Charges after youths branded

A Clyde youth who allegedly ''branded'' two teenagers who fell asleep at parties by using a heated cigarette lighter to burn a crescent shape on their face will appear in the Alexandra District Court today.

The unemployed 17-year-old will face two counts of injuring with intent to disfigure, Detective Sergeant Derek Shaw, of Alexandra, said yesterday.

''Police have received two complaints about this happening at parties but we think there are more victims of these kinds of attacks out there and they might come forward now.

''The parties, in the Alexandra and Clyde area in the last couple of weeks, have involved young people aged 15, 16 and 17, and because the victims may have been affected by alcohol to some degree, they might have been reluctant to report the incident."

Victims would have been left with a crescent-shaped burn, referred to as a ''smiley'', made by heating the metal end of a cigarette lighter to use as a ''brand'', Det Sgt Shaw said.

''The victims were drinking and we understand if anyone fell asleep during the party, they would have been targeted using this method."

Some people might have been burned on their arm instead of their face, he said.

The practice appeared to have been common among these teenagers, but was ''very disturbing'' and the burn caused a scar which was a permanent disfigurement.

Anyone who had been burnt in that way at a party was asked to contact Alexandra police.