Police were searching Wednesday for a man who posted videos on the Internet showing himself goading two schoolboys into violently attacking each other.
The film clips uploaded to the video-sharing Web site YouTube show two young boys head butting, punching and stamping on each other while an adult behind the camera urges them on to ever bloodier acts.
The films — called "Lethal Fight (Crawley)" and "Lethal Fight 2" — were apparently recorded in a West Sussex bedroom and were posted five days ago.
The boys, who appear to be around 10 years old, are shown grappling after one was reduced to tears by a punch to the face.
A disembodied voice can be heard laughing and then urging further violence: “Oh come on, you’re not hugging each other, you little bitches.”
One of the children replies: “What do you want us to do then?”
“Anything. Best to, you know, smack the sh— out of each other," he is told.
West Sussex County Council's social services officers have launched an investigation into the footage, and children's charities condemned the cameraman.
"Fostering aggression between children is totally unacceptable," said a spokeswoman from the U.K.'s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
The Argus, Brighton’s local newspaper, discovered the footage and on Wednesday offered a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the video-maker.
The boys in the videos are seen in a small darkened bedroom wearing tracksuit trousers, T-shirts and no shoes. One appears to be slightly older than the other.
When the bigger boy attacks the other child, the adult is heard to giggle and shriek: “Oh a headbutt! Sick!”
YouTube has taken the two videos down and said it will help police with their investigations.
"YouTube is a community site used by millions of people in very positive ways," said a spokesman from the company. "Sadly as with any form of communication, there is a tiny minority of people who try to break the rules."
YouTube encouraged people to flag material they believe is inappropriate.
"If the content breaks our terms, then we remove it," the spokesman said. "If a user repeatedly breaks the rules, we disable their account."
The footage emerged on the day that Ed Balls, the Children’s Minister, announced a new initiative to curb cyberbullying.
The government’s cyberbullying task force includes representatives of the NSPCC as well as YouTube, MySpace and Bebo.
The group will publish a report into the phenomenon in July; on Wednesday, Balls asked for the bullying of teachers to be added to the study.
Sussex Police Detective Sergeant Richard Harris said authorities were investigating the video posted on YouTube this week.
“This appears to be a case of child cruelty and criminal behavior by any adult involved in the making of this appalling video," Harris said.
He vowed to prosecute the adult or adults involved in making the clip.