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Police hunt thug who stabbed five women with needles in city centre leaving them fearing they had been infected with HIV

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Police are hunting a thug suspected of stabbing five women with hypodermic needles while on nights out in a city centre.

The party-goers - aged between 20 and 30 - were all enjoying evenings in Birmingham when a man plunged a syringe into them as they walked along the street.

Three of the girls are now enduring agonising waits to find out if they have contracted HIV.

The assaults all occurred in Broad Street - the city's main night-time entertainment district - outside bustling clubs and bars at around 3am.

Yesterday detectives released a CCTV image of a suspect they want to speak to in connection with the series of attacks on innocent revellers.

The most recent assault happened at around 3am on November 3 when a 30-year-old woman had a needle jabbed into her thigh.

Police believe the attack is linked to two similar incidents earlier in the year when a 20-year-old suffered a puncture wound on June 23 and a 28-year-old was stabbed on October 6.

The three women are all facing anxious six-month waits to see whether they have contracted Hepatitis B or other blood-related diseases.

Two other women previously stabbed with a needle on Broad Street - which sees over 50,000 revellers each weekend - have since been given the all clear.

Detective Inspector Julie Woods, from West Midlands Police, said: 'We have received five reports in total over the last year-and-a-half and although the women have not been left with any obvious physical injuries they have had to endure an agonising wait to check that they have not suffered any long-lasting health effects.

'Whilst we have been unable to confirm exactly how the injuries were caused, it is believed that a hypodermic needle may have been used on each occasion, with young women being specifically targeted.

'Due to the nature of the offences, victims have not realised they have been injured until hours or days later, which has resulted in limited lines of enquiry.

'But we now have a particularly clear image of a man we want to identify in connection with the attacks and I would appeal for him, or anyone who knows who he may be, to come forward.

These are strange offences and the motive at this stage is unclear, which is why it's so important for us to identify the person in this CCTV image as soon as possible.

'Birmingham remains one of the safest cities in the UK in which to enjoy a night out but if anyone sees any suspicious activity, I would encourage them to report it to police immediately.

Police have since stepped up patrols in a bid to reassure people visiting Birmingham city centre.

Superintendent Danny Long added: 'This is an unusual offence which will understandably cause some concern and we are working extremely hard to find the person responsible.

'We have increased the number of officers on patrol in Broad Street and around the city centre, particularly since the attack earlier this month, and are working closely with street wardens, street pastors, licensees, door staff and clubbers themselves to keep people safe.'

Adapted from Daily Mail