There is no evidence that a soldier who was seriously injured when he was knocked down by a car after an altercation in a club was targeted "due to his service in the Army or that it is motivated by racism", police have said.

The 21-year-old Yorkshire regiment serviceman, named locally as Joshua Adams-Mitchell was hit by a blue Mercedes in the early hours of New Year's Day outside the TBC nightclub in Batley, police said.

It is understood that Mr Adams-Mitchell suffered damage to one lung, facial fractures and possible nerve damage to one leg which has left him unable to walk.

West Yorkshire Police said officers are treating the incident as a serious assault and have arrested a 27-year-old man.

The incident provoked claims on social media that the soldier had been targeted by a large group of Asian men who overheard him talking about his military service.

The claims were fuelled by a post by English Defence League founder and convicted fraudster Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

Chief Inspector Ben Ryder said: "We would like to reassure service personnel that police have no evidence that the victim has been targeted due to his service in the Army, or that it is motivated by racism.

"We remain open-minded and would urge anyone who witnessed the incident or has any further information to come forward to assist with our investigation."

A police spokesman said a man had been arrested as part of the investigation into the incident outside the club in Bradford Road, close to the junction with Hick Lane.

He confirmed there was an altercation inside the club involving a a group of men which then continued outside.

The spokesman said the Mercedes was driven away from the scene but was later recovered by police.

He said: "Police can confirm that the 21-year-old male victim in this matter is a serving member of HM Forces.

"The victim is in a serious but stable and conscious state, talking to family at his bedside and, when he is ready, the police will be speaking to him.

"The full circumstances leading to the point at which the victim was struck by the vehicle are under investigation.

"A 27-year-old man from Dewsbury has been arrested on suspicion on section 18 wounding with intent."

Claims about the incident involving a large group of Asian men spread across social media, but others took to social media to challenge this version of events.

One witness said she saw some men trying to fight the victim in the street but he did not want to get involved.

She told the Huddersfield Examiner she helped him after he was thrown into the air by the car which she said was travelling at 50mph.

The woman said: "I thought he was going to die.

"It was disgusting. I have never seen anything like it in my life. I just hope he is OK."

By Dave Higgens