Hundreds 'pricked with needles' at nightclubs and concerts in France

More than 300 people have reported being jabbed with needles at nightclubs or concerts across France in recent months.

Prosecutors are working on the case, but so far no-one knows why it is happening, or whether the victims have been injected with anything, such as drugs.

The latest needle attacks comes after a spate of ‘needle spiking’ reported in the UK.

One of those affected is Tomas Laux, 18, who was at a rap concert in Lille on May 4 when he says he was jabbed.

He had smoked some cannabis and drank some alcohol during the show but nothing he said explained why he felt dizzy and had a headache when he came home – or the strange skin puncture mark on his arm and a bruise.

The next morning, the symptoms did not disappear and Mr Laux went to his doctor, who advised him to go to hospital.

Medics confirmed evidence of a needle prick, and Mr Laux was tested for HIV and hepatitis. His results came back negative, like other victims’ so far.

‘I’ve given up going to concerts since it happened,’ he said.

Hundreds of miles away, Leanne Desnos, also 18, went to a club in Bordeaux in April.

She passed out the next day, and felt dizzy and had hot flashes while at a fast food restaurant.

When she got home, she realized she had an injection mark on her arm. After seeing people talk about needle spiking on social media, she went to a clinic to get tested for infections. She is still awaiting results.

People from Paris, Toulouse, Nantes, Nancy, Rennes, and other cities around France have reported being pricked with a needle without their knowledge or permission.

The targeted individuals, who are mostly women, show visible marks of injection, often bruises, and report symptoms like feeling groggy.

France’s national police agency says 302 people have filed formal complaints about such needle pricks.

Several police investigations are ongoing in different regions, but no suspect has been arrested yet, no needle has been found and the motive remains unclear.

People have been warned to be aware of the danger, with rapper Dinos even interrupting his concert to tell people to be vigilant and say ‘This has to stop.’

The French interior ministry launched a national awareness campaign this month as anxiety spread. Police are handing out leaflets to clubbers and discussing prevention measures with club owners.

No victims have reported sexual assault; one said he was robbed, in Grenoble in April, according to Le Monde newspaper.

Two people tested positive for GHB, and they might have ingested the drug in a drink, according to an official with the national police agency.

GHB, a powerful anaesthetic used by predators seeking to sexually abuse or assault victims, can only be detected in urine only for 12 hours.

But doctors expressed doubt that the needles contained GHB, as they said that it would need to be injected for several seconds, which most victims would notice.

Dr Emmanuel Puskarczyk, head of the poison control centre of the eastern French city of Nancy, said: ‘We didn’t find any drugs or substances or objective proof which attest to … administration of a substance with wrongful or criminal intent. What we fear the most is people contracting HIV, hepatitis or any infectious disease.’

In the Nancy hospital, a special procedure has been created for needle spiking cases. Patients who show symptoms like grogginess are treated, and blood and urine samples are kept for five days in case any want to press charges.

Dr Puskarczyk said: ‘Each case is different. We see injection marks, but some people don’t have symptoms. When potential victims have symptoms like discomfort or black holes (in their memory), they are not specific.

‘At this stage, we can’t talk about a specific modus operandi. There aren’t any similarities between the cases. The only thing similar is that people are being injected with a needle in a festive context in different places in France.’

Similar incidents involving people pricked with needles at nightclubs, a football match and during the Belgian Pride parade have been reported in neighbouring Belgium.

Organisers of the march said in a statement they were informed of several cases and urged potential victims to get checked at hospitals.

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