Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Students burned in branding caper

University of Exeter
The university said it was the first incident of its kind

Fifteen university students have been permanently scarred after branding themselves with heated coat hangers.

The group from the University of Exeter branded their chests with the initial of the halls they lived in last year.

A reshaped metal coat hanger was heated on a stove before being pressed against the participants' flesh for 10 seconds.

Following the private house party last month, three of the branded students were treated in hospital and given antibiotics to fight infections.

A burns specialist has warned the students will have permanent scarring.

'No coercion'

According to the university's student newspaper, Exepose, one of the students involved said it had not been a spontaneous action, but had been talked about and planned.

It was viewed as a challenge by a group of friends with "a bit of a daredevil culture", the student added.

Onlookers said large amounts of alcohol had been consumed at the party, but another unnamed student added there was no coercion involved.

A spokeswoman for the university said: "This is the first incident of its kind and it is not one we would condone.

"Nevertheless we wish the students involved a speedy recovery."

There would be no formal investigation into the incident, the university spokeswoman added.

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