EAGLE-EYED young photographers from Blackbird Leys and The Oxford Academy have been awarded top marks in a special competition for snap-happy teens.

The fifth Leys Young Photographer of the Year contest saw hundreds of entries from youngsters all over the estate judged by a discerning panel.

After months of fevered photo-taking all over Oxfordshire, the contestants were whittled down to nine winners which were announced earlier this month at the Sandy Lane school.

Headteacher Niall McWilliams said: "The calibre of entries is always really high but I think this year it has proved even more so.

"As the programme progresses the students are becoming more aware of what the judges require and their skills are developing, so entries get better.

"The final entries made you feel proud. It shows the capacity of the school if the students believe they can achieve."

The competition was first run by local organisation the Leys Youth Programme - now called Thrive - after being dreamed up by its former director's teenage son.

Participants can enter photographs taken on any medium, from an old-school film camera to a digital SLR or even a smart phone.

This year's two themes were 'Atmospheres' and 'Textures', with £50 in vouchers given to each category winner within four age ranges, and £200 to an overall winner.

Jessica Tyrell, 12, walked away with the top prize for her stunning black-and-white image of city centre buildings reflected in a puddle.

Close behind her were a number of other keen entrants including Holly Cornish, 15, for her impromptu snap of a lightbulb at her grandparents' home in the Leys.

She said: "I got a camera for my birthday because I wanted to take photos more professionally, and I was playing around with the settings.

"I do art GCSE and my teacher explained the competition, and I just decided to enter my photos. I was proud of myself; I wasn't sure about photography at first but now I'm looking at it a bit more."

Eveie Allsworth, 12, braved the discomfort of lying flat on the ground in Radcliffe Square for her category-winning shot of the uneven cobblestones.

She said: "I didn't expect to win really and I was really happy. I didn't believe it; I was shocked."