17:52 Monday 04 February 2013

Police chief in blast over 'stupid' air rifle attack

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

Inspector Paul Cannon Inspector Paul Cannon

A SENIOR police officer has slammed the ‘stupidity’ of a man who shot a pedestrian with an air rifle from inside a car.

An appeal has been launched to trace the thug after a passer-by was struck with a pellet as he walked along Ashby Road in Bretby.

Although the 24-year-old victim was not seriously hurt, Derbyshire Police have warned of the dangers that could have arisen from the situation.

Section inspector Paul Cannon said: “It is extremely unusual, I’ve never known anything like it. The guy was walking down Ashby Road towards Swadlincote from Burton, near Burton Golf Club, when he heard a pop and felt a pain in his back. He looked round and saw a silver car go past with a man holding what he describes as an air rifle. He had a slight reddening on his back which is conducive of that.”

The incident happened at around 3.20pm on Sunday, January 20. Police have only just released details in a bid to trace the man involved.

The shooter was holding the air rifle as he was sitting in the passenger seat of a silver car, with the attack believed to have been an isolated incident. Police said they had not received any other similar reports since the incident.

Insp Cannon said that the attack had the potential to create a very real danger not only for the victim, but also for the perpetrator himself.

He added: “Officers have spoken to him (the victim) and luckily, in this instance, it has been a minor incident, but as you can imagine anything being shot out of a gun is dangerous.

“There is no way he could have had proper control of it hanging out of a car and that causes concern as to what dangers that person could have caused. It’s just stupidity.

“We didn’t call the armed response unit, but if we had, and he had just heard a pop, you’re asking armed officers to make a quick judgement on what kind of weapon it is. Sometimes they have to make quick decisions and have to respond accordingly.

“It’s just an act of gross stupidity and while in this instance it was a minor offence, we’re keen to speak to him and warn him of the dangers he could cause.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call Derbyshire Police on 101 or alternatively Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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