TWO family-run firms say they have been mistakenly targeted by animal rights extremists.

The Animal Liberation Front (ALF) has claimed responsibility for attacking property at Oxford Tiling Co, in Kidlington, and Tony Eldridge Scaffolding, in Cassington, because they work at Oxford University where a controversial animal testing laboratory is being built.

But both firms are mystified why they were attacked because neither works at the university.

The Oxford Tiling Co is a husband and wife team based in Kidlington, where extremists vandalised windows and slashed tyres leaving their only van out of operation.

Managing director Ian Mole said: "I'm shocked and surprised because we are not suppliers and never have been suppliers to the university. I wish I knew the connection.

"It's inconvenient. The only thing I can think is we often drive past the protesters to work on a house near the university."

A spokesman for Tony Eldridge Scaffolding - which was vandalised - said it had no contracts with the University or the laboratory and could not understand why it was targeted.

The extremists' Bite Back website claims activists attacked both firms to stop companies working at the University.

It adds: "We will stop businesses dealing with the Uni, the only question is how much money they decided (sic) to lose themselves first."

A police spokesman said officers were aware of the vandalism between Friday, November 30, and Saturday, December 1, and had an open mind over connections with extremists.