TWO boys aged 10 and 11 are in police custody after a vicious attack in a Doncaster village left another boy with life-threatening head injuries.
A fourth boy was also seriously injured in the incident in the Brick Ponds area of Edlington.
Residents have said the two victims, aged nine and 11, had been hit with a brick, slashed with a knife and burned with cigarettes.
The victims were riding their bikes when their attackers confronted them.
After refusing to hand over their possessions the boys were tortured with burning cigarettes, cut with a knife "from head to toe" and then beaten with bricks, according to witnesses.
The older boy - believed to be the younger one's uncle - was then allegedly pushed down the steep 30ft embankment and suffered a serious head injury.
It is thought their mobile phones, trainers and about 3 in cash were stolen.
Police were called at around 2.20pm on Saturday to reports that an injured child, said to be dazed and covered in blood, had been spotted on Auburn Road by a member of the public.
The nine-year-old, who had suffered facial injuries and an injured arm believed to be caused by a knife, was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary for surgery.
The 11-year-old was found at a nearby ravine.
He was airlifted to Sheffield Children's Hospital. He was in a critical but stable condition in intensive care.
The two suspects were found by police in allotments near the ravine shortly after the attack. There were being questioned by detectives. It is believed police will be applying to magistrates for more time to question the boys.
An area of the Brick Ponds - a disused quarry - was still sealed off this morning.
Police are conducting house-to-house inquiries and a police spokesman said there was a "visible police presence" in Edlington.
The nine-year-old boy is expected to undergo more surgery.