A Sikh schoolboy who claimed he had his hair cut off in a racial attack invented the story, it has emerged.
The 15-year-old Asian boy claimed he was set upon by a gang of four white youths in Pilrig Park in Edinburgh last month.
Police were called in after he alleged they kicked and punched him to the ground, before cutting off his hair after his bandana came loose.
However, it emerged later the teenager had in fact punched himself in the face and cut off his own hair.
Hair is a religious symbol for Sikhs and it is strictly against their faith to have it shorn.
A few days after the boy made the claims, scores of Sikhs gathered in the park for a prayer vigil.
More than 200 people from across Britain attended the event.
Lothian and Borders Police mounted a large-scale investigation into the youngster’s claims.
They set up a dedicated text service and email address for people to contact them and also visited local high schools.
But it is understood that when officers spoke to the boy again, he told them he had done it himself.
The teenager is believed to have had personal problems and was also having cultural identity issues brought about by differences between his Sikh upbringing and Western society.
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders police said: “The boy has expressed deep regret for what he has done.”
The teenager is unlikely to face charges for wasting police time because a prosecution is not felt to be in the public interest.