POLICE have closed off a Didcot street after a 50-year-old man was found with a serious head injury in a house that smelt of petrol.

The victim is now in a critical condition at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital .

Police, who have launched an assault investigation, were called to the Park Close by the ambulance service at 6.18am today. The fire service was also called as officers and paramedics smelt a strong smell of a substance, believed to be petrol.

Det Insp John Turner, investigating the incidents, said: “The investigation into this incident is at a very early stage, and we have not established how the man came to be injured, however we are treating it as an assault at this time.

“I am keen to speak to anyone who saw any suspicious activity in the area or who has any information which may help officers with our enquiry.”

Neighbours were shocked by the incident.

Morris Scowen, of Park Road, said: "I was just walking up here and saw the activity. These things always seem to happen somewhere else."

Another resident said: "All they told us is it was a gas leak and we couldn't leave the house."

A woman who lives in a neighbouring street added: "It is such a calm street, nothing happens here."

NeighAnyone with details should call police on 101 or contact the Crimestoppers charity anonymously 0800 555111.