Police claim Oxfordshire race attack was hoax

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The Independent Online

Police investigating an alleged racist attack on an Oxfordshire teenager believe the incident never happened.

Earlier this week Chris Barton, 17, was pictured in newspapers with a burned face and arms and is reported to have said four white thugs sprayed him with petrol before setting him on fire with cigarette lighters.

Following a report in The Sun newspaper, a spokesman for Thames Valley Police said: "Following an allegation of a racial attack on a 17-year-old mixed race youth which allegedly happened in Berinsfield at around 12.15am on Friday April 2, detectives have carried out a full and detailed investigation.

"Thames Valley Police treated the case very seriously and committed a large number of detectives and one of our four senior investigating officers to the case.

"All the detectives have worked in a highly professional manner and for long hours through the past six days. They are now of the opinion that the racist attack never occurred.

"However the investigation has led to three people from Oxfordshire being arrested."

A 41-year-old man, a 37-year-old man and a 17-year-old youth were arrested yesterday morning on suspicion of committing criminal deception and are being questioned about various matters.