French police have taken DNA samples from hundreds of male pupils and staff to help them find an attacker who raped a 16-year-old girl in the toilets of a school in western France last September.

Two police officers on Monday began to take DNA samples from 475 school boys, 31 teachers and 21 staff believed present at the Catholic secondary school in La Rochelle at the time of the attack.

The victim was attacked in the dark and was unable to identify her attacker but police managed to retreive DNA samples from her clothing.

Six months later, the public prosecutor in the area, Isabelle Pagenelle, decided to order mass DNA tests. Sampling is due to be completed by mid-week and test results are expected in a month.

"The operation began calmly at 8am," Anne-Sophie Guilbot, a spokeswoman for the Fenelon-Notre-Dame school, told the Reuters news agency

Source: Reuters