POLICE and residents have warned 'someone could get seriously hurt' after air gun pellets were fired 'at children's height' on a road in Beaminster narrowly missing a passer-by.
Beat manager at Beaminster Police Station Tim Poole told how an air gun pellet was fired and struck the rail of a fence which runs beside a footpath on Hardy Close.
He added: “The pellet was very close to one of the residents who was walking nearby at the time and struck the fence at a height of three foot six.
“It has also left a mark in the fence which shows the strength of the pellet.
“We believe from the mark left on the fence that the air gun would have been fired from someone in the area of the car park adjacent to Hardy Close.
“The bottom line is someone could get seriously hurt, and the concerning thing is the pellet was the height of a child's face or eye level.
“Had a child been running round that corner at the time, it doesn't bear thinking about what could have happened.
“I know it was an air gun but that doesn't make incidents like this any less scary.
“I would urge anyone with any information to get in touch.”
One Hardy Close resident, who did not wish to be named, said she was walking past when the air gun pellet was fired.
She added: “If I would have taken one more step forward at the time the pellet would have hit me.
“So many little children play here and Hardy Close is also on many children's school route.
“Anybody going into Bridport also uses that footpath into Hardy Close.
“People have been firing air gun pellets in this area for some time, approximately four years if not more.
“My friends find the pellets in their gardens and I've also heard that people's cats and dogs have been shot with the pellets.
“If anybody can help please come forward and put a stop to this.
“We have all become so blasé about things like this, but it won't be long until someone is seriously hurt; it's only a matter of time.”
The incident happened between 2.45pm and 3pm on June 24. No arrests have been made.
Anyone with information should contact Dorset Police on 101 quoting crime reference number 25466.
Strict rules for air weapons
AN air weapon differs from a conventional firearm by the fact that it and the pellets discharged do not contain any explosive substance.
When the trigger is pulled the pellets are forced from the barrel by the discharge of compressed air or other gas.
BB guns or ball bearing guns, also known as soft air guns, are legally sold in shops and on the internet.
You must be 18 to purchase an air weapon.
Carrying one in public is an offence unless there is 'reasonable excuse'. It is an offence for anyone to fire an air weapon beyond the boundary of any private premises without consent from the person whose land they are firing over or into.