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Gun Warning After Spate Of Scares

Youths who play with air guns could find themselves surrounded by armed officers, Warwickshire police are warning.

Nearly 70 per cent of firearm incidents between October and December 1999 involved either an air weapon, a bb gun (ball bearing gun) or a replica firearm.

Officers are calling on young people in the county to be careful of the weapons.

They say regularly recover these types of weapons and are concerned that one day a young person will be involved in a tragic accident.

Every time there is a report of someone carrying or using a firearm, armed officers are called out.

Each situation is dealt with according to the circumstances. In the vast majority of instances the incident is dealt with in a low-key style and no real problems are experienced

But police are worried that if a situation became confrontational because a young person failed to follow police instruction, a potentially lethal situation could be created.

They have issued the following examples of the folly of carrying air weapons.

In Nuneaton last November, armed officers were called to the town centre after a teenager carrying a gun had frightened parents and children.

The gun, although a replica, was very realistic. Armed officers surrounded the 15-year-old boy at Attleborough after he pointed the gun at a passer-by.

Last February, officers arrested a 15 year-old local youth after he shot at two boys, aged 10 and 14 injuring one in the back and one in the leg.

He had previously been firing at wildlife in Nuneaton Park. The youth was subsequently charged with assault and appeared at the youth court on March 24.  He is due to reappear at the court on April 14.

In Rugby last November, youths were seen firing at wildlife on the canal towpath.

Officers had previously been called to the canal following reports of youths firing at canal barges.

Earlier in the year officers were called to Newbold-on-Avon after the public reported youths firing at horses in a field.

Police are also warning of the danger of air weapons when safety guidelines are not followed.

In Stratford last January a boy aged 16 from Solihull was taken to hospital after a ball bearing injured his eye.

The youth and his three friends were larking about in a bedroom when the gun was fired accidentally. The ball bearing penetrated his retina and he is still being monitored by doctors.
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CWN / Crimes, Fires & Accidents / Warwickshire Constabulary / 10 Apr 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM