FORTY people were treated by paramedics after an irritant - suspected to be CS spray - was released inside a Bournemouth nightclub.

Cameo, in Fir Vale Road, was evacuated at around 2am on Saturday after revellers complained of shortness of breath and stinging eyes.

One person was taken to hospital as a precaution.

The venue, which holds several thousand people, was 'absolutely packed' as clubbers watched headline act rapper Yungen perform.

Cameo has called the incident a "senseless act".

The club was evacuated and an area outside the venue was cordoned off where revellers received treatment from paramedics.

Police are studying CCTV of the club and have launched an investigation into the incident.

Josh Wilde, 20, a multimedia student at Bournemouth University, said: "The club was absolutely packed, there were thousands in there, and everyone was waiting for the headliner.

"It was so strange as there was no real panic or cloud of smoke.

"Initially I thought someone had thrown something onto the stage or the headliner's mic was not working as he came off stage.

"Then, a firefighter came in to the room and a security guard told us to leave the premises.

"When my group got outside there was a massive emergency services presence with police, fire and paramedics.

"They had cordoned off an area where they were treating people who were coughing and tearing up.

"A couple of people told me they were struggling to breathe.

"A police officer told me someone had let off a canister but no one would give more information.

"At the time it happened there was no fire alarm or announcement on the tanoy, we were just told by the security guards to leave.

"The whole thing was very unsettling."

Dorset Police said there was no evidence the substance released posed a 'continuing risk' to the public.

A force spokesman said said: "At 2am today, (September 29), Dorset Police received a report that some type of irritant, possibly CS spray, had been released within the Cameo nightclub in Bournemouth.

"Following a decision by the management of the premises to evacuate, around 40 people were treated by the ambulance service for minor effects such as shortness of breath and stinging eyes. One person was taken to hospital as a precaution.

"Officers searched the premises with assistance from the fire service and there was no evidence of any chemical or noxious substance that posed a continuing risk to the public.

"An investigation into the incident is ongoing."

Pictures on social media show crowds of clubbers gathered in the street outside as police and ambulances attended the scene.

A spokesman for Cameo Bournemouth said: “This was a senseless act which ruined an otherwise great evening.

"The safety of our customers is always our main priority and we quickly brought the situation under control and evacuated the club.

"We hope everyone involved feels better today and will be working closely with the police to make sure the offender is caught.

"Thorough checks have been carried out and we will be open as usual tonight.”

Rapper Yungen had been performing at the club. A large of student were present as part of an event to mark university freshers' week.

He later said on Twitter: "Everyone that just come to see me in Bournemouth as I'm sure all of you could see the police shut off my mic without saying anything mid performance because apparently someone sprayed pepper spray ... I hope everyone's safe."

An investigation into the incident is under way.

This morning, at 9am, there were no police at the scene and a notice had been pinned to the door advising people they would be able to collect their cloakroom items from 10am.