FOUR teenagers have been given official reprimands by police after so-called happy slapping attacks at a Wirral school.

The year-nine pupils at Mosslands School in Wallasey were arrested after assaulting two boys in separate attacks and videoing it on phones.

The boys, all aged 13 or 14, now have a police file where the incidents are recorded and will be taken into account if they re-offend.

The incidents are the first reported in a Merseyside school since the craze erupted seven months ago.

In the first attack, one teenager hit a year-seven pupil, who was on his way to lessons after registration, while the other recorded it. The victim was left bruised.

The second assault was on a year nine boy who had been told to lie down and rest by a teacher because he was feeling unwell.

One pupil came up to him and hit him, leaving him with cuts and bruises, while the other filmed it on his video phone.

Police were called in to investigate and seized the mobile phones as evidence.

They also quizzed other children and teachers before reprimanding the boys concerned for assault and conspiracy to assault.

Insp Phil Davies said: "I'm confident that by working with the school involved and dealing with the youngsters in a robust manner this type of cowardly offence will be eliminated."

A school liaison officer from Merseyside police was sent into the school to warn pupils of the punishment they could face for carrying out happy slapping attacks.

John Mayes, Merseyside representative for the NASUWT, said: "The name sounds a bit soft but happy slapping is assault. It's serious.

"Bringing the police in was the right course of action as this cannot, and will not, be tolerated in schools. Hopefully being officially reprimanded will make the pupils realise how serious it is and prevent them from doing this again."

Happy slapping is believed to have started in London.

Victims are selected at random and attacked, then videos of the slaps are sent to other mobile phones and posted on the internet.

In June, a gang of youths used a mobile phone to film a happy slapping attack on a Merseyside couple as they walked home at night.

Steve and Mirryn Lloyd were attacked by a gang as one of the yobs videoed it on his mobile phone.

Mrs Lloyd, 25, suffered a cut and bruised head in the attack.

A spokeswoman for Wirral council said: "We take incidents of bullying which are reported to us extremely seriously and those involved will be dealt in an appropriate manner."