Firefighters have condemned youths who used cameraphones to take pictures of a young accident victim impaled on the brake handle of his bicycle.
The "ghoulish" incident - feared to be a new variant of the "happy slapping" craze - happened in the Lozells area of Birmingham as the nineyearold boy was being comforted by his mother.
West Midlands Fire Service spokesman Bill Gough said between ten and 15 teenagers gathered to take snaps of the boy in Wheeler Street, focusing on the area where his leg had been impaled.
Mr Gough said: "They were getting very close to take their photographs and it must have been really scary for the boy, who was obviously in great pain. The fire crew appealed to the crowd to allow them to get on with their work, but some said 'we were here first'."
Police then set up a cordon around the boy, giving firefighters and paramedics the space to work. Mr Gough added: "We appealed to people to move back and put the cameras away, but they weren't having any of it so we sent for the police. It was ghoulish and appears to be a by-product of 'happy slapping'." It is feared the images will be exchanged by youngsters across the UK within days.
Mr Gough said: "We appeal for people to show respect for victims and for them to allow the emergency services to do their job."