POLICE handcuffed a student and took his fingerprints and DNA after he tried to throw a bottle of water to tree protesters.

Jonathan Leighton, a student at St Anne's College, was arrested at 2am on Sunday in Bonn Square, Oxford, after he tried to give the water to tree protester Gabriel Chamberlain.

Mr Leighton's throw fell short of the sycamore, landing on the ground nearby - and the 18-year-old was arrested on suspicion of littering.

He said: "I shouted up to Gabriel that I was going to throw the water to him, but it was a bit of a rubbish throw and it didn't make it.

"The next thing I know, these police officers had run over to me and said they were arresting me.

"I said to them, 'what for?' and they said it was for littering. I couldn't really believe what was happening. I just remember shouting over to my friends: I'm being arrested'."

Chamberlain occupied the sycamore for 12 days to protest against Oxford City Council chopping down the trees to redevelop the area.

Mr Leighton was handcuffed and taken to St Aldate's police station, where he was held for three hours while he had his fingerprints, DNA and photograph taken.

He was eventually released without charge at 5.15am, but the student felt the arresting officers "abused their power" and said he was seeking legal advice.

Mr Leighton said: "The police need to be held accountable for their actions. I feel their actions were completely over the top and unnecessary. There was absolutely no need to arrest me.

"Even if I don't pursue legal action, I will still be reporting the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. I think the whole thing has been ridiculous."

The student, from Reading, said he supported the protesters as he disagreed with the tree felling.

He said: "I don't think the plans for the site are very good. I'm up for improving Bonn Square, but I don't see the need to cut down trees that are more than 100 years old.

"Oxford is a historic city and it should try to keep that heritage, not destroy it."

Police would not comment about Mr Leighton's complaints.

Chief Supt Brendan O'Dowda confirmed a man was arrested for littering in Bonn Square and was released without charge.

He added: "I can't go into the whys and wherefores of the arrest itself."

He said he was not aware of an official complaint to Thames Valley Police about the arrest, but said there was a robust process for dealing with complaints.

In 2005, Oxford police arrested a student for calling a police horse gay'. He was charged with threatening words and behaviour, but the Crown Prosecution Service dropped the case.

  • Chamberlain and two other people, all arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass over the Bonn Square demonstrations, have been released on police bail pending further inquiries.