THE police appear to have been caught lying about their conduct at Sunday's boat race.

Having already been accused of 'intimidation and aggressive behaviour', the Metropolitan Police repeatedly claimed that it had not seized any items from a group of anti-fossil fuel student activists from Oxford and Cambridge.

First report: Boat Race: Police accused of 'aggression and intimidation'

But video evidence obtained by the Oxford Mail shows officers did indeed confiscate a bag - which activists say had a banner inside - and other items.

Video: Joe Cook

In one of at least five videos directly contradicting the force's version of events, an officer even says he has 'confiscated a very large amount of cable ties'.

Oxford University students had been planning to unfurl a 20-metre banner reading 'Oxbridge Come Clean' on Hammersmith Bridge, but claim their 'peaceful, legal' protest was impeded by police aggression.

The group say the force's conduct and later comments are 'deeply embarrassing'.

Oxford Mail:

Asked to comment on the initial accusations, Metropolitan Police Spokeswoman Laura Wilson said: "Officers became concerned about people in the crowded area potentially being in possession of fireworks and causing a safety hazard to those in the vicinity. A number of other individuals were also seen acting suspiciously.

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"As a result, three men and four women were stop and searched under Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act.

"No items were seized."

After being asked by the Mail to clarify whether the police had not seized any items, or taken the banner away at all, she insisted: "I’ve spoken to the officers and the banner wasn’t taken away from protesters."

But multiple videos clearly show a bag, which activists tell police contains the banner, being taken away from protesters, in full view of a number of officers.

Oxford Mail: Picture: Joe CookPicture: Joe Cook

Confronted with some of the evidence, Ms Wilson later conceded: "In order to conduct an effective stop and search, some items were temporarily held whilst officers carried out a number of searches. However, no items were seized by police."

Protesters say the cable ties were not returned but the banner was.

In a joint statement with co-organisers Cambridge Zero Carbon, Oxford Climate Justice Campaign called on the force to apologise.

The groups said: "(We) strongly condemn the lies about seized property issued by an official spokesperson of the Met Police. This messy attempt to hide the truth about police heavy-handedness demonstrates that even the Met’s own representatives are aware that officers were entirely unjustified in their repression of our peaceful, legal protest."

Arguing that their stunt was 'meticulously' planned 'not to disrupt or disturb the racers', the statement added: "Our goal was to use a public platform to call upon our universities to remove their untenable investments in fossil fuel companies. In impeding the free expression of this message, the police are complicit in upholding the damaging status quo.

"These revelations are deeply embarrassing for the police."