she believes to be a pin prick from an injection.

Virginia and her friends were on a night out in Bury St Edmunds town centre when the alleged spiking occured. Picture: Amy Bayliss (53469760)
Virginia and her friends were on a night out in Bury St Edmunds town centre when the alleged spiking occured. Picture: Amy Bayliss (53469760)

Virginia, who had planned to go out to celebrate Christmas in a few weekends time, is now considering staying in after the traumatic event.

"It is still on my mind and I'm worried about going out again. One part of me is thinking I don’t want them stopping me from doing these things but another part of me just doesn’t feel safe anymore," she said.

Virginia's friend Amy Bayliss, who was on the night out with her when she became unwell and put her into the recovery position while they waited for an ambulance, said the experience was terrifying for the group.

"It was horrible. It was very strange because Ginny is usually out until the lights come on and I have never seen her like that,” Amy said.

"It was just like a switch went off. It was so strange because we had only had three drinks.

"She went really downhill really quickly. It was so scary and we felt helpless."

Amy herself also plans to avoid town centre pubs, particularly Wetherspoons, after seeing her friend in that situation.

"I will not be going there again and I think the safety measures need to be looked at," she said.

"I will be giving town a wide berth without my husband. But then when are you safe?"

Suffolk Police say they are investigating the incident and enquiries are on-going.

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesperson said: "Police can confirm they received a report from a female victim of a possible drink spiking in Bury St Edmunds.

"On Saturday 27 November the 50-year-old had been drinking in a pub in the town when she had left her drink to go to the toilet.

"On her way from leaving the premises she said she felt unwell and she has then become unconscious in the toilets at another licensed venue."

They also confirmed that Virginia made a later call to report she had noticed a pin prick on her left knee.

A Wetherspoons spokesperson also confirmed the company was made aware of the incident on Monday and they are investigating it internally as well as assisting in Suffolk Police enquiries.

"Once we have established the exact circumstances, we will review the security arrangements at the pub as necessary, including our search policy when door supervisors are on duty," they said.

"We can confirm that on Friday and Saturday nights door supervisors are present on the door of the Corn Exchange from 7pm until close.

"While a search is not a condition of entry for all customers, door supervisors will search customers who display any signs of suspicious behaviour."

The spokesperson added that, in response to the recent increase in reported spiking incidents, Wetherspoons adopted extra measures nationwide including extra vigilance from staff, the Ask for Angela campaign, CCTV, body cameras and radios in use and drink lids available from the bar on request.