SEVEN children were found to be on the wrong side of the school gates by police and education welfare officers on the lookout for truants.
A total of 36 children were stopped and spoken to during the latest round of truancy sweeps in Halton. Seven of these - who were all secondary school age - didn't have a legitimate reason for being out of the classroom.
Officers took to the streets of Runcorn and Widnes on six separate days as part of the joint operation to crack down on truancy.
Officers were amazed by some of the excuses given by the truants, which included 'buying new shoes'.
Jackie Burke, Halton Borough Council education welfare officer, said: 'Those caught playing truant were taken back to school and follow up checks will now be carried out to make sure they are in class when they should be.
'The public were pleased to see our agencies working closely together to tackle this issue.'
Sergeant Andy Delooze, of Runcorn Community Action Team (CAT), said: 'Children are required by law to attend school and getting a good education is vital.