Police investigating a reported homophobic crime attack on two women in Sunderland say the incident may have been falsely reported.

The crime was alleged to have taken place last Friday on Burdon Lane in the city at 9.15pm and was reported as a group of youngsters attacking a female couple and using homophobic language.

A 15-year-old boy was then arrested in connection with the incident.

Sunderland Superintendent Jim Napier of Northumbria Police said: “I would like to thank those people who came forward in response to this appeal.

“We carried out expensive enquiries, viewed CCTV and spoke to eye witnesses, some of whom came forward as a result of our appeals in the media.

“As a result of these enquiries it has become clear that this incident may not be as it was first reported to us. However, enquiries are still ongoing.

“It now appears that the incident may revolve around an altercation between the two women.

“In this case it is emerging that the initial report we received was not the whole picture, however this does not change the fact that when we receive a report of a hate crime from a victim, we investigate it fully. We are committed to combatting hate crime.

“Homophobic abuse is a crime and should not be tolerated. I would urge people to report it. We will treat matters sensitively and confidentially.

“We want people to have the confidence to report incidents, safe in the knowledge that we will take their feelings into account and take appropriate action.

“We’re committed to helping victims of this type of crime. Everyone has the right to live their life free from harassment and the fear of crime, this includes hate crime.

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