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Universities probe fracas on ferry

University chiefs have launched their own inquiries into a drunken fracas on a cross-Channel ferry involving up to 200 students.

Bosses at ferry company P&O were so appalled at the misbehaviour that they refused to bring home the undergraduates on the return journey from Calais to Dover.

Four coachloads of students from the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University embarked on the journey organised by an external travel operator. Students from other northern universities were also thought to be on board in the early morning sailing on April 1 when the trouble broke out.

A P&O spokeswoman said they were forced to take all non-university passengers to an area of the Spirit of France ship which is usually an exclusive lounge so they were "out of harm's way".

It said the students were "clearly drunk" before they boarded the ship and their actions were "wholly unacceptable" as they reportedly smashed glasses and overturned furniture.

A spokesman for the University of Manchester said that an internal inquiry was under way and added it would try to help to identify any of the troublemakers. He said: "We are in dialogue with P&O and we have offered to assist them with identifying anyone from the university involved in criminal activity."

Manchester Metropolitan University said it was assisting P&O in a similar manner and had also started its own investigation into the incident.

Both inquiries will step up next week when the students who went on the trip are due to return from their Easter break. They returned to the UK from Dunkirk last week, courtesy of a different ferry company.

Disciplinary action against the students may follow depending on the outcome of the investigations. P&O confirmed it was in ongoing talks with both universities and had reported the incident to the police in Dover.

It had been reported the travelling party were on their way to a ski trip in the Alps but it has now emerged they were en route to Lloret de Mar in Spain. The excursion took place during the annual Saloufest in the town of Salou - nearly 100 miles away - which attracts large numbers of party-loving young Britons.


From Belfast Telegraph