2007 - SUMMARIES

JANUARY 2007 - SUMMARY

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  • Youths and Gun Crime - In December 2006 a report commissioned by the Home Office (see News Items) included a warning that a quarter of those who went on to commit serious gun crime had "first experienced airguns and BB guns, typically in their early teens"Earlier this month Sussex Police released a shocking report about the level of gun crime among young people in their county, which highlighted the numbers who were committing offences with imitation guns (see News Items).

  • Sadly this month's incidents provide too many further instances of a continuing involvement of the under 21s in all aspects of gun crime.  More details can be found below, but among the incidents were an armed raid on a shop in Stranraer involving boys as young as 12, a street robbery in which two teenagers held up a man with a replica gun, the hold up and robbery of a bus driver by three youths and the attempted hold up of another driver by someone aged about 14 or 15, a shooting in which a 19-year-old fired an airgun into his 16-year-old girlfriend's face causing her serious injuries, and two separate incidents in which passengers were shot at or intimidated by young people firing BB guns on trains.  Around the country a number of people aged 21 or under were arrested for having imitation guns in public or for targeting people, animals and property with airguns.  Those who attempt to dismiss some of these incidents as youthful antics or pranks should put themselves in the position of the victims and consider how frightened they would be if a gun were pointed at them, not knowing if the weapon were real or imitation, or reflect that when an airgun is fired at a person it may not just cause a bruise but has the potential to inflict a fatal injury.

  • Would impressionable youngsters still commit so many of these crimes if airguns and imitation guns were less easily available and young people actively discouraged from using guns by all agencies and organisations?  Gun Control Network is sure they would not.  For too long many of the weapons used in these crimes have been considered as little more than toys, whilst shooting with potentially lethal guns has been promoted as an appropriate and character building activity for young people.  Both views send out the wrong message about these dangerous and frightening weapons.

  • To stop any more of these guns getting into the hands of young people and others who might misuse them, we hope that the Government speeds up the introduction of the measures from last year's Violent Crime Reduction Act which restrict airgun sales to registered dealers and their ownership and unsupervised use to the over 18s, and which ban the sale, manufacture and import of imitation guns.  And they should do so without introducing any loopholes.

  • Soft air weapons are extremely realistic-looking military-style imitation firearms used solely for and as an integral part of a pastime, skirmishing.  According to the latest Home Office statistics for England and Wales soft air weapons, together with BB guns, accounted for 84 percent of all imitation weapons used in crime in 2005/06, yet Home Office Ministers propose that an exemption can be made so that soft air weapons are still available.  This would drive a coach and horses through new legislation that was supposed to prevent the sale of anything that resembled a real gun, which existing soft air weapons certainly do.  It seems quite possible that features (such as a change of colour) could be incorporated allowing soft air weapons to be readily distinguishable from real guns.

  • The Government and others will also need to recognise that the problem won't just disappear once gun sales become more restricted.  Despite increasing concern over a period of years the Government took too long to introduce even these measures.  In the meantime the number of weapons in circulation has been allowed to grow.  This continued easy availability has been reflected over the decade in a huge increase in the level of crime involving imitation guns (566 offences in England and Wales in 1998/99 rising to 3275 in 2005/06).  There will therefore be a need for additional measures, not least ones which promote a change of attitude towards guns by both youngsters and parents, together with an amnesty aimed at removing many of the guns already in circulation.  If these measures are not taken it seems inevitable that the problems with youths and gun crime will continue for some time to come.

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - Most of the incidents resulting in fatal or serious injuries occurred in the London area.  Of the other incidents we noted, two occurred in Scotland and one in Northamptonshire.

  • Three victims were killed in shooting incidents in London: in Barking a man died in what was described as a gangland-style shooting, in Cricklewood a man was fatally wounded with his own air rifle during a robbery in his home (see below) and in Brentford a man was killed when he was shot with a machine gun.  The body of a man, apparently shot in the face with a shotgun in a gangland hit, was found in Rigside (South Lanarkshire).

  • Three victims were injured, one critically, during a shooting at a nightclub in Islington (north London): two people had been injured in another shooting at the same club two days earlier.  A second man was injured during the machine gun attack in Brentford (west London) in which another victim died.

  • A man received injuries to his legs in a shooting in Wellingborough (Northamptonshire).  A male victim was shot in a residential street in Nitshill (Glasgow).

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - As we have noted previously, because of the difficulty in identifying a weapon (often the description is of one looking like a handgun) it seems likely that a significant number of the incidents summarised below will have involved an imitation gun, a view supported by the increasing number of convictions for robbery involving an imitation weapon.

  • Two men forced their way into a woman's house in Deighton (Huddersfield) at gunpoint and stole property.  A gun was fired at the door of a house in Shawclough (Rochdale) by burglars who stole a purse.

  • Security guards were robbed of thousands of pounds in Chippenham (Wiltshire) and in Kilmarnock (Ayrshire).

  • Tamworth FC's clubhouse was raided after an FA Cup game by men armed with a shotgun and a knife who stole several thousand pounds.

  • Two young boys held up at store in Stranraer at gunpoint - three 13-year-olds were later arrested.  There were robberies and attempted robberies on other shops and supermarkets in Langley (Buckinghamshire), Chippenham (Wiltshire), Newsome (Huddersfield) (a weapon was fired), Bromsgrove (Worcestershire), Tredworth (Gloucester) (where the robber was overpowered by the shopkeeper), Penge, South Norwood and Thornton (the last three incidents in south London may be linked), Chesterfield, Southbourne (Sussex) and Wigan, off licences in Bradley (Huddersfield) and Blyth (Northumberland) (a handgun was fired as the raiders escaped), a post office in Livingston (West Lothian) and petrol stations in Chesterfield (by the man also responsible for the raid on a Chesterfield shop) and Wickham (Hampshire).

  • A taxi driver was robbed at gunpoint of money and his mobile phone in Sherwood (Nottingham) and a bus driver was held up at gunpoint in Anerley (south London) and robbed of personal possessions.  In another bus incident in Conisbrough (South Yorkshire) the driver was threatened by a boy aged between 14 and 15 armed with a handgun but he managed shut the doors and drove off.

  • Other Incidents - Following an armed siege in Chilcompton (Somerset) involving a man thought to be armed with a firearm and explosives police fired a stun gun and a baton round - a man was arrested.  Another man was arrested in Newton Poppleford (Devon) after police received a report of a man armed with a firearm and a knife.

  • Streets in Nottingham and Bristol were closed off after reports of shots being fired.  Police cordoned off part of a residential area in Portsmouth after reports of a man being fired at, possibly with an air pistol.

  • A firearm was brandished in a pub in Bitterne (Southampton) shortly before the premises was firebombed.

  • A prisoner, who was later recaptured, escaped when two armed men released him from an ambulance at Hammersmith Hospital in west London.

  • Smuggling, Thefts and Losses - Three Lithuanian nationals were given long jail sentences (one for ten years and two for eleven years) after being found guilty of smuggling converted pistols into Britain.

  • The pistol used by a man to kill four members of his family in Newcastle was brought back to this country from Bosnia after the man had served there with the army (see below).

  • A shotgun and an air rifle were stolen from a house in Duffield, Derby.

  • Convictions (see also Imitation Guns and Airgun Incidents) - An 18-year-old will serve at least 17 years for the murder of a man in Duntocher (Glasgow) whom he shot with a powerful hunting rifle.

  • A second man has been convicted of the murder of a man in Bulwell (Nottinghamshire) in August 2003 - he supplied the gun used to shoot the victim and will serve a minimum of 18 years.

  • A man pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of four members of his family in Newcastle on the grounds of diminished responsibility - he shot all his victims with a pistol he had brought back from Bosnia where he served as a soldier.

  • An elderly man will be sentenced later for shooting and injuring his love rival with a borrowed shotgun at an allotment in Orsett (Essex).

  • A man has been given a 16-year-jail sentence after being found guilty of attempted murder following a shooting incident in Fen Ditton (Cambridge) (details in November 2006 Incidents).

  • An eight-year-jail sentence was given to a man who carried out a series of armed robberies in south London - he faced seven counts of possessing a firearm.  Six men have been jailed for minimum terms of five years to ten years following a bank raid in Ashton (Preston) in which a pistol was fired from the getaway car.

  • Airguns - A man was killed with his own high-power air rifle which was lying in his home in Cricklewood (north west London) when it was raided by a gang of three men, one of whom shot him in the chest during a struggle.

  • In Paulton (Somerset) a 16-year-old girl was seriously injured when she was shot in the face with an air rifle by her 19-year-old boyfriend.

  • Armed police were called to the car park of a retail park in Colne after someone fired an air rifle at cars, hitting one man in the back of his head.  An 18-year-old was hit with an airgun pellet whilst walking in the street in Scotstoun (Glasgow) and other people reported being fired at in the same area - a 20-year-old was arrested.  Three youths, aged 14 and 15, were arrested following incidents in Eaglestone (Buckinghamshire) in which a number of people were hit with airgun pellets.

  • Police have described how a serial sniper has been targeting motorists in Greenbank (County Durham): 34 incidents have occurred since January last year.

  • Three men, all under-21, were questioned after an air rifle was brandished out of the window of a van at Dunsop Bridge in Lancashire.

  • Three men and a woman were arrested in Wrexham after windows were damaged by somebody firing an airgun.  Vandals may have been using air rifles repeatedly to cause expensive damage to a swimming centre in Norwich.  Police believe an air weapon was used in an attack at a family home in Seaburn (County Durham) in which a kitchen window and a car window were smashed.  In Peterhead (Grampian) a special needs school and a house have been damaged in air weapon attacks.

  • Two men were given suspended custodial sentences (51 weeks and 30 weeks) after threatening people with an air rifle and a samurai sword at Ockham (Surrey).

  • A man was given a conditional discharge after being spotted in a Halifax pub with an air rifle.

  • A Wiltshire man who, as a result of a previous jail sentence, was not permitted to have a firearm has been given a three month sentence for being in possession of an air rifle (details in October 2006 Incidents).

  • Imitation Guns - Two teenagers armed with a replica gun held up a man in Beckenham and stole his wallet and mobile phone.

  • Two incidents involving youths firing BB guns on trains were reported during January.  Two elderly women train passengers were targeted with a BB gun on a train between Aberdeen and Stonehaven - two 14-year-olds, a boy and a girl, have been charged.  Four male youths fired a gun at one another on a train and as they stepped onto the platform at Hove station before stealing alcohol from a shop - police were questioning three teenagers and a 20-year-old.

  • A 16-year-old was charged with possession of an imitation firearm after an incident at Stanton Hill (Nottinghamshire).

  • Cars on the A361 in Devon were attacked by someone firing what were probably BB gun pellets.

  • Three men, aged 21 and 20, were arrested in Lincoln after a man was seen with a gun in the street - two BB guns were recovered.  A 17-year-old was arrested after a gun was pointed at a BBC reporter in West Howe, Bournemouth - the weapon was confirmed to be a BB gun.

  • A man faces jail for a string of armed robberies in Hampshire in which he threatened staff of four stores and petrol stations with an imitation gun.  Another man has pleaded guilty to a number of charges including two relating to a doorstep robbery in which he pointed an imitation weapon (an airgun) at an elderly couple in Weston-super-Mare.

  • Following an incident in Boston a man has been jailed for two years for possessing an imitation gun (an 8 mm blank-firing pistol) with intent to cause fear of violence.

  • Three youths, aged 15, 17 and 18, who fired ball-bearing guns at pupils at a school in Ashbrooke, Sunderland, in September 2006 will not have to face court action.

  • Incidents Involving Animals - Two youths, aged 18 and 17, pleaded guilty to killing a swan using a powerful air rifle in Harlington (South Yorkshire).  Another youth, aged 16, was arrested after swans were the target of an airgun attack in Widnes.

  • In other airgun incidents a dog had to be put down after it was shot whilst walking with his owner in Merthyr Tydfil and two cows were shot in the eyes with an air rifle in Redhill (Somerset).

  • In Ash (Surrey) three horses were attacked with a shotgun - at least one had to be put down as a result of its injuries.

FEBRUARY 2007 - SUMMARY

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In our last summary (for January 2007) we highlighted the disturbingly high level of involvement of young people as perpetrators of gun crime.  This month's events in south London were a shocking reminder that young people are too often also the victims of gun crime, including the most brutal.  Considerable attention was given to the fatal shootings of the three teenagers in Streatham, Peckham and Clapham, and what followed was a flood of media and political opinion about the level of gun crime in Britain and its causes.  The Government's response was to organise a summit, chaired by the Prime Minister.  Following the summit the Government announced a 3-point plan to tackle gun crime, which focussed on crime in inner cities and its link with gangs and drugs.

In view of the circumstances that led up to the summit this focus was not surprising.  However, as the following summary of all the gun incidents from February shows, there are other types of gun crime which impact on the lives of a much wider section of the public across the country.  Although the consequences of some of these crimes might be viewed as less serious than those occurring in inner cities, the effects on the victims should never be underestimated.  Measures should be in place to tackle these crimes too.  It is essential, therefore, that in its attempts to deal with the problem of gangs and guns the Government does not take its eye off the ball and ignore these other aspects of gun crime and their causes.  For example, crimes involving imitation guns occur all over Britain and the problems caused are not restricted to urban teenage gangs.  Airguns may not be seen as a major problem within gangs but there are hundreds of victims every year some of whom, often young boys, suffer serious and sometimes fatal injuries.  If through an emphasis, however understandable, on one particular and topical concern, there is a failure to deal with all types of gun crime, this would send out completely the wrong message.  Misuse of any gun is totally unacceptable wherever or however it occurs, as the following summary shows.

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - Six people were killed in deliberate shootings during February, five in London, and the young age of three of the victims, all in their mid-teens, brought gun crime back into the headlines.

  • A 16-year-old was shot dead at an ice rink in Streatham, a 15-year-old was shot in the bedroom of his home in Peckham and another 15-year-old in his home in Clapham North.

  • In a second shooting in a Peckham home one man was killed and another seriously injured.  Another victim was shot dead in a car in Hackney, east London.

  • A man was shot in the head in a park in Horton Bank Top in Bradford and died later in hospital.

  • A man died after he was shot in the face with his own rifle in Stanley (Derbyshire) in what appears to have been an accident.

  • Three men were injured in two separate shootings in Harlesden (north west London).  In Manchester a teenager was shot in the back in an incident in Moss Side, where two men were injured in another incident later in the month, and two men were injured when their car was fired at in Longsight.  A man was recovering in hospital after being shot in St Ann's (Nottingham).  A man was shot in the arm at a house in Burgess Hill (Sussex).  A man was shot and injured in the leg in an incident in Sheffield.

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - The weapon used in many of these incidents is often described as being or looking like a handgun, but if the weapon is not recovered and identified there is always a possibility that it was actually an imitation gun.

  • There was a further spate of armed raids on shops around the country.  There were robberies or attempted robberies in St Peter's Bridge (Staffordshire), Reading (a 19-year-old has been charged over five robberies in the town), Allerton (Bradford), Littlemoor (Chesterfield), Leeds (two corner shops), Sholling (Hampshire), Kilmarnock and Rhu (Dunbartonshire).  Bookmakers was targeted by armed men in Bracknell (Berkshire) and Bulwell (Nottinghamshire).  A man fled empty handed after a robbery on a financial services office in Glasgow, but nearly 1m of jewellery was stolen in another raid in the centre of the city.  A gang raided a bingo hall in Famley (Leeds) where shots were fired.  A petrol station in Haydock (Merseyside) was robbed by a youth, thought to be aged between 15 and 17, armed with a handgun.  Post offices were raided by robbers armed with handguns in Craigmillar (Edinburgh) and Church (Accrington) (the robber was believed to be aged 16).

  • CCTV photos were released of a raid on a shop in Merridale (Wolverhampton) in December 2006 in which a shotgun was aimed at a shop worker.

  • A security guard was robbed outside a supermarket in Kilmarnock.  A cash box was stolen from a security guard by two armed robbers in Wanstead, east London.  Another cash box was stolen by an armed man during a cash delivery in Borehamwood (Hertfordshire).

  • In two incidents in Battersea (south London), which may be linked, two people in a house were assaulted and property stolen and a couple walking in the street were robbed of their credit cards: in both cases a gang of five or six young men were involved.

  • A puppy was stolen from a house in Peckham (south London) by a gang of four armed men.  A 15-year-old girl was robbed of cash when a gunman came to a caravan in Rushton (Northamptonshire).  In Stretford (Greater Manchester) two boys, aged 12 and 14, were attacked by four men, one of whom had a gun and stole a PSP console and a mobile phone.

  • Two taxi drivers were robbed by armed men in separate incidents in Sheffield (Arbourthorne and Burngreave).  In one of the attacks the driver was left with a pellet in his head after being shot with an airgun (see below).

  • Two men, later arrested on suspicion of supplying drugs, were abducted by three men, armed with a shotgun, from a pub car park in Whitnash (Warwickshire).

  • Other Incidents - Damage was done to a house in Shirecliffe (South Yorkshire) when someone opened fire on the property with a shotgun.  Shops in Dovecot (Merseyside) were also damaged in another shotgun attack.

  • A teenager aimed a gun at other youths in a fast food restaurant in south west London and fired one shot.  See Imitation Gun Incidents below for another incident in which children were targeted in a fast food restaurant.

  • A gunshot was heard following a fight between youths in Chadwell Heath (east London).  Two shots were fired in a Blackburn alleyway: one of them passed through the boot of a car.

  • A man was arrested after brandishing a shotgun at a salvage yard in Baxenden (Lancashire).

  • Detectives were searching for a gunman thought to have been stabbed during a fight between criminal gangs in Burnley.

  • Armed response units were sent to a nightclub in Liverpool after reports that someone had a handgun: no weapon was found.

  • Police recovered a handgun and ammunition during a raid in Edinburgh when 100,000 cocaine was found: a 17-year-old was arrested.

  • Four people in Urmston (Cheshire) were arrested on suspicion of possessing a firearm.  Four people were arrested in Nelson (Lancashire) on suspicion of being involved in gun crime.

  • Smuggling, Thefts and Losses - Two British men and a Lithuanian have been convicted for their involvement in smuggling handguns from eastern Europe.  One of the British men was jailed for ten and a half years, the other will be sentenced later, and the Lithuanian has been jailed for seven years.

  • A dangerous firearm and ammunition were stolen from a house near Leven (Fife)

  • A number of air weapons were stolen during a robbery at a house in Wilton (West Yorkshire).

  • Convictions (see also Smuggling, Imitation Guns and Airgun Incidents) - The four teenagers responsible for the death of a woman at a christening in Peckham were given long jail sentences (see December 2006 Incidents for details).  One 18-year-old was given a 30 year sentence for murder, the other three received minimum sentences of eight years detention for manslaughter and robbery.

  • A man who admitted the manslaughter of a man shot dead on a doorstep in Effingham (Surrey) has been jailed for 6 years.

  • A man was convicted of attempted murder after he shot a doorman at a Widnes club because he was asked to remove his hood: he will serve a minimum of 20 years in prison.

  • Another men was convicted of attempted murder and jailed for a minimum of 15 years after randomly shooting two people in Islington and Finsbury Park (north London): he attempted to shoot a third victim.

  • Two people, a woman and her ex-boyfriend, were given life sentences after being convicted for the murder of the woman's former husband who was shot at Bramcote (Nottinghamshire) in 2003.

  • A man who used a double barrel shotgun to shoot an old friend whom he met by chance when he was going to shoot ducks in Ince (Wigan) has been jailed for at least five years.

  • Airguns - This month we heard from a correspondent whose teenage son is a tetraplegic as a result of being shot with an air rifle by another teenager in August 2005 (see Details).  Sadly the catalogue of incidents involving the reckless or wilful misuse of airguns, especially by youths, continued in February.

  • A Sheffield taxi driver has been left with an airgun pellet in his head after being attacked in Arbourthorne.

  • A 12-year-old boy was taken to hospital after an airgun attack in Workington.  A 14-year-old girl also required hospital treatment after being shot in the leg with an air rifle in a field near Barnsley.  A pupil at a school in Archway, north London, was hit in the eye socket with an air pistol fired by another pupil.

  • A 14-year-old was arrested for five offences including possession of an air pistol after a group of youths stole from a supermarket in Ham (south west London).

  • Three teenagers were arrested after pointing an unloaded airgun at a driver on the A41 in north London.  Two youngsters are being sought after stones and pellets were fired at vehicles on the A14 in Ipswich: one youth was spotted with a gun just before a driver's windscreen was cracked.

  • At least 20 homes have been damaged in Stockton as a result of attacks by youths with airguns.  Two cash machines in Portsmouth were riddled with holes after being shot at with an airgun.  A travel agents and three other premises in Warwick with hit by pellets, possibly fired by an airgun.

  • A car was apparently hit in Eckington (Derbyshire) when a gang attacked four men who were travelling in the vehicle.

  • An air rifle was confiscated from a youth by police in Waltham Abbey (Essex) after reports that he was aiming the gun at a road.  A bus passenger was arrested in Bishop Auckland (County Durham) after being found by the driver asleep and holding an air rifle.

  • A 13-year-old boy who was responsible for the death of 12-year-old Mitchel Picken, whom he shot with an air rifle in Stockton Brook (Staffordshire), was acquitted of manslaughter.

  • A footballer who ended the career of a former colleague when he shot him in the eye with an airgun in Durham in 2002 has reached a settlement with him.  Although described as a "freak shooting accident" there have been too many incidents of this type.  The circumstances are too familiar and avoidable to continue describing them as freak accidents.

  • An 18-year-old was given a suspended nine-month prison term and a community punishment after shooting his girlfriend in the face in Bolton-on-Dearne (South Yorkshire): she had asked him to 'pretend to shoot me'.  A 20-year-old was sent to a young offender institution for nine months after admitting possessing a .22 air rifle which was used to shoot at members of the public in Lupset (West Yorkshire): a 16-year-old girl and a man pushing his child in a pushchair were hit.

  • A man who caused an armed siege at his home in Melksham (Wiltshire) whilst brandishing an air pistol has been given a 36 week suspended jail sentence.

  • A man found with two airguns, ammunition and a silencer at Kenfig Hill, Glamorgan, was given a 12-month suspended sentence and ordered to do 250 hours of community work.

  • Imitation Guns - A number of youngsters were targeted with imitation guns and an Oxford man was convicted for blinding a 13-year-old in an attack with a ball-bearing gun.

  • Two 11-year-olds were hit with pellets from a gun fired by one of a group of children whilst they were queuing in McDonalds in Dundee: another 11-year-old was later charged.

  • A 17-year-old was shot with a ball-bearing gun in Blackburn during an attack by a gang of up to 20 men.

  • A 16-year-old boy was taken to hospital after being hit on the head with a BB gun when two teenagers tried to rob him and a group of friends in a playground in Fulwood (Preston): a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old have been charged.

  • A man was taken into custody after firing a starting pistol at a group of teenagers in Sunderland.  A man was charged with possession of an imitation firearm after he chased children in the street in Darwen (Lancashire).

  • Five people were arrested after reports of a weapon being fired from a car in Middlesbrough: a BB gun and two paintball guns were recovered.

  • Armed police went to two incidents in Bermondsey and Surrey Quays (south east London) involving youths with imitation guns: in one, five boys, aged 10 to 13, were arrested.

  •  A man in Axminster was arrested after reports of a man with a firearm: what is believed to have been a ball-bearing gun was recovered.

  • Five people were taken into custody in Felixstowe after a number of weapons, including three BB guns, were seized by police: four were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery.

  • A man who admitted shooting a 13-year-old with a BB gun in Greater Leys (Oxford) has been told he faces a jail sentence: the boy has lost the sight of one eye as a result of the shooting.

  • A man from Whitehaven (Cumbria) threatened his mother in her home by holding a ball-bearing gun to her head: sentencing has been deferred.

  • A number of people were convicted for robberies in which imitation guns were used.  Two men face long jail terms for a robbery at a Dundee pub where one of the men had presented an imitation gun.  A 13-year-old has been detained for four years in a young offender institution for a series of offences in West Norwood (south London) in which he used an imitation gun.  A man was jailed following a robbery at a shop in Shirley (south London) in which he was armed with imitation guns.  A post office manager and a former employee were jailed after a fake robbery involving a toy gun was staged at the post office in Grangetown (Cardiff).  An 18-year-old used a ball-bearing gun to rob a petrol station on the A14 in Northamptonshire (he has received 46 months detention).

  • A man was jailed for six years after an incident in which he brandished a ball-bearing gun at police in Rugeley (Staffordshire).  Another man was given a 14 month sentence after an incident in Middlesbrough in which he pointed one of two handguns, apparently imitations, at a police officer.

  • Incidents Involving Animals - Reports from around the country, including one from a correspondent to GCN, show that attacks on cats with air rifles are still occurring with a sickening frequency.  Even if the pet survives the attacks inevitably lead to distress for the animal and expense and upset for the owners.

MARCH 2007 - SUMMARY

> Click here for pdf version (includes full list of incidents)

The fatal shootings last month of three teenagers in south London prompted a wave of discussion about gun crime in the UK and its link with teenage gangs.  We commented in the February summary that, following its promise of increased measures to deal with these crimes, we hoped that the Government would not dilute its efforts to tackle other types of gun crime.  This month's incidents and convictions have shown yet again that much of the gun crime most likely to affect members of the public involves airguns, which have been used to target people and pets and to cause damage to property, and imitation guns.  Indeed March saw a disturbing number of incidents in which imitation guns were fired at pupils at schools reflecting the total disregard that some youths and, it must be said, their parents still have for the real dangers posed by such weapons.

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - Four people were fatally injured in shooting incidents during March, three in London (one in Harlesden, west London, and two in Abbey Wood, south east London).  The other victim was a taxi driver in Pitsmoor (Sheffield).

  • Two fatal shootings from earlier in the year were also reported.  The inquest opened into the death in January of a woman in Lowfield Heath (Surrey) who was shot dead with a shotgun in her home: her husband has been arrested.  A man appeared in court charged with the murder of a man who was shot dead near Halifax in February.

  • A policeman was shot by a youth in Peckham (south London) but escaped unhurt.

  • In a second shooting in Harlesden (west London) a man was seriously injured after being hit a number of times in the car park of a club: he may have been left paralysed.  A gunman pulled out a firearm during a fight outside another London nightclub (in Forest Gate, east London) and shot a man from a distance of less than 4 ft - a man was arrested.  A 21-year-old student was shot and injured at a hip hop concert at Loughborough University. 

  • There were a number of serious shootings in or outside pubs.  A man was shot a number of times with a shotgun as he stood outside a pub in Clermiston (Edinburgh): a man has been charged with attempted murder.  Another victim of a pub shooting was injured in the leg in an incident in Bloxwich (West Midlands), and two men also suffered injuries to their legs when they were shot at a pub in Leicester.  In another pub shooting in Nechells (Birmingham) three men were injured, one critically.

  • A man suffered leg injuries when he was shot at a house in Padgate (Warrington) in what police believe was a targeted attack, while another was shot in the leg at a house party in Brackenhall (Huddersfield).  A man was shot in the hand in a street in Hillfields (Coventry).

  • A 16-year-old was arrested in connection with the shooting of another teenager in Croxteth (Merseyside): a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old will also appear before magistrates charged with firearms offences.  A 17-year-old boy was shot in the foot in Camberwell Road (south east London).

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - A woman who had been awarded a record divorce payout was tied up and robbed of 300,000 worth of jewellery at gunpoint in an armed raid on her home in Sevenoaks (Kent).  Tobacco was stolen from a house in Penhill (Swindon) by a gunman who entered the house demanding money.

  • A dog was shot during an armed raid on a farm in Quornford (Staffordshire) in which two men were tied up and 3000 stolen.

  • A security guard was robbed by two armed men in a raid in South Woodford (north east London) and another security guard was targeted by one man who stole a case of money at Little Sutton (Cheshire).  Two armed raiders robbed a bank in the West End of Glasgow.

  • A teenage assistant manager was threatened during a robbery in a store in Jarrow (Tyneside).  A shop in Burtonwood (near Warrington) was raided by two men who pushed a gun into the back of a 15-year-old girl.  Two men attempted to rob a store in Farnborough (Hampshire) and one man robbed a shop in Ashford (Kent).

  • Two armed robbers raided a service station near Bristol.

  • A man attempted to rob a Chinese takeaway waving a gun in New Bradwell (Buckinghamshire) but left empty handed.  A man robbed a fast food restaurant in Portsmouth of 1,500 - the police are investigating whether this may be linked to two similar recent robberies in the city.

  • Five schoolgirls were involved in an attempted carjacking near Maxwell Park on the south side of Glasgow but were able to escape by driving away.

  • Other Incidents - A 15-year-old was shot with a Taser gun by armed police during a raid on a property in Moss Side (Manchester) - another man was detained in the raid and charged in connection with a shooting in Rusholme.  Eight people were arrested after police raids on 21 other properties in the Manchester area as part of an ongoing crackdown on gun crime.

  • A man was arrested in Bexhill (Sussex) after police used a Taser gun following reports that a gun had allegedly been pulled on a motorist.  A man was arrested in Worthing (Sussex) after a report that he was waving a gun in the street.  A 17-year-old was arrested after allegedly waving a handgun at motorists in Guisborough (Teesside).

  • A man was arrested and a firearm recovered after shots were fired in Shelton (Derby).

  • Eight shots were fired at a house in Longsight (Greater Manchester).  A gun was also fired at a house in Gorton (Greater Manchester) and a bullet shot through a window - a couple and three young children were inside.  Damage was caused to a house in West Bowling (Bradford) when a firearm was discharged.

  • A 14-year-old and a 15-year-old were arrested after a gun was recovered from a house in Great Barr (West Midlands).  An 18-year-old was charged after a gun was found at a hostel in Croydon.

  • Police are looking for a man captured on CCTV who was believed to be carrying a gun in Luton after two windows of a pub were broken.

  • A vehicle parked in a driveway in Weybourne (Surrey) was damaged when a gun was fired into the back of it.

  • A man was arrested after he dropped a gun in a pub in Renfrew.

  • There were unconfirmed reports of a firearm being used during a domestic incident in Kidderminster.  A shotgun and another gun were recovered by police following a disturbance in Huddersfield.

  • Smuggling, Gun Finds, Thefts and Losses - One of two men convicted of possessing prohibited weaponry (18 converted gas pistols, 18 silencers) and ammunition without a licence was found hanged in prison before he was sentenced.  The other man, said to be at the heart of smuggling the weapons from Eastern Europe, had been given a ten and a half year sentence (see May 2006 Incidents).

  • Twenty guns, described as imitation ball-bearing guns, were stolen from a shop in Cannock.  The guns are reported to be for use in airsoft, and it will be interesting to see whether one of the shop owners proves to be correct in saying that the guns were unlikely to be used for illegal purposes but were more likely to be sold back into the airsoft community.

  • Police recovered a cache of weapons and ammunition from a park in Merseyside after a tip-off from local residents.  In a separate incident police found a shotgun and ammunition at a house in Kirkby and arrested a woman.  A substantial quantity of illegal firearms was found by police during a raid on a Denbighshire farm in which cannabis plants were also recovered (two people were arrested).

  • Ammunition including shotgun cartridges, bullets and several artillery shells was found at a recycling facility in Peterborough.

  • Doncaster police appealed for information after a shotgun (needing a licence) and two air rifles were stolen from Askern.

  • Convictions (see also Imitation Guns and Airgun Incidents) - A man will serve a minimum of 30 years for the murder of a man who was fatally wounded in a car in Streatham, south London, in January 2006.  His accomplice received a 12-year-sentence for manslaughter.

  • Four men were convicted for offences relating to death of a man at a nightclub in Dewsbury (West Yorkshire).  One was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years another admitted murder and was sentenced to 18 years.

  • An 18-year-old was found guilty of murdering a man in Canning Town (east London) last year.  The court heard that the weapon used to kill his victim was probably a converted self-loading blank firing pistol.

  • A petrol station cashier in Hooley (Surrey) survived a shooting when a man attempted to rob him but was left with a bullet in his head.  The gunman was found guilty of attempted murder.  Sentencing was adjourned.  Two men were sentenced to at least 11 years and at least 5 years after pleading guilty following their arrest for an attempted robbery on a security van delivering cash to a petrol station in Sidcup (Kent).

  • A man admitted affray and possessing a firearm without a certificate and was given an 11 month suspended jail sentence after threatening a woman with a 12-bore shotgun after his sheep and lambs had been attacked by out of control dogs in Haslingden (Lancashire).

  • A Devon man has been jailed for 5 years for possession of a prohibited revolver and possession of a sports rifle without a licence.  A man was Glasgow was also jailed for 5 years after a prohibited pistol had been found at his house.

  • A Hartlepool man who was banned from owning firearms was caught with a shotgun and ammunition and pleaded guilty to a number of offences.

  • Airguns - Two refuse workers were fired on by a man armed with an airgun in Kettering (Northants).  A man was arrested in Shrewsbury after allegedly shooting at people with an air rifle.

  • Two teenage boys fired two shots from an airgun at an elderly man in Warndon (Worcester).

  • A youth, possibly armed with an air rifle, caused thousands of pounds worth of damage in Welham Green (Hertfordshire): cars and windows were damaged.

  • A shoplifter was found to have an air pistol stuffed in his sock when he was arrested at Marble Arch for the theft of a scarf.

  • Convictions - A 17-year-old from Dunfermline who shot a young woman with an air rifle causing her to lose the sight of one eye, admitted culpably and recklessly firing the gun.  A 21-year-old man from Muirhouse (Edinburgh) was ordered to do 240 hours of community service after hitting a pregnant woman when he fired an air rifle from his bedroom window.

  • A man who fired an airgun through a letter box in Barrow, hitting a woman in the hand, was given a 30 month prison sentence.

  • A man admitted pulling an airgun out of a bag during a raid on an Edinburgh shop.

  • A 19-year-old received an 18 month custodial sentence and a 14-year-old a two year supervision order after they had caused thousands of pounds worth of damage as they drove through Hampshire and Wiltshire firing a semi-automatic airgun out of the car window.

  • A man from Bevendean (Brighton) took pot shots at a neighbour's chimney and peppered the cover with 17 shots: he admitted criminal damage and possessing cannabis resin and ecstasy but denied possessing a firearm.  A Huntingdon man admitted criminal damage after taking potshots at a neighbour's satellite dish.

  • A court heard how a teenager who brutally stabbed two of his friends to death owned an airgun and enjoyed killing animals with it.

  • Imitation Guns - In spite of measures in the Violent Crime Reduction Act which will ban the sale of imitations guns there is still plenty of evidence that these weapons remain too readily available.  In particular there were a worrying number of instances in which they are being used in incidents at schools.

  • Seventeen primary school children in Rugeley (Staffordshire) were hit when three 12-year-olds opened fire with BB guns.  Three schoolgirls were hit by BB gun pellets whilst walking to a class at a school in Falkirk: three pupils have been suspended and two youths will be the subject of a report to the Children's Reporter.  A ball-bearing gun was fired at a school in Didsbury (south Manchester): one 13-year-old pupil has been excluded.  A black market in imitation firearms has been uncovered at a Brighton school after a boy fired a gun in a classroom: a 12-year-old pupil is believed to have brought in four BB guns and a number of pupils have been suspended.

  • A 19-year-old had to be taken to hospital after being shot in the stomach with what was apparently a BB gun by a group of younger children in Trentham (Staffordshire).

  • A 15-year-old was caught with a BB gun at a school in Methil (Fife) and was immediately banned.

  • A 16-year-old was disarmed of an imitation gun by police in the centre of Andover (Hampshire).

  • A driver stopped during an operation in Acton (west London) had an extremely life-like imitation shotgun in his car and was arrested.  Another man was arrested in Bromley (south west London) charged with possession of an imitation firearm after reports of a man armed with a gun following a domestic incident.

  • Armed police were called to the centre of Reigate (Surrey) after reports of a man with a gun, but it appears that students were filming: police warned of the dangers of having imitation firearms in a public place.

  • A church in Northenden (Greater Manchester) has come under fire from youths with ball-bearing guns.

  • TA soldiers from York University used a plastic airgun in the filming a mock terror execution that was placed on YouTube.  A Galashiels man has been traced after another video was placed on YouTube showing men in balaclavas firing guns: imitation guns were recovered.

  • Imitation Guns - Convictions - Each month there are a number of reports of convictions of offenders who have used imitation guns.  Many of the incidents were serious offences which contribute significantly to the level of gun crime in Britain.

  • A man who admitted assaulting a 12-year-old boy by shooting him with a ball-bearing gun in Stenhousemuir (Stirlingshire), amongst other offences, was sentenced to 250 hours community service.

  • Two 17-year-olds will serve at least four and a half years in detention following a series of attacks on streets in the Birmingham area in which three victims were shot at point blank range with BB guns.

  • A man who robbed betting shops in Trafford Park and Old Trafford admitted robbery and possessing an imitation firearm.  A 20-year-old has been sent to a young offenders institution for four and a half years after a robbery at a shop in Gorleston (Norfolk) in which he used a ball-bearing gun.

  • Another offender was given an indefinite sentence after using an imitation gun during a street robbery on an 18-year-old victim close to North Shields Metro station on Tyneside.

  • A man who confronted three schoolgirls in South Wales and threatened other children was jailed for two and a half years after admitting robbery offences and possessing an imitation gun with intent to cause fear of violence.

  • A 21-year-old who fired shots from an imitation gun outside his old school in Purley (Surrey) was given a five year jail term - he had later been found in possession of a sawn-off shotgun as well as the imitation gun.

  • A man held a doctor and two nurses at gunpoint in a hospital in Birmingham whilst armed with an imitation gun and will be sentenced next month.

  • A 14-year-old was given three years detention following two hold ups on shops in Pontypool in which he used a ball-bearing gun.  Two teenagers were convicted after holding up a shop in Barking (east London) whilst armed with a loaded ball-bearing gun (sentences of five and a half and four years).  A 19-year-old was sentenced to two-and-a-half years after he and others attempted to hold up a bookmaker's in Chelmsley Wood (Birmingham): one of the men was armed with an imitation gun.

  • A man who claimed that he had only pointed an imitation gun at the staff of a Chinese takeaway in Blackpool for a bet has been given a two years community order.

  • A man was jailed for 18 month after threatening a woman with a paintball gun in a road rage incident in Bracknell (Berkshire).

  • A man found with three imitation guns and a machete following a domestic incident in Redditch (Worcestershire) was ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work.

  • Incidents Involving Animals - There was more evidence that airguns are being misused to shoot pets, especially cats.  Incidents involving cats, some of which proved fatal, were reported from localities around the country: Cheshire (Runcorn - an 18-year-old was arrested), Cumbria (Workington), Gloucestershire (Stow, Cheltenham), Kent (Chatham) and central Scotland (Bishopbriggs, Stenhousemuir).  A dog was shot with an airgun whilst walking with her owner in Denholm in the Scottish Borders.

  • Swans and other birds are still being targeted by killers armed with airguns.  This month there were reports of swans being shot dead in Northamptonshire (Wellingborough) and Teesside and of a mallard duck that died after being badly injured at Nuneaton.

APRIL 2007 - SUMMARY

> Click here for pdf version (includes full list of incidents)

Gun Control Network understands that despite the Violent Crime Reduction Act receiving its Royal Assent in November 2006, various measures in the Act, in particular those which ban the sale of imitation guns and restrict airgun sales to registered dealers, will not now be implemented until the autumn.  Those who have allowed this delay to occur should be ashamed as it will mean that even more of these weapons will be in the hands of those who are likely to misuse them, especially young people.  As this Summary shows, while much of the more serious gun crime is confined to inner city areas, that involving imitation guns and airguns affects communities throughout the country.

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - A pregnant woman and a 12-year-old girl were among the four victims who died after being shot in April.  The woman died in Battersea, the victim of one of two more fatal shootings in south London: the other took place in Brixton where a man was killed.  A man was fatally injured when he was shot in a restaurant in Harehills (Leeds).  A 12-year-old girl died in hospital a few hours after being shot in the head at a house in Gorton (Greater Manchester) - her 16-year-old brother has been arrested.
  • Another man died of gunshot wounds in Wincle (Lancashire) though police were not treating the death as suspicious.

  • There were other shootings in London.  Two teenagers, one aged 19 and another aged 14, were injured in separate drive-by shootings in Plaistow (east London) - the 19-year-old was critically ill.  In another east London shooting a man was injured whilst being chased by two men in Leyton.  Police who stopped a car on the Woodbury Down Estate (Manor House, north London) found that the passenger had been shot in the leg.

  • In Liverpool a man was shot in the back in a street in Toxteth.  A woman was shot in the face in an attack in Broomhall (Sheffield) - police believe her companion was the intended victim.

  • A man received minor injuries after he was shot in his car in Burnage (Greater Manchester).  A man was shot whilst driving in Glasgow and crashed his car into another vehicle.

  • A man was shot and seriously injured whilst at a party at a flat in Leicester.

  • A number of other victims sustained injuries in attacks with airguns and BB guns (see Details below).

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - A man was robbed on the street at gunpoint by a masked gunman in Bow (east London).

  • A car was hijacked at gunpoint by a man in Littlehampton (Sussex): a man has been arrested.  A motor home owner foiled an attempt by a gunman to steal the vehicle in Upton Scudamore (Wiltshire).

  • A man delivering cash to ATM machines at a Bedford supermarket was forced to hand over a large amount of cash when threatened with a sawn-off shotgun.  In Gorse Covert (Warrington) a gunman stole cash being collected from a shop by a security man.

  • There were reports of robberies or attempted robberies on a betting shop in Horwich (Greater Manchester), a post office in Bangor (a woman was shot with an airgun during the raid), a pub in West Bridgford (Nottingham) and a shop in Swindon (involving two young girls).  A petrol station was robbed in Andoversford (Gloucestershire).  Another fast-food outlet was robbed at gunpoint in Portsmouth, the latest in a number of similar robberies in the city this year.

  • Other Incidents - Three men were arrested after a gun was fired at a house in Grangetown (Middlesbrough).

  • A single gunshot was fired from a car at a house in Muirhouse Green (Edinburgh).

  • A man was arrested on suspicion of a number of firearms offences after a 10-hour siege on a house in Exeter.

  • Gun Finds - Twelve people were arrested and one firearm recovered after raids on more than 200 homes in Manchester.  Four people were charged for possession of imitation firearms, a prohibited weapon and a firearm without certificate in a crackdown on gun crime in Salford.  Two BB guns were seized in Ipswich in raids targeting drug suspects.

  • Three guns were found during raids in Barrhead, East Renfrewshire, during which a number of people were arrested, one of them for firearms and drug offences.

  • A First World War pistol was found and two suspects arrested, and another pistol and ammunition recovered, during police raids in Southwark (south London).

  • An air rifle was seized during a crackdown on crime in Nottingham.

  • Convictions (see also Imitation Guns and Airgun Incidents) - A man who had already been convicted of one murder in Merseyside was sentenced to ten more years in prison for wounding a former friend in a drive-by shooting in Toxteth.

  • A man was jailed for life for his part in the murder of a man in Marsden (Tyneside) - he admitted luring the victim to the murder location but denied firing the fatal shots.

  • A sentence of over five years was given to a man who shot and injured a police officer who had chased him after a car crash in Peckham (south London).  A four year sentence was given to a man who used a firearm (a sawn-off gun) to resist arrest during an incident in Merthyr Tydfil.

  • A man was jailed for eight and a half years for raping a woman at gunpoint in her Cheshunt (Hertfordshire) home.

  • A man is facing a 5 year jail sentence after admitting possessing a prohibited revolver, whose serial number he had swapped with a legal, deactivated gun, at his house in Lochgilphead (Argyllshire).  A Denbighshire gun enthusiast was jailed for four-and-a-half years after admitting dealing in prohibited weapons.

  • A man was sentenced to seven years in prison for the possession of an arsenal of guns and ammunition in Manchester.

  • Airguns - Those who use airguns to fire at people target their victims regardless of age.  In Allesley (Coventry) an 8-year-old boy was hit in the head with a pellet whilst playing in his bedroom with a friend - the gunman was spotted by the boy's mother leaning out of the window of a nearby flat.  A 75-year-old man was shot in the face with an air rifle pellet whilst visiting a hospital in South Shields (Tyneside) - three teenagers have been arrested.

  • Three more young boys were hit in the head with air weapons and needed hospital treatment.  One, who was cycling in Hebburn (Tyneside), received serious injuries after being shot in the face, another boy was shot whilst in a field in Derby, and a pupil at a school in Easterhouse (Glasgow) was shot in the face (a 14-year-old was charged).

  • An 18-year-old female cyclist was shot with an air rifle whilst on a bike ride in Hook (East Yorkshire) - a group of youths is believed to have been responsible.

  • During one of two apparently separate airgun incidents in Bangor (Gwynedd) a woman was shot and injured during a robbery on a post office (she needed hospital treatment) - two men have been arrested.  In the other incident there were unconfirmed reports that a man had been shot with an airgun - a man was arrested in connection with this incident.

  • A photographer was hit in the back of the head after an airgun was fired at a nightclub in Mayfair (central London).

  • A group of youths threatened another group with an air rifle in Carlisle.

  • Police were called to investigate reports of a man firing an air rifle in public on waste land in Brighton.

  • Youngsters fired an airgun at a passing train in Bolton.  A taxi was hit with a shower of missiles in an attack by youths in Widnes - the damage indicated an airgun had been used by the attackers.  In Aberdeen taxis and buses appear to have been targeted with airguns - some of the vehicles were damaged.

  • Airgun pellets were fired into the back garden of a house in Rubery (West Midlands).

  • Convictions for Incidents Involving Airguns - A father pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of his son whom he had shot in a Salford street with a modified air rifle - police say that the victim was lucky to have survived.

  • A 17-year-old from Greenock has admitted shooting a 16-year-old boy and terrifying three shop assistants with an air pistol whilst he subject to an anti-social behaviour order.

  • A man was given an eight-month jail sentence after an incident in which he threatened a neighbour in Nelson (Lancashire) with an air pistol and fired two shots.

  • Three teenagers were sent to a young offenders' institution for two years for attacking a man during a burglary in Saffron Waldon (Essex) in which they were armed with an air rifle.

  • A man who shot himself in the head with a converted Brocock airgun during a weekend of heavy drinking in Bromley (Kent) was given an 11-month suspended sentence.

  • A man caught in possession of an air weapon in a public place in Shrewsbury was given 100 hours of community service.

  • Imitation Guns - This month's victims included a baby shot through the letter box of his home in Poplar (east London) with a BB guns - a 14-year-old has been arrested.

  • In the latest attack on schoolchildren three schoolgirls were shot with a BB gun by two 13-year-old boys in Blackburn - one victim is fortunate not to have been blinded.  A 10-year-old was hit when two men, both with BB guns, fired at pedestrians in Ingoldmells (Lincolnshire).

  • A retired Blackburn man was attacked in a park by a youth armed with a gun whose friends eventually pulled off the attacker and told the victim that it was not a real gun.

  • A 13-year-old threatened a bus driver in Hampton Court (Middlesex) by pointing a toy gun at her.

  • Two unarmed police officers arrested a man who chased terrified people in a Derby street whilst armed with an exact replica of a sub-machine gun.  Ten BB guns, including ones resembling assault rifles and a shotgun, were recovered by police after four men were seen brandishing firearms in a picnic area in Felixstowe.  Sussex police were called to incidents in Portslade and Hollingdean involving youths seen with BB guns in public.  South Yorkshire police described an incident in Thurcroft, to which an armed response team had to be called, that involved youths firing a BB gun and a plastic assault rifle indiscriminately.

  • Two BB guns were recovered after armed police surrounded a tower block in Havant (Hampshire) after reports of two gunmen - two men were arrested.

  • BB guns were apparently used when a house was trashed during a party in Houghton-le-Spring (County Durham).

  • In Lancashire damage was caused to a parked car in Colne after a pellet was fired from a BB gun, while another BB gun was used to smash a window at a home in Leyland.

  • A man faced charges after causing damage in a drive-by shooting rampage with a paintball gun in Dalton (Cumbria).

  • Two teenagers from Ellesmere Port (Cheshire) were charged with possession of an imitation firearm after mobile phone footage of a group brandishing guns was discovered.

  • Two people charged in a crackdown on gun crime in Salford have been accused of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.  Two BB guns were seized by Ipswich police in an operation focused on drug suspects who frequent the area (see Gun Finds above).

  • Convictions for Incidents Involving Imitation Guns - A man who had escaped from custody whilst serving a life sentence evaded the police on a later occasion by pointing a BB gun at them in Salford - he was recaptured a few days later.  A 16-year-old pointed a BB gun at police officers in Sutton-in-Ashfield (Nottinghamshire) and was sentenced to 18 months' detention and training.

  • A man who held a gun at the heads of three young people in Lowestoft was sentenced to a 10-month detention order.

  • A 16-year-old who threatened a shopkeeper in Stockport with a realistic-looking ball-bearing gun was given a rehabilitation order.

  • A man has admitted presenting a firearm or imitation firearm (a starting pistol) whilst demanding a kebab at a Glasgow takeaway.

  • Incidents Involving Animals - There were yet more reports of cats and swans being shot with airguns and also details of an incident in which a horse was shot by youths in a field in County Durham.

MAY 2007 - SUMMARY

> Click here for pdf version (includes full list of incidents)

A police firearms officer was shot dead when he attended a domestic incident in Shrewsbury.  The gunman apparently shot himself with the same gun.  It was widely reported that the gun was legally-owned pest control rifle.  In another incident involving armed police a man, who was found to have a loaded gun, was shot dead in Ealing (west London) during an operation on alleged illegal gun transactions.  The incidents highlight the potential dangers which the police may have to face from guns, whoever owns them and however they have been obtained.

During May police in Manchester and the West Midlands expressed concerns about the number of gun incidents in their areas, and this month's summary includes a significant number of incidents and convictions from these two regions.

When gun crime is discussed in the media it is rarely reported that nearly two thirds of all recorded gun offences in Great Britain are committed with imitation guns and airguns, the vast majority of which do not need to be registered making them too easy to obtain, especially by youths.  The Violent Crime Reduction (2006) Act includes measures that should by now have limited their availability (i) through a ban on the sale, import and manufacture of imitation weapons and (ii) through restricting the sale of airguns to registered firearm dealers.  Despite the continuing concerns of many, including the police, the Government has still not implemented either measure.  In May Surrey Police ran a campaign to highlight the dangers of imitation guns, while in the Mansfield area Nottinghamshire Police were the latest force to issue a warning about the misuse of airguns.  The incidents and convictions recorded in this Summary show that the warnings are still not being heeded.  So long as there are further delays to the implementation of the VCR Act, there will be even more incidents involving imitation guns and airguns, inflating the gun crime figures and affecting hundreds of victims throughout the country.

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - A firearms officer was killed when police attended a domestic incident in Shrewsbury.  Another man was later found dead.  Both victims died from a single gunshot wound: the gun used was a .222 calibre rifle, commonly used in pest control.

  • A man was shot dead after being chased through a block of flats in Lewisham (south east London).  Another man died after being shot as he tried to flee from an attack on a busy road in Cardonald (Glasgow).

  • A man died after being shot in Ealing (west London) by police during an "intelligence led" operation on alleged illegal firearm transactions: it is reported that the man had a loaded weapon.

  • A man apparently shot himself and died at a property in the centre of Lewes (Sussex).

  • Victims were injured in shooting incidents in Woodley (Berkshire), where two teenagers, aged 16 and 15, received shotgun wounds (a 17-year-old has been charged), and in Rayleigh, where a member of the public was shot when he went to the aid of a security guard.  In Greater Manchester a teenager was shot in the leg and received minor injuries as he ran away outside a club in Moss Side, and a man was in hospital after being shot during an incident involving two gangs of men in Oldham.  A man received minor injuries when he was shot in the back while sitting in a car in Moseley (Birmingham).

  • A police support worker was shot and serious wounded during a firearms training session run by Thames Valley Police at Kidlington (Oxfordshire).

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - There were attacks on security guards delivering cash in Rayleigh (Essex) (in which a member of the public was shot and injured, see above) and Isleworth (west London).  A security van driver was threatened with a gun and abducted in East Whitburn (West Lothian): the van and driver were dumped at Muldron Forest.

  • Two armed men stole cash from a social club in Lakenheath (Suffolk).  Two pubs in the Reading area (at Playhatch and Caversham) were robbed by gangs armed with knives and guns: the police believe the raids may be linked.

  • There were robberies or attempted robberies on shops in Southampton, Breightmet (Manchester) and Atherstone (Warwickshire) (two separate robberies), on a travel agents in Northampton, a petrol station in Warmington (Northamptonshire), a fast food outlet in Portsmouth and bookmakers in Dennistoun (Glasgow) and Haverhill (Suffolk).  An armed gang stole thousands of pounds from a slaughterhouse in Highgate (Birmingham) (shots were fired into the air).

  • A car was stolen from a house in Wyken (Coventry) after the family were threatened with a shotgun.  Seven masked men, one armed with a gun, robbed a woman and her son at their home in Hulme (Manchester): a car was stolen from outside the property.  A man was hit on the head at a house on Preston Docks during an apparent attempted burglary by an armed man.  Men armed with a gun tried to attack the occupants of a house in Milton Keynes: three men have been arrested.

  • In Manchester, a teenager threatened a mother, her child and a pensioner with a gun in two separate incidents on streets in Peel Hall and Woodhouse Park.  A man was robbed in the street in Brownsover (West Midlands) and had 50 stolen at gunpoint.

  • Other Incidents - A 15-year-old boy was arrested after someone was reportedly seen with a handgun outside a school in Bromsgrove (Worcestershire).  Students and staff were evacuated from a school in Newbury (Berkshire) after reports of youths heading into nearby woods with what was thought to be a firearm.

  • Following reports that shots had been fired four youths were arrested at a party in Old Swan (Liverpool) and a handgun was found at a garage in Holloway (north London).  A series of gunshots were heard in Upper Shirley (Southampton) and police officers recovered a bullet.  A man was arrested in Barton Seagrave (Northamptonshire) about firearms offences after a shooting incident at a house in Kettering when shots were also fired.

  • In one of a number of incidents in the West Midlands, shots were fired and two policemen suffered minor injuries (though not as a result of a firearm going off) when they struggled with two men in Birmingham city centre. Two cars were shot at in Halesowen, and a man was seen firing a handgun in a street in Handsworth.

  • A woman was arrested after she had barricaded herself into a house with a gun in Havant (Hampshire).

  • Armed police were called to a supermarket in Leominster after reports that a man had been seen with what appeared to be a handgun: no weapon was found.

  • Gun Finds, Thefts and Losses - A shotgun and dangerous drugs were seized by police from a flat in Monkwearmouth (Sunderland): two men have been charged.  A gun was found in a house in Derbyshire after two men had been arrested for drug offences in County Durham, and five men were arrested on suspicion of possession of firearms and drugs offences after a quantity of handguns and ammunition were recovered by police during a raid on a property in Stretford (Greater Manchester).  A gun was found during a raid on an address in Llanddeusant (Gwynedd) in which a large amount of class A drugs and cash were recovered: two men were arrested.  Air weapons were found during a drugs raid in Portishead (Somerset) (see below).

  • A handgun was seized by police during raids on a number of homes in Leeds which resulted in seven people being arrested over a credit card fraud.

  • A man was arrested at a house in Rugby by police who found a sawn-off shotgun and three air rifles.

  • A rifle and 50 rounds of ammunition were in the boot of a car stolen in Urmston (Greater Manchester).

  • Police have warned that two replica guns stolen in Beaumont Leys (Leicester) could easily be mistaken for the real thing.  Police are also concerned about the theft of two guns used in Wild West re-enactments that were stolen from a house in Meriden (West Midlands).

  • Convictions (see also Imitation Guns and Airgun Incidents) - A hitman who shot two men, killing one of them, in separate incidents in Basford (Nottingham) has been jailed for a minimum of thirty five years after being convicted of murder and attempted murder.

  • There were a number of convictions for serious gun crimes in the Greater Manchester area.  Two men will serve a minimum of 21 and 20 years after planning a contract killing in which the hit men were themselves shot dead at a pub in Salford.  An 18-year-old was found guilty of the attempted murder of a 17-year-old in Stretford and possession of a section 1 firearm: three other teenagers, aged 16 and 15, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause actual bodily harm.  Seven members of a gang from Moss Side have been given jail terms or are awaiting sentence for their involvement in the intimidation and kidnap of victims: one man had been shot whilst trying to escape.

  • Two men were given sentences of 18 and 14 years, respectively, for the attempted murder of a man who was shot in Brighouse (West Yorkshire) (see April 2007 Incidents).

  • Three men have pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a firearm, and one of them pleaded guilty to GBH, following a robbery at Portslade (Sussex) in which a shopkeeper was shot in the face: they will be sentenced in July.  A man who shot the cashier of a petrol station in Hooley (Surrey) in the head during an attempted robbery was given a 12 year sentence (see March 2007 Incidents).

  • A man has been jailed for a minimum of four and a half years for a doorstep attack in Tynemouth in which the victim was shot with a sawn-off shotgun.

  • After police had found a sawn-off shotgun hidden under a man's bed in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, the offender pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and has been jailed for four years.

  • A man was jailed for seven years after he brandished a gun as police tried to arrest him in Stamford Hill (north London).

  • A man who admitted having an illegal revolver at his home in Lochgilphead (Argyllshire) was given 200 hours community service (see April 2007 Incidents).

  • Airguns - Another child has been seriously injured after being shot with an air weapon.  The 9-year-old was in a garden in Drumchapel (Glasgow) when he was hit in the leg and had to undergo an operation to remove the pellet.

  • Two people were injured during a spate of air weapon shootings from a car driven around the Penshaw and Washington areas of County Durham: armed police arrested three men, aged 19 and 21, at a house in Penshaw.

  • A pensioner had her car stolen at gunpoint in Rushmere St Andrew (Suffolk): an airgun found when her car was recovered and a man has been arrested.

  • Another pensioner was traumatised after four shots from an airgun were fired through her window as she lay in bed in Paisley.

  • In Cumbria, two cars had their windscreens smashed in Flimby, probably by shots from an air rifle, and windows of houses and flats were smashed by an airgun or BB gun in Grange.  A Carlisle councillor is calling for tighter controls over airguns after windows were smashed in Harraby.

  • At least two drivers reported that their vehicles had been hit by a youth firing an air weapon in Chorlton and Whalley Range in Manchester.  A train window was hit with an air rifle shot at it travelled through Cheadle Hulme, also in Greater Manchester.  British Transport Police reported that an air rifle had been fired at a train in Neville Hill (Leeds).

  • A man was detained under the Mental Health Act after an air rifle was seized from a van parked at a supermarket in Dunstable (Bedfordshire).

  • Three air pistols and an air rifle were found at addresses in Portishead (Somerset) during a police drugs raid: four men were arrested.  Three air rifles were among weapons seized by police in Rugby: one man was arrested.

  • Airguns (Convictions) - A 19-year-old who fired an air rifle in the face of a 16-year-old girl in Paulton (Somerset) has been sentenced to three years at a young offenders institute: the victim is still ill in hospital.

  • A man who used an air pistol during a raid on a betting shop in Horwich (Greater Manchester) has been jailed for 5 years.  A man has admitted robbing a shop in Rhu (Dunbartonshire): he was armed with an air pistol.

  • A 17-year-old was given a 40 month custodial sentence after he shot a 16-year-old and threatened three shop workers in Greenock with air weapons (see April 2007 Incidents).

  • An 18-year-old who fired an air rifle and injured a man whom be believed was trying to break into his flat in Maryhill (Glasgow) has been given a 12 month custodial sentence.

  • A Wild West enthusiast who fired a shot at police called to a disturbance at his house in Hume (Scottish Borders) has pleaded guilty to discharging an airgun pellet towards a police officer and two charges of possessing prohibited weapons: he has an outbuilding kitted out like a Wild West set which housed replica guns.

  • A man was jailed for five years after police found a modified air weapon and CS gas cartridges at his caravan in Clayton-le-Dale (Lancashire).

  • A man who threatened his father and stepmother at their home in Weston-super-Mare whilst armed with an air rifle pleaded guilty and will be sentenced next month.

  • A motorist pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and was given a suspended six months prison sentence and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work after he gestured with an airgun at another driver in Southport.

  • A man was given an eight month suspended prison sentence and 200 hours of unpaid work after an incident in Thetford in which he was spotted with an air rifle.

  • Imitation Guns - An elderly woman was shot in the face with a BB gun as she walked along a road in Huntingdon: a 9-year-old boy was spoken to in connection with the incident.  A woman was hit in the ribcage with a BB pellet whilst walking in a street in Grantham.

  • A 13-year-old boy held a fake gun to a teacher's head during a lesson at a school in Northampton.

  • Police in Grantham had to deal with four incidents involving BB guns within a week.  A BB gun with the appearance of a long-barrelled shotgun was seized, a car windscreen was hit in the same street where a woman was later hit (see above), and in Long Bennington two youths, aged 14 and 16, were given a warning and their BB guns seized after reports of a young man seen with a firearm.  Also in Lincolnshire shots were fired from a BB gun at a car in Boston.  A motorist was threatened with an imitation gun as he was driving through Trowse (Norfolk).

  • A BB gun was recovered and seven people were arrested after reports that a man had brandished a gun in Bedlington (Northumberland). 

  • Four youths were arrested after a cache of weapons, including BB guns, was found at a house in Leasowe (Wirral) after reports of an alleged assault.

  • Two teenage boys appeared in court after police saw mobile phone footage of a group brandishing guns: an imitation MP5 firearm was recovered during raids in Ellesmere Port (Cheshire).

  • Armed response teams had to track a motorist spotted with a silver pistol in his hand in Hove (the man was given advice about carrying a BB gun in public).  Two teenage women, dressed in Wild West costumes, were arrested in Brighouse (West Yorkshire) after one of them had been seen pointing a gun at other drivers on the M62: the gun turned out to be a toy.

  • Two teenagers were arrested after passengers on a bus in Bristol reported seeing them with a gun.  A man was arrested in Oxford after being caught on CCTV cameras pointing a gun at passers-by: the weapon was a toy gun and he was later released.  A man who pointed a handgun at people in the centre of Cardiff is thought to have been armed with an imitation gun.

  • Despite the fact that Surrey Police have been running a campaign warning of the dangers posed by replica guns, there were a number of incidents in the county in May. A 13-year-old was given a formal reprimand after being found with an imitation gun in Woking.  Two replica guns were seized from two boys, aged 11 and 13, in Caterham: the boys were reprimanded.  Extensive damage was caused by BB guns to cars in Godstone.  A teenager was seen with a handgun in Redhill town centre: he dropped the weapon, a BB gun, when confronted by armed officers but was caught later.  A local newspaper in Caterham described how easy it was for a 13-year-old boy to purchase a frighteningly realistic Colt pistol replica gun in the town.

  • Imitation Guns (Convictions) - A man has been jailed for 15 years for stealing 24,000 from a security guard at a service station in Stafford when he was armed with an imitation gun.

  • A man who presented a starting pistol at a takeaway in Glasgow whilst demanding a free kebab was jailed for four years.

  • A woman was jailed for 18 months after admitting possessing an imitation firearm which she pulled on a man during a dispute over parking in Trowell (Nottinghamshire).

  • Three boys who shot at primary school children in Rugeley (Staffordshire) with BB gun pellets, hitting 17 of them, have been given final warnings.

  • A man who was jailed for two years for drug dealing had a ball-bearing gun at his house in Darlington.

  • Incidents Involving Animals - There were more airgun attacks on cats reported in May (in Brighton, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Somerset), and a puppy died after being shot with a BB gun in Strood (Kent).

  • Protected birds are often targeted in shooting attacks.  This month a buzzard was found shot dead in St Cyrus (Aberdeenshire).

JUNE 2007 - SUMMARY

> Click here for pdf version (includes full list of incidents)

The incidents reported in June show a worrying number of situations in which people have been prepared to use guns for a variety of crimes in a variety of situations.  The most serious incidents resulted in the deaths of six people, one of whom was shot by armed police in Sevenoaks in Kent after she confronted officers whilst allegedly armed with an imitation gun.

A significant proportion of the incidents that resulted in injury this month involved the use, not of handguns and shotguns, but of airguns and imitation guns.  Although some of the injuries sustained by victims were not serious there is no reason to doubt that serious injury is always a possibility when such weapons are misused.  And regardless of whether a gun is real or not the fear experienced by a victim will have a lasting effect.

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - There were five fatal gun attacks in June, three in the Greater London area (Romford, Acton and Tottenham), one in the centre of Manchester and one in Bishopbriggs on the outskirts of Glasgow.  The victim in Tottenham was a 17-year-old woman, all the other victims were males.

  • Armed police shot and killed a woman in Sevenoaks (Kent) after she was seen with a gun and apparently had refused to drop it: it was widely reported that the weapon was an imitation gun (see below).

  • In a second incident involving firearms officers a man was shot and critically injured in Ebbw Vale (South Wales): the police were responding to reports of a man with a gun at a house.

  • A second man was injured in the fatal shooting in the centre of Manchester, and in other shootings in Greater Manchester a man was shot in the leg in Swinton and two teenagers were injured in a drive-by shooting in Moss Side (the car had been stolen at gunpoint in Hulme), though none of the injuries is believed to have been life-threatening.

  • A man was shot in the driveway of a house in Walsall: his injuries were also not believed to be life-threatening.  In Shrewsbury a man received an injury to his arm during a shooting in a nightclub.  A man who tried to stop an armed raid on a club in Henley Green (Coventry) was shot and seriously injured with a shotgun.

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - In addition to the raid on the social club in Henley Green in which a man was shot and injured (see above) there were reports of robberies and attempted robberies on a bank in Goring (West Sussex), a currency exchange office in Croydon (south London), post offices in Arnside (Cumbria), Ryton (Tyneside) and Denshaw (Greater Manchester), shops in Northampton and Dibden Purlieu (Hampshire) and a petrol station in Wigan.

  • Three masked men armed with a shotgun threatened a family in their home in Parson Cross (Sheffield).  A couple were assaulted and threatened with a handgun in their home in Orpington (Kent) by three men who stole cash and jewellery.  A man was injured when he fell onto concrete whilst escaping from an intruder armed with a handgun whom he found in his house in Woolston (Southampton).

  • A car was stolen from an elderly couple at gunpoint in Wallsend (Tyneside).

  • A dog was stolen from a man walking in a street in Dalston (east London) by two men, one of whom threatened him with a gun.  A man, believed to have been armed with a handgun, stole a mobile phone from a woman in a street in St Albans.

  • A man was kidnapped in Bolton by a gang of three men armed with a handgun and a Samurai sword: they demanded that he pay them money within three days or else they would harm him.  Two men were arrested in Hull after reports that a man was being held hostage in a house at gunpoint.

  • Three teenagers were arrested after a man appeared to threaten a taxi driver with a gun in East Bridgford (Nottingham) whilst the two female passengers ran off without paying their fare.

  • Other Incidents - A man was charged with three counts of attempted murder and three offences of possessing a firearm after gunshots were fired in a street in Avenham (Lancashire).

  • Police have linked two shootings in the south of Glasgow: a pedestrian walking his dog in Pollok was targeted by two men in a car (the dog was injured) and in Darnley a gun was fired through a house window.

  • Shots are thought to have been fired during a fight involving 10 men in Southampton.  Two shots were fired at a house in Blackburn: the shooting may be linked to a fight between two groups of youths.

  • Police were called to reports that a man had been shot by two men in Bury: no-one was injured.  Armed police surrounded a house in Filton (Bristol) after reports that a gun had been discharged.

  • A man was arrested in Plymouth after police were called to reports that a bird had been killed and cars damaged: they seized an unregistered shotgun.

  • Armed police were called to the station in Richmond (Surrey) when an off duty officer thought he saw a man with a small silver handgun.

  • A stun gun was found by police in a caravan following a crash on the M5 near Avonmouth: a man was arrested.

  • An armed police officer accidentally fired a weapon inside a police station in Exeter.

  • Gun Finds, Thefts and Losses - A soldier was charged with illegal possession of ammunition after being arrested at a barracks near Chichester (West Sussex).

  • A powerful air rifle was stolen from a pigeon loft in Colne (Lancashire).  The theft of two shotguns and cartridges was reported from a house in Edinburgh.

  • Police found CS gas and BB guns during a raid on a house in Kempston (Bedfordshire) following the interception of a package of stun guns at Heathrow Airport.

  • Convictions (see also Imitation Guns and Airgun Incidents) - Two men were convicted after shooting police officers.  One man was jailed for life (with a minimum of 15 years) for shooting and seriously injuring an unarmed officer in Wolverhampton, and a second has been jailed for at least six years after he was found guilty of wounding with intent and a firearms charge following a shooting in Leytonstone (east London) in which an undercover police officer was injured.

  • An 18-year-old will serve at least six years in jail after shooting a 16-year-old in the stomach with a sawn-off shotgun in a park in Neasden (north west London).  Another 18-year-old was jailed for three years for threatening a man with a shotgun in Gloucester.

  • Two men received jail sentences of 15 years and six years for their part in a robbery in Horsham (Sussex) in which a man was saved from serious injury when a shot hit his mobile phone (see May 2007 Incidents).

  • Members of a gang involved in the gunpoint kidnap of a man from his home in Glasgow have been given long jail sentences (see September 2006 Incidents).

  • Airguns - There is a widespread perception that virtually all reported gun injuries are caused by handguns and shotguns.  But that perception is wrong.  Airgun attacks account for a significant proportion of the injuries to gun victims.  According to the latest data for England & Wales, in 2005-06 23% of all serious gun injuries and 30% of all slight injuries were caused by air weapons (see News Items).

  • In June 2007 the following airgun incidents that resulted in injury were reported

    • A taxi driver was shot in the head with an air rifle in Bearsden (East Dunbartonshire) after a row over a fare

    • An 18-year-old female driver was shot in the head in Rosyth (Fife)

    • Two 12-year-olds were questioned after a bus driver was shot in the face with an airgun in North Baddersley (Hampshire)

    • Two youths were arrested after a mother was shot with an airgun in front of her children when they were at a funfair in Kirkheaton (West Yorkshire)

    • A cyclist was struck with a pellet, probably fired from an airgun, in Prestonpans (East Lothian)

    • A man was taken to hospital after being shot in the chest in Lincolnshire: a man was later arrested

    • A woman was hit in the back and injured with a plastic pellet fired from an airgun in Chatteris (Cambridgeshire)

  • Further incidents were reported that could also have resulted in injury to innocent victims

    • A man armed with an air rifle and a knife threatened members of the public in Lincoln

    • A firefighter narrowly escaped injury after air rifle shots were fired at the fire station in Alloa (Clackmannanshire)

    • Air rifle shots were fired at cars driving through an estate in Lewes (Sussex)

    • An air rifle may have been used in an attack which shattered the window of a car driving along the A473 between Llanharan and Llantrisant, South Wales

    • It is believed that an air weapon was fired at two vehicles which were damaged on the A68 between Tow Law and Butsfield in Country Durham

  • A man and a teenager were arrested by armed police who seized air rifles and imitation guns after reports of a group of people handling a gun in a park in Wellingborough (Northamptonshire).

  • Airguns (Convictions) - An 18-year-old from Barry who pointed an air rifle at a family and threatened to shoot them was given an eight-month suspended jail sentence and 150 hours community work.

  • Two boys, aged 13 and 14, have admitted robbing a shop in Stranraer (Wigtownshire) whilst armed with an air pistol.

  • A man who fired an air rifle at a group of teenagers in Strathpeffer (Easter Ross) has admitted a number of public order and firearm offences.

  • A man was given a four-month suspended jail sentence after he had dropped a loaded gas-propelled airgun in a bar in Sheffield.

  • Imitation Guns - Police repeatedly warn about the dangers of carrying imitation guns, which even a trained firearms officer may be unable to distinguish from a real firearm (see Police Campaigns).  The potential tragic consequences were all too apparent in Sevenoaks (Kent) where police shot and killed a woman who was apparently carrying a realistic looking ball-bearing gun (see above).  Too many are still not heeding the warnings and put themselves and others in danger by carrying and using these pointless weapons in public.

  • The following incidents, reported in a single month, highlight yet again how often imitation guns are being misused by youngsters, with other youngsters the most frequent victims.

    • A 12-year-old schoolgirl was shot twice with a ball-bearing gun in Hartlepool

    • A teenager was left with blurred vision after being shot with a ball-bearing gun in Peterlee (County Durham)

    • A 13-year-old received injuries after being shot with a ball-bearing gun from a passing car in Leominster (Herefordshire)

    • Three children, aged between six and eight, may have been responsible for a 15-year-old being shot in the eye with a BB gun in Dalkeith (Midlothian)

    • Also in Midlothian, a 14-year-old girl was shot in the head with a BB gun in Mayfield (a 12-year-old boy was charged with assault)

    • In another attack in Midlothian two girls had a BB gun pointed in their faces in Loanhead (a 13-year-old has been charged with breach of the peace)

    • An 8-year-old boy from Edinburgh was shot in the eye with a BB gun by a gang of youths 

    • A 10-year-old was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm after a number of children at a junior school in Laindon (Essex) were hit when he fired a BB gun at them

    • A 13-year-old pupil has permanently left a private school in Llanelli after firing plastic pellets at other pupils: one boy was taken to hospital after being shot in the eye

    • An Oldham teacher has included an incident of a child parading a ball-bearing gun in the classroom in a dossier of abusive and threatening behaviour in his school

  • And there were other examples of youths misusing imitation guns

    • BB guns were confiscated from teenagers after they fired them inside an underpass in Hereford

    • It is thought that the rifle-style gun pointed at a pensioner by a youth fleeing a club in Wigan was a BB gun: he fired the gun as he escaped.

    • A 19-year-old was arrested in Wootton (Northamptonshire) for carrying an imitation gun bought at a car boot sale.

    • Two 15-year-olds were criticised for brandishing an imitation gun in Yate (Gloucestershire).

    • Nine BB guns were seized by police in Hook (Hampshire), six from youngsters aged between 12 and 14: the guns had been bought at a market in Yateley.

  • In another incident in Hereford a man was arrested after firing pellets at vehicles on the city's ring road.

  • A teenager was hit with a paintball as she walked along a street in Redditch (Worcestershire).

  • Imitation Guns (Convictions) - These convictions provide further evidence that imitation guns are being used in serious crime (also see Airgun (Convictions) above)

  • A man was jailed for four years after robbing a post office and newsagents in Henlow (Bedfordshire) whilst armed with a small imitation handgun and a knife.

  • An 18-year-old from Swindon admitted a charge of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence after he had threatened a woman with the gun: he will be sentenced next month.

  • A man who hit a bar manager in Peterborough with a BB gun after pointing it at his head was given a suspended 12-month jail sentence and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work and compensation.

  • A man who discharged an airgun pellet towards a police officer in Hume (Scottish Borders) was jailed for five years for possession of two modified replica handguns in addition to his four year sentence for shooting towards the police (see May 2007 Incidents).

  • Incidents Involving Animals - During June the RSPCA in two areas (Wales and the West Midlands) released reports which revealed the increasing number of airgun attacks on animals, in particular cats and wild birds.  The list of incidents reported this month reflected these concerns.

  • Cats were injured or killed in the West Midlands (two reports), County Durham, Midlothian, South Wales, Somerset (two reports), Bolton and Hampshire.  GCN also heard from a correspondent about cats being shot with air weapons in the Lincoln area.  There were two other attacks on cats involving more powerful guns, one in Hampshire (a shotgun was used) and the other in Suffolk.  There is little doubt that these reported cases represent only the tip of the iceberg.

  • The RSPCA mounted a successful prosecution against a number of people who played a part in the torture of a cat in Stoke-on-Trent which included shooting it with an airgun.

  • A cygnet was shot and killed in Sandwell (West Midlands) and eight pigeons have been killed in a two year period in Ipswich.  All involved an air weapon.

JULY 2007 - SUMMARY

> Click here for pdf version (includes full list of incidents)

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - During July five male victims died in shooting attacks in London and Manchester.  Four of the fatal shootings occurred in London: a 16-year-old was shot dead by a gang on bicycles in Stockwell, a man was shot in the street in Woolwich and two men died after attacks at clubs, one in Wandsworth, in which a bouncer was also injured, the other in which the murdered man was a bouncer in the Fulham Road.  In Manchester, a drive-by shooting in Chorlton-on-Medlock claimed the life of one man and another man was injured: they were at the wake of a shooting victim who was killed in Manchester in June.

  • A teenager died after being shot in the head by a friend whilst they were out shooting on farmland in Southease (East Sussex).

  • There were a number of other incidents in which victims were injured by gunfire.  Two men were injured in double shootings in which the other victim was killed (in Wandsworth and Chorlton-on-Medlock, see above).  There were other shootings which resulted in injury.

    • In Manchester there were three more teenage shooting victims, two aged 16 and another aged 14: two of the incidents occurred in Hulme and one in Moss Side.  Another teenager escaped injury when shots were fired at him in Old Trafford.  A man was hit in the leg in Blackley.

    • A man and a woman were injured when they were shot in a probable targeted attack in Toxteth (Liverpool).

    • In two drive-by shootings in east London (Bow and Millharbour) two men were injured, one was aged 16.  Another man was injured in a drive-by shooting in Stockport.

    • Two men were shot and injured in an altercation outside a pub in Willenhall (West Midlands) during which another man was stabbed.  One man was shot in the leg when a group of youths attacked a house in Huddersfield.  In Lancashire a man was found with a leg injury after being shot in Fishwick (Preston).

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - There were reports of armed robberies and attempted armed robberies involving guns on a bank in Paisley, a post office in Newbury (Berkshire), on shops in Filton (Bristol), Wolverhampton and Hungerford (Berkshire) (alleged to have involved a BB gun), at jewellery stores in London and Coulsdon (Surrey), on a takeaway in South Shore (Lancashire), at a bookmakers in Englefield Green (Surrey) and a petrol station in Hazlemere (Buckinghamshire).

  • Security guards delivering cash were robbed by armed men in Colchester (Essex) and Worthing (West Sussex).

  • A man was robbed of his car after armed men stole his car keys and mobile phone at gunpoint in an attack in Dudley (West Midlands).  An assortment of valuable goods was stolen from a house in Epping (Essex) by two men armed with a handgun.

  • A teenager was robbed of headphones in a street in Preston, and in another street robbery a man was held up in Scunthorpe and made to hand over his wallet.  In an incident that took place last month a man and a woman were robbed of various items when they were attacked by a group of men brandishing a silver handgun on the Isle of Dogs (east London).  A woman was forced to hand over her purse by a teenager armed with a black handgun in Orford (Cheshire), although the purse was returned shortly afterwards.

  • Other Incidents - Two men were arrested after shots were fired at plain-clothes police officers in Neasden (north west London).

  • Information was being sought by police after reports of a gun fight in Harlesden (north west London), and shots were fired at a club in Brixton (south London).  A man was arrested after a gun was fired in Hazelwood near Selby.

  • Police were hunting a gunman who attacked a flat in Milton Keynes. 

  • A search was made for a man seen with a gun outside a bank in Corwen (Denbighshire).

  • Two men have been charged with firearms offences after police raids on a number of properties in Mid Craigie (Dundee).

  • Armed police cordoned off a street in Cannock (Staffordshire) in response to reports of a man with a gun (a man was arrested but no firearm was recovered).

  • Two men have been charged with firearms offences after police stopped a car full of guns in Burnage (Manchester).

  • A woman was arrested and then released without charge after reports of a man entering a property in Hayle (Cornwall) with a firearm.

  • Gun Finds and Thefts - A sawn-off shotgun, two high powered air rifles and a ball-bearing gun were part of an arsenal of weapons found with drugs by police in a lock-up garage in Immingham.  A cache of weapons, including a powerful air rifle and parts of a sawn-off shotgun, was found by police in a flat in Renfrew.

  • At least 20 decommissioned guns, including shotguns and machine guns, were stolen from a locked van in Paddock Wood (Kent) but recovered by police from the River Cray in Crayford the next day.

  • Replica guns were stolen from a house in Northampton along with knives and cowboy clothes.

  • Convictions (see also Imitation Guns and Airgun Incidents) - Three men were convicted of murder after a contract shooting in Castlemilk (Glasgow), two were given minimum 25 years sentences.  A fourth man pleaded guilty to culpable homicide and was given a 10 year sentence.

  • A man has been jailed for a minimum of 33 years after a gun attack on a club in Park Royal (north-west London) in which one man was killed.

  • A 19-year-old has been jailed for a minimum of 30 years for the murder of another teenager in The Meadows (Nottingham).

  • A man who shot and injured his love rival with a double-barrelled shotgun at an allotment in Orsett (Essex) has been jailed for eight years (see January 2007 Incidents).  A 20-year-old has been jailed for ten years for the "attempted assassination" of a man whom he injured by firing a sawn-off shotgun outside a pub in Edinburgh.

  • A gunman who shot and paralysed a man in Stonebridge (north west London) has been given a minimum 12 year jail sentence.

  • Two men have been jailed for 12 years each for smuggling firearms after they were caught at Dover Docks.

  • A man will serve a five year sentence for possession a shotgun after an arsenal of weapons and ammunition was found in a flat in Elephant and Castle (south London).  A man from Walker (Tyneside) was jailed for four years after police found a shotgun in a wardrobe at his house, and a woman from South Shields faces a five year sentence after pleading guilty to possessing a self loading shotgun.

  • A man has pleaded guilty of possessing a firearm and seven rounds of ammunition.  Police had found a converted handgun between his buttocks after they had stopped his car in Tooting (south London)

  • A man admitted charges of assault, grievous bodily harm and possession of a weapon following an incident in Bristol in which he paralysed a man with a stun gun.

  • Airguns - The latest victims to be hit in airgun attacks were:

    • A widow in a wheelchair tending her husband's grave in Newark (Nottinghamshire)

    • A teenager in St Ann's (Nottingham) who was shot whilst walking a dog and required hospital treatment

    • Another teenager at work on scaffolding in Eaton Socon (Cambridgeshire)

    • Two people, one of them a 13-year-old, hit by air rifle pellets in Holbrooks (Coventry) (two 14-year-olds were arrested)

    • A man who suffered a minor injury when he was shot in the stomach in Bridlington (East Yorkshire), in one of two air rifle incidents in the town

    • A 14-year-old who had to recover in hospital after being shot in the face with an airgun in Witley (Surrey)

    • A man hit in the leg with an air rifle pellet whilst out jogging in Redditch (Worcestershire)

    • A bus driver who had a shard of glass in his eye after the windscreen of his vehicle was shattered in Walsgrave (Coventry)

    • A teacher shot in the head in the playground of a Nuneaton junior school and needed surgery to remove the pellet from her scalp

    • A teenage girl who had a finger broken in an incident in Wingate (County Durham)

    • A cyclist riding on the Taff Trail towards Merthyr Tydfil

  • A man armed with an air weapon took random potshots at pedestrians in the High Road in Streatham (south London)

  • The window of a police car parked in Latchford (Cheshire) was shattered by an air rifle pellet which flew past the officer inside.

  • A window cleaner escaped injury when an air rifle or ball-bearing gun was fired at him in York.

  • A mother and her baby son witnessed two airgun incidents in Wyke Regis (Dorset), one in which a seagull was killed and landed close to the baby and another when a window on their bus was shattered.

  • Two teenagers armed with an air rifle stole a mobile phone from another youth in Chorley (Lancashire).

  • A youth with an air rifle caused damage to lights outside a house in Wilmcote (Coventry).

  • A woman was arrested and cautioned after threatening a group of children with an airgun in Feltwell (Norfolk).

  • A man was arrested on suspicion of possessing firearms after a gun was brandished at a party in Eastington (Gloucestershire): an air rifle and a pellet-firing handgun were recovered.

  • A man and three boys were warned after a police helicopter and armed police were called out after they were seen firing air rifles in a field in Peterborough: they had no permission to shoot.

  • Airguns (Convictions - see also Imitation Guns) - A woman who used a high-powered air pistol to shoot into several buildings in Perth has been made the subject of a hospital order after admitting two charges including recklessly discharging a firearm and possessing the weapon without lawful authority.

  • One teenager involved in a drive-by shooting with an air rifle in Runcorn (Cheshire) was given a 500 fine and two others were given referral orders: the gang hit three cyclists.

  • Police found an air rifle in the wardrobe of a man in Swansea who had threatened to harm himself: he was prohibited from keeping the weapon because of a previous conviction.  He was placed under supervision for a year and ordered to do community service.

  • Imitation Guns - A 16-year-old was shot in the eye with a pellet fired from a BB gun in Deeping St James (Lincolnshire).

  • A teenager who held up a shop assistant in Hungerford (Berkshire) was allegedly armed with a BB gun.

  • Two BB guns were seized by police when a man was arrested following reports of someone being threatened with a gun in Exeter.

  • A man was charged with a number of offences, including two counts of possession of an imitation firearm, following two armed robberies in Somerset (Minehead, Weston-super-Mare).

  • Police cautioned an 18-year-old who was spotted leaning out of a car window and shooting at members of the public in New Brighton (Merseyside) with a BB gun.  Two men were arrested for possessing an imitation firearm after causing fear to the public in Spalding (Lincolnshire).  Two arrests have been made in Hambleton (North Yorkshire) where youths carrying imitation firearms have been spreading panic.

  • A man was arrested after neighbours in Earlham (Norfolk) spotted him firing a gun, believed later to be a BB gun, in his back garden.

  • Police arrested a car seen with an imitation gun in his car at a location close to Downing Street in Westminster.  Two Royal Marines were chastised by police after being spotted with a BB gun in their car in Plymouth.  Three teenagers were given a final warning after being spotted with a ball-bearing firing air rifle in Lyndhurst (Hampshire).

  • Police searched outbuildings in Three Mile Cross (Berkshire) over fears that they were being used to convert imitation guns into firearms.

  • Imitation Guns (Convictions) -A man who ran amok with an imitation handgun and threatened two police officers when drunk after a party in Bolton has been jailed for two years.

  • An 18-year-old from Swindon who had pointed an air weapon at a woman's face and admitted a charge of possessing an imitation gun with intent to cause fear of violence has also been jailed for two years (see June 2007 Incidents).

  • Incidents Involving Animals - More birds and animals have been killed and injured as a result of airgun attacks.  Moorhens were killed in County Durham, seagulls in Hartlepool and Dorset and a swan in Nottingham.  Cats were shot in incidents in Edinburgh (two reported incidents), Birchington (Kent) and Amesbury (Wiltshire) and four captive fox cubs died after being shot at a release scheme in Somerset.  There were also reports of ducks and a dog being shot at with BB guns by youths in Bourne (Lincolnshire).

AUGUST 2007 - SUMMARY

> Click here for pdf version (includes full list of incidents)

Gun crime returned to the headlines in August 2007 as a result of a number of high profile fatal shootings, especially the one which resulted in the death of 11-year-old Rhys Jones in Croxteth.

The total number of incidents recorded by GCN was certainly higher in August.  The heightened concerns about gun crime no doubt led to more comprehensive media reporting.  A survey by the Daily Mirror on one week's incidents based on information from the police was a reminder that GCN is only recording a proportion of the incidents.

As we have suggested on previous occasions further measures to deal with gun crime, now being discussed again, must take into account not only the most tragic incidents that have resulted in fatal and serious injuries but also the problems experienced by a wider cross-section of the community which are caused by weapons, such as airguns and imitation guns, that remain too easily available.  As this summary reveals there are far too many gun incidents involving these weapons and these happen in areas distant from those most affected by gangs and drugs, frequently cited as the causes of gun crime.

It is clear that there can be no tolerance of the carrying of guns of any description in public.  The age of someone brandishing a gun can never be considered to reflect the lethality of the weapon he is holding.  Rhys Jones' killer, armed with a lethal firearm, was reportedly in his mid-teens.

GCN will be making more detailed comments shortly.

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - There were a number of high profile gun murders in August.  Nine people were killed in shooting attacks.

    • A teenager was shot dead in the street in Brixton (south London)

    • Another teenager was fatally injured outside a club in Paisley (Renfrewshire)

    • An 11-year-old was killed in Croxteth (Liverpool)

    • In a second fatal shooting in Liverpool a 20-year-old was killed on a busy street in Wavertree

    • A motorcyclist was shot dead on the M40 in Warwickshire

    • An airgun was used to murder a pensioner from West Lothian (see below)

    • Three people, including a 17-year-old, were shot dead at a house in Bishop's Stortford (Hertfordshire): two women were injured during the attack

  • A number of teenagers have been questioned about the Croxteth shooting and a teenager has been charged with murder for the airgun shooting.  Four people have appeared in court charged with offences relating to the M40 murder.

  • A man whose body was found on farmland in Suffolk is believed to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound: a shotgun was recovered from the scene.

  • A man died after an apparent shooting incident on remote farmland in County Durham.

  • Victims sustained injuries in double shootings in Chorlton-on-Medlock (Manchester), Letchworth Garden City (Hertfordshire) and Mossley Hill (Liverpool).

  • In London other victims were injured by gunfire at a street party in Tulse Hill, in a street in Streatham and outside a nightclub in the Old Kent Road.  Two separate shootings occurred at the Notting Hill Carnival, three people were injured in shootings at a party in Tottenham and a few days later another youth was injured in another shooting in Tottenham.

  • In West Yorkshire a man was injured in a street attack in Bingley and another received minor facial injuries in a shooting in Leeds.  Another man was shot in the face in Cheetham Hill (Manchester).  In a drive by shooting in Glasgow the victim was shot five times.

  • A police officer was accidentally shot by a colleague at a firing range at Gatwick police station (Sussex).

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - There were robberies and attempted robberies at a shop in Port Talbot (Glamorgan), a bookmakers in Podsmead (Gloucestershire), post offices in Corby and Brigstock (Northamptonshire) and a bank in Troon (Ayrshire).  Petrol stations were held up in Corby (Northamptonshire) and in Droitwich (Worcestershire) where the robber was believed to have been armed with a replica handgun (see below).  A man attempted to rob a bus company's premises in Cowley (Oxford).  A man threatened to shoot a shop worker in Cleethorpes (Lincolnshire), two men threatened a cashier in Blackwood (Gwent) and a man pulled a handgun in a shop in Wallsend (Tyneside)

  • A man in Luton was forced to hand over the keys to his car which was taken by two men, one armed with a handgun.  A teenage gunman demanded car keys from a couple in Hale Village (Cheshire) but was fought off.

  • Three girls in Telford (Shropshire) were confronted by a man who pulled a handgun on them, demanding a handbag.  Two men were robbed by a gang of armed youths outside a pub in Wolverhampton.

  • Other Incidents - A dog died after being shot when a house was attacked in Salford: nobody in the house was injured.  In Widnes a bullet tore through the sofa in a house minutes after a 4-year-old boy had been sleeping there.  A window was shattered when a gun was fired at a house in Lenton (Nottingham) and shots were fired through a house window in Tuebrook (Liverpool).

  • Shots were fired at a police car on the M5 in Gloucestershire after a car was stopped.

  • A gunman opened fire in a busy pub in Paisley (Renfrewshire).  A man was arrested in Bristol after an incident in Bristol when shots were reported to have been fired.  A man was arrested and charged after reports of shots being fired in a Dundee street.

  • A teenager is reported to have fired three or four shots in Broadway Market (east London) sparking fears that a gang "turf war" was escalating.

  • A woman was seen to fire a long-barrelled weapon at a neighbour in St Neots (Cambridgeshire).

  • A man was arrested in Newquay (Cornwall) after someone was seen pointing a gun through a pub window. 

  • A shotgun was pointed at children in Ellesmere Port (Cheshire): two men were arrested.  Three 18-year-olds said a shotgun was fired at them in New Mills (Derbyshire).  A woman was threatened with a shotgun at a railway station on Merseyside.

  • Police arrested a man in Godalming (Surrey) after threats were made with a gun.

  • A man was released on police bail after being spotted with a gun in Bridgewater (Somerset) on CCTV.  Four men were questioned by police after being found with a firearm in an Ipswich street.  A 16-year-old was arrested for possessing of a firearm in Sheffield.  Other men and youths were reported being seen with guns in Cambridge, Bristol, Wilmslow and Widnes (Cheshire), Peterborough, Kegworth (Leicestershire), Pocklington (Humberside) and Spittals (Cambridgeshire).

  • A 10-year-old threatened a man with a handgun on a train in Preston.

  • Gun Finds and Thefts - In London a teenager was arrested when police found a massive arsenal of weapons including a handgun in Bermondsey, three people were arrested in Bayswater Road on suspicion of possession of firearms and another four were arrested for possessing a firearm after a raid on an address in Maida Vale.

  • A woman has been charged with firearms and drugs offences after police found a handgun and accessories in her car during a routine stop-check in Preston.

  • A handgun and ammunition were found by police in an alleyway in Ardwick (Manchester): an 18-year-old has been arrested.  Children discovered a sawn-off shotgun in a bag close to a jail in Durham.

  • A loaded air rifle was stolen from an allotment in Middlesbrough.

  • Convictions (see also Imitation Guns and Airgun Incidents) - A teenager who was part of a gang responsible for the murder of a man in Wembley (north London) was found guilty and was warned he would be sent to jail for life.  A third man was jailed for the murder of a man shot dead in Willesden (north London).

  • One of the country's most feared and dangerous criminals, who was involved in a number of gun crimes linked to Nottingham was identified after receiving long jail sentences for his involvement in the murders of a jeweller in Arnold (Nottingham) and a couple at their bungalow in Trusthorpe (Lincolnshire).

  • Three youths were convicted of the murder of a Merseyside gang leader who was shot dead in Fazakerley (Merseyside).

  • A teenager has been given 28 months youth custody after police found a converted firearm and 9mm bullets at his flat in South Norwood (south London).

  • Airguns - A pensioner was shot dead with an airgun at his home in Winchburgh (West Lothian): a 17-year-old has been charged with murder.

  • Other victims of airgun attacks sustained injuries in incidents in:

    • Cleethorpes (shot fired from a car leaving the victim unable to see out of one eye)

    • Tovil (Kent) (a boy was shot in the leg and two youngsters arrested)

    • Maidenhead (Berkshire) (a 16-year-old girl was shot in the leg)

    • Carlisle (a teenage cyclist suffered a collapsed lung)

    • Dundee (two 15-year-olds were shot with an airgun in a park)

    • Hulme (Manchester) (the victim was a 13-year-old boy)

    • Inverness (a man was taken to hospital)

    • York (two men were hit with air rifle pellets: three teenagers were arrested)

    • Huddersfield (a woman removed a pellet embedded in her head and was taken to hospital)

    • Killingholme (Humberside)

    • Blaby (Leicestershire)

    • Mansfield (Nottinghamshire) (a man was reportedly hit in the back)

  • A 3-year-old girl was left with an airgun pellet in her brain after what was described as "a tragic accident" at a pub in Stoke-on-Trent: it appears her 6-year-old sister may have fired the gun.

  • At Elderslie golf club in Renfrewshire two women players had to run for cover when two boys took pot shots at them.  A youth turned an air rifle on an elderly man at a reservoir near Rotherham (South Yorkshire).  Firefighters in Portland (Dorset) responding to a 999 calls were shot at with an airgun.

  • An air rifle was recovered after a youth was arrested on suspicion of possession of a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and for allegedly threatening a woman in Bedworth (Warwickshire): the air rifle is not believed to be linked to the incident.

  • A man armed with an air rifle and a knife was arrested after he refused to leave his flat in Blandford (Dorset): he was arrested after police officers used a stun gun to disarm him.  In Wales a man with an air rifle made threats to kill in Bargoed (Caerphilly) and police disarmed a man with an air rifle during a domestic incident in Newport.

  • Police in Warminster (Wiltshire) are stepping up measures to combat a rising spate of air rifle attacks on residents and animals.  Later they seized a gas-powered BB gun from youths in the town.

  • Two teenagers were issued with a warning for possessing a loaded air rifle in public after being arrested in Newport (Essex).  Two youths were seen firing an air rifle in a country park in Cambridgeshire.

  • Windows at a cricket club clubhouse in County Durham were smashed: airgun slugs were found.

  • Convictions - A man who left a trail of havoc in Lyndhurst (Hampshire) when he raided a shop and entered a restaurant whilst armed with an air pistol has been jailed indefinitely.  Another man who attempted to rob a corner shop in Thornbury (Bradford) whilst armed with an airgun was sent to a young offenders institution for 18 months.

  • Imitation Guns - A 20-year-old man was charged with possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence, an offence believed to be linked to the murder of a man in Huyton (Merseyside).

  • A number of young children were hit with pellets fired from imitation guns

    • A seven-year-old boy was shot just below the eye with a BB gun in Sidford (Devon)

    • Another boy, aged 9, was taken to hospital with a serious eye injury after a BB gun pellet hit him in Chesterfield

    • A 10-year-old boy shot at two schoolgirls, one of whom was hit on the arm, in an attack in Heath Hayes (Staffordshire)

    • A 10-year-old boy was the victim of a ball-bearing gun attack in Midway (Derbyshire) following which a 15-year-old was reprimanded by police

    • A 10-year-old girl suffered minor facial injuries in Cannock (Staffordshire)

    • A 9-year-old boy lost part of a front tooth after being shot with a ball-bearing gun in a caravan park on the Isle of Arran

    • A 3-year-old was hit on the hand in High Valleyfield (Fife) (a 13-year-old has been reported)

    • A 9-year-old was shot outside a Dumfries primary school (an 11-year-old will be reported)

    • An 11-year-old in Crewe was reported to be firing at other children in the street

  • There were also attacks on a number of adults

    • A council worker was hit by a missile fired from a ball bearing gun by a gang of youths in Luton

    • A shopper was nearly blinded in Chadderton (Oldham) when a 14-year-old fired a ball-bearing from a replica gun

    • A male cyclist was shot and injured with a BB gun in Lowestoft (Suffolk).

    • Several pedestrians were hit by pellets fired from a BB gun in Skegness (Lincolnshire): two men were arrested and two BB guns seized from their vehicle

  • Two masked men armed with a starting pistol terrified a family in their Ilkeston (Nottinghamshire) home: the pistol was fired.

  • A man armed with an imitation gun held a number of people hostage in Sittingbourne (Kent).

  • A man was charged with attempted armed robbery and possession of an imitation firearm while committing a serious offence after an incident on a street in Worsley (Manchester).  A man responsible for a robbery in Droitwich (Worcestershire) was believed to have been armed with a replica handgun.

  • A man was arrested for possession of a BB gun in a public place after alarming passers by in St Neots (Cambridgeshire).  A man was threatened with a replica pistol in Slough (Berkshire).  A 15-year-old was arrested for aiming an imitation handgun at people in Levenmouth (Fife).

  • Police believe that someone taking potshots with a ball-bearing gun may be responsible for damage to windows at a care home in Renfrewshire.

  • Youths firing paintball gun pellets damaged a number of vehicles in Lowestoft.

  • Three men were arrested and later released after a blank-firing pistol was fired in a garden in Bath.

  • Two 15-year-old girls have been cautioned by police after being seen with a replica gun in Manchester.  A group of youths in Eye (Cambridgeshire) were reported with a 9mm Glock pistol.  A man was charged with possession of an imitation gun in Nuneaton (Warwickshire) a few hours after a man had been seen waving a handgun at youths.

  • Convictions - Two young teenagers who were armed with a ball-bearing gun were sentenced to five years and two years and eight months in custody for their part in a vicious attack on a teenager in Preston.

  • Two men were jailed for a total of 19 years after a raid on Atherton railway station (Bolton) when a cashier was threatened with a fake handgun.  A 19-year-old has been detained in a young offenders' institution for four and a half years after threatening a woman with a ball-bearing gun in a Croydon street and demanding that she hand over money.  A 16-year-old admitted robbery and attempted robbery on two women in Edinburgh when he was armed with an imitation gun (a cigarette lighter).

  • A man who shot a 13-year-old schoolgirl in the leg with a ball-bearing gun in Blackford (Perthshire) was jailed for 100 days.

  • A Burnley man was given a one year suspended jail sentence and 12 months supervision after he had pointed a ball-bearing gun at a man at his ex-girlfriend's house.

  • A 16-year-old girl whose offences included shooting at youngsters with a ball-bearing gun has been given an Asbo.

  • A man from Crayford (Kent) who was given a rehabilitation order for child cruelty and assaulting his wife was reported to have shot his daughter in both knees with a ball-bearing gun.

  • A 19-year-old who fired a ball-bearing gun while at work in Louth (Lincolnshire) was given a four month prison term, suspended for 12 months.

  • A man was given a suspended jail sentence after police found him with an imitation gun in his jacket pocket when his car was searched in Droitwich (Worcestershire).

  • Incidents Involving Animals - There were further reports from across the country of cats falling victim to airgun attacks (Aberdeenshire, Bolton, Cambridgeshire, Chester, Clwyd, Inverness-shire, Shropshire, Sussex )

  • Cygnets and swans were victims of attacks with air rifles and BB guns in Doune (Perthshire), Telford (Shropshire) and Mablethorpe (Lincolnshire).

  • Two men have been fined for killing four deer near Alford (Aberdeenshire).

SEPTEMBER 2007 - SUMMARY

> Click here for pdf version (includes full list of incidents)

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - Two men were killed in shooting attacks in September, both in London.  One victim was found in a park in Camberwell (south London), another man died when he was shot in the head in Acton (west London).

  • Two men alleged to have been involved in an attempted armed raid on a bank were shot and killed by police in Chandler's Ford (Hampshire).

  • Victims were injured in a number of incidents in the four areas to be targeted in a Government initiative to tackle gangs and gun crime.

    • In London there were reports of gun injuries in shootings at a party in Thornton Heath (south London), at a nightclub in Wembley (north London) (two men were injured) and outside another nightclub in the Elephant and Castle (south London) where there were two separate shootings in the space of two days resulting in two men being shot.

    • In Greater Manchester there were reports of four people being hurt: two teenagers were shot in Fallowfield, receiving minor injuries, and two men received gunshot wounds whilst they were sitting in a car in Oldham.

    • A victim was injured in a gun attack in a street in Toxteth (Liverpool).

    • In the West Midlands victims were injured in shootings in Cotteridge, Whitmore Reans and Wednesfield.

  • Two teenage boys were shot in Sheffield, one in the arm in a drive-by shooting (two people have been arrested), the other in the knee in a targeted attack.

  • A number of people were questioned after a man was found with gunshot wounds in Annesley Woodhouse (Nottinghamshire).

  • A police officer accidentally shot himself in London.

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - There were reports of robberies and attempted robberies on a supermarket in Paisley (Renfrewshire), an off licence in Wallsend (Tyneside), other shops in Small Heath (Birmingham) (a shot was fired) and Headington (Oxford), a bookies in Paisley, a cash office at a railway station in Cardiff and petrol stations in Pwllmeyric (Monmouthshire) and Didcot (Oxfordshire) (involving a 16-year-old brandishing a BB gun or an airgun, see below).  A man was robbed of his wallet and a mobile phone at gunpoint in a travel agent's in Walworth (south London).

  • Four men armed with shotgun-style weapons and an axe stole money from a hotel in Northwold (Norfolk): the raid may be linked to armed raids on other homes in various locations in Norfolk and in Wisbech (Cambridgeshire). A man demanded money at a pub in Gateshead: a ball bearing gun (see below) was recovered and a man is in custody.

  • The driver of a postal van was tied and bound at gunpoint in Buckinghamshire: three armed robbers fled with cash.

  • A family was threatened in their home in Southampton by three men armed with a handgun.  Residents of two properties in the Bristol area (Longwell Green, Kingswood) were threatened in similar attacks by burglars armed with a stun gun: in the attack in Longwell Green a man was incapacitated.  Three men were arrested after a robbery at a home in Newhaven (Sussex) in which a handgun was thought to have been seen.

  • A motorcyclist, possibly armed with a handgun, stole the collection money from a church official in Darenth (Kent).

  • A man in a parked car in Wandsworth (south London) was threatened with a gun and had his mobile phone and Sat Nav accessory stolen when he left the vehicle to call the police. 

  • Other Incidents - Two police officers escaped injury when they were shot at in Kirkdale (Liverpool): an 18-year-old has been charged with attempted murder.

  • Police used a stun gun to subdue a man who was wielding a pistol at a pub in Chadwell Heath (east London).

  • A man escaped injury after a shot was fired following an altercation at a takeaway in Stretford (Manchester).

  • A man was arrested in Norwich after a five hour stand-off: armed police went to the house after reports of a man with a handgun.

  • The window of a flat was shot at in Ribbleton (Preston).  Shots were apparently fired at a car in Liverpool.

  • A man was arrested in Brighton after pulling out a gun in a restaurant: armourers were determining whether it was a replica or real weapon.

  • A lorry carrying shotgun cartridges caught fire on the M42 in Worcestershire and the motorway had to be partially closed whilst the blaze was brought under control.

  • Gun Finds and Thefts - Weapons including a handgun and a rifle were found at a house in Wythenshaw (Manchester): a man has been charged.  Police arrested a man after they found a large amount of cocaine and a firearm and ammunition at a house in Stockton (Teesside).  A number of handguns, ammunition and cannabis were recovered by police at a house in Haydock (Merseyside): two men were arrested.  A 15-year-old, one of four teenagers arrested in Cheetham Hill (Manchester), has been charged with possession of a firearm, ammunition and cannabis.

  • Four shotguns and ammunition were stolen in a burglary in Millom (Cumbria).  Three shotguns were among items stolen from a property in Kingston (Hampshire).

  • Convictions (see also Imitation Guns and Airgun Incidents) - Three youths convicted of murdering a leading member of a Merseyside gang were jailed for life (minimum terms of 28, 20 and 18 years).  A fourth person was jailed for 20 years for manslaughter (see August 2007 Incidents).

  • The mother of a girl who was shot dead in Gorton (Manchester) has admitted possessing the gun which killed her daughter.  A man who had hidden two pistols in the cistern of his toilet in Longsight (also in Manchester) was given an indeterminate sentence with a minimum of four years and 35 days.

  • A man believed to be the boss of a notorious gang in Peckham (south London) is facing a life sentence after being found guilty of eight charges including possession of a number of firearms and ammunition.

  • A man has pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence after he triggered a police siege in Newton Poppleford (Devon).

  • A man has been ordered to carry out 300 hours of community service after being caught in unlawful possession of a shotgun at his home in Linwood (Renfrewshire).

  • A man who paralysed a teacher in a stun gun attack outside a school in Bristol has been sentenced to six years in a young offenders' institute (see July 2007 Incidents).

  • A soldier has been jailed for three years for trying to sell ammunition to an undercover police officer.

  • Airguns - More people became victims of airgun attacks in September.

    • Three people were hit in three linked airgun attacks in Burton-on-Trent (Staffordshire): at least one of the victims required hospital treatment

    • Two 13-year-old schoolgirls were injured by a shot from a gas-powered air pistol in Stafford: two men have been arrested

    • A 14-year-old was shot in the leg by an airgun in Great Wyrley (Staffordshire)

    • A 16-year-old girl was shot with an air weapon in Weymouth (Dorset)

    • A man was shot in the cheek in an air rifle shooting in Bolton

  • A man had to undergo lifesaving surgery after apparently shooting himself in the head with an air rifle in Exeter.

  • A man sustained a pellet wound to his chest after accidentally discharging his air rifle in Beaford (Devon).

  • A man was arrested in St Mellons (Cardiff) and a firearm found in the boot of a car after an air weapon was apparently fired at a vehicle in the Rhymney Valley.

  • An air rifle was recovered from a caravan in Seaton Burn (Tyneside) where a man was arrested for public order offences and firearm offences.

  • A man from Aberdeen believes his family are under attack after a number of their cars were hit by pellets from air weapons.

  • An air pistol was seized by police from two 9-year-old boys who were pointing the weapon at passers by in Trowbridge (Wiltshire).

  • Damage estimated at 600 was caused by an airgun sniper to a window on a bus in Dartmouth (Devon).  An airgun pellet shattered a window on a train between Exeter and Axminster and in Kintore (Aberdeenshire) the driver's cab of a train was cracked after someone took pot shots at it with an airgun.

  • Windows of a library were smashed after being shot at with a ball-bearing gun in Worthing (West Sussex) and damage costing 800 was caused to a shop window in Merstham (Surrey).

  • Convictions (Airguns) - A man who shot his son with a modified air rifle and almost killed him was jailed for 18 years after admitting attempted murder and possessing the rifle without a certificate (see April 2007 Incidents).

  • A man was given a jail sentence of three and a half years after he had shot one person in the leg and threatened others during an incident at a party in Sandhurst (Berkshire).

  • A man who lay in wait for his father and stepmother whilst armed with an air rifle and who pleaded guilty to various charges following the incident in Weston-super-Mare has been jailed for two and a half years (see May 2007 Incidents).

  • A Mansfield man who pointed an air rifle at a police officer was jailed for 15 months.

  • The Crown Prosecution Service decided that a 14-year-old who shot a teenage girl in the face with an air rifle in Botley (Hampshire), causing injuries which required surgery, was too young to understand the implications of what he was doing and no case was brought against him.

  • Two men were fined after a pensioner had been shot in the back with a stray air rifle pellet in Bracebridge Heath (Lincolnshire).

  • A man could face jail after admitting recklessly discharging air rifle pellets in a street in Greenock.

  • A York man who made threats to his wife over the phone and had an air pistol in his vehicle was given a jail sentence of two and a half years.

  • A drug dealer from Roath (Cardiff) who has been jailed for three years had an air rifle in his car.

  • Imitation Guns - Imitation guns are still being used to attack people of all ages.

    • A toddler was shot in the eye after a BB gun, apparently bought for 1, was fired at a show in Pontarddulais (Swansea).

    • A man was attacked with a BB gun whilst sitting on a bench in Great Yarmouth (Norfolk).

    • An 11-year-old was shot in the torso with a ball-bearing gun in Gillingham by a group of three teenagers (Kent)

    • Two men were hit by pellets fired from a BB gun in Reading: two young men may be linked to the incidents.

    • The father of an 11-year-old old boy has only just been informed by the police that his son was the victim of a BB gun attack which took place near Wrexham in August.

    • Two teenagers burst into a pub in Preston claiming they had been shot by a gang: the shots were apparently fired from an imitation gun.

  • A 16-year-old was questioned on suspicion of trying to carry out an armed robbery at a petrol station in Didcot (Oxfordshire): he was brandishing a BB gun or an airgun.

  • In Lancashire two men apparently used an imitation firearm when they stole cash from a takeaway driver in Morecambe, and a man was threatened with a BB gun in Fishwick.

  • A ball-bearing gun was recovered after a man demanded money at a pub in Gateshead: a man is in custody.

  • The police dealt with a number of incidents involving youths carrying imitation guns in public.

    • A youth was spotted brandishing a weapon that looked like an AK47 assault rifle at Newton Station (Greater Manchester): a boy has been arrested.

    • A BB gun was confiscated from three youths after reports of a teenager brandishing a gun in Calne (Wiltshire).

    • Four youths were arrested over the summer in South Shields (Tyneside) following incidents involving BB guns.

    • Armed police were called to a housing estate in Rushden (Northamptonshire) after a youth was spotted with a ball-bearing gun.

    • A BB gun was recovered when two youths were arrested by police after an incident in a Lincoln street.

    • Police arrested six teenagers after they were seen firing handguns (BB guns) at each other along the A158 in Lincolnshire.

    • Two young men spotted waving a BB gun out of a car in Southport were released without charge.

    • An 11-year-old was made to hand over a BB gun after two boys were spotted with a gun in Caterham (Surrey).

    • A 16-year-old handed over an imitation gun after an armed response unit was called to the centre of Nottingham.

  • A man was arrested after a blank-firing firearm was found in baggage at Blackpool airport.

  • A gun shop owner in York has been placed on City of York Council's Staff Warning Register after allegedly threatening a council worker with a replica rifle.

  • Convictions (Imitation Guns) - Two BB guns were found in the getaway car of two men who have now been sentenced to 11 years and six years for offences relating to a series of armed raids on bookmakers in Raynes Park and Twickenham, a bank raid in Barnes and off licences in Acton.

  • A man was jailed for three years after he had pointed an imitation AK47 at a female police officer in Corby (Northamptonshire): the man also had a replica pistol.

  • Two 18-year-olds were jailed for a year each after an attack with a BB gun on a pedestrian in Carlisle.  Another man was jailed for 15 months for an attack on a man in Swindon with a BB gun: one of the pellets punctured the victim's skin.  A man has been sent to prison for six months after shooting a woman in the bottom with a ball-bearing gun in Rhyl (North Wales).

  • A 20-year-old was found guilty of robbing a student whilst armed with an imitation gun in Strood and has been jailed for six years.  A 15-year-old was given two years probation after robbing school children in Shrewsbury whilst armed with an imitation gun.

  • Two men who threatened and demanded money from victims on a bus in Derbyshire, whilst armed with an imitation handgun, were jailed for 14 months and 2 years.

  • A 20-year-old man was given a caution and an 18-year-old charged with possessing an imitation firearm in public after an incident in Derby recorded by CCTV cameras in July.

  • No action was taken against a Devizes (Wiltshire) man who had been seen at a supermarket with a gun stuck in his belt (police raided his home and recovered a BB gun).

  • Incidents Involving Animals - In addition to another catalogue of incidents in which cats have been shot and injured with air weapons (in Carlisle, Hartlepool, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire) there was a further report of a swan being killed with an air rifle (in York) and an airgun attack on a horse (near Peebles).

OCTOBER 2007 - SUMMARY

> Click here for pdf version (includes full list of incidents)

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - There were four more fatal shootings in South London in October: the attacks happened in Stockwell, New Cross (a woman was hit by a stray bullet during a gunfight between two men), Plumstead (the victim was an 18-year-old) and Streatham.  In a fifth fatal attack a 16-year-old was killed in Burngreave (Sheffield).

  • In Manchester a man was injured in Cheetham Hill and a 13-year-old was shot in Moss Side where a gunfight between rival gangs had been reported earlier in the month.

  • Two men were shot and injured in West Green (north London) and a 14-year-old received injuries in a shooting in Leyton (north east London).  A second teenager was injured in the attack which resulted in one death in Plumstead (south east London), and a second man was shot during the fatal attack in Streatham (south London) (see above).

  • A woman was grazed by a bullet and the exterior of a house was damaged in Huyton-with-Roby (Merseyside).

  • A soldier suffered a serious gunshot wound to the leg in an exercise at Barry Buddon training camp.

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - There were robberies and attempted robberies at a bookmakers in Penicuik (Midlothian), at two shops in Essex (Saffron Waldon and Colchester) and another shop in Cleethorpes (Lincolnshire).  A man is due to appear in court after two robberies on shops and one attempted robbery on a post office in Kilmacolm and Inverkip (Inverclyde).  A leisure park in Camber Sands (Sussex) was held up by a gunman.

  • There were three similar car-jackings in Warrington and Bolton.

  • Two men robbed a man at gunpoint in an alley in Kidlington (Oxfordshire).

  • Three men broke into a flat in Binley Woods (West Midlands) and pointed a gun at the occupants when stealing cash and a mobile phone.

  • Other Incidents - Three windows of a house in Newton Heath (Manchester) were smashed by gunshots and another house was hit during an early morning raid in Raunds (Northamptonshire).

  • A shot was fired through the window of a gym in Grangetown (Sunderland).

  • A man was arrested after an alleged firearms incident in Frilsham (Berkshire).

  • Armed police were called out to reports of a man with a firearm in Pollok (Glasgow).

  • Gun Finds - An air weapon was among a  haul seized by Merseyside Police in Croxteth and Norris Green.

  • A 20-year-old was remanded in custody on drugs and firearms offences after being arrested in possession of a firearm and ammunition without a certificate in Thamesmead (south east London)

  • A Torquay man is on trial facing charges relating to an arsenal of weapons which police found at his home.  The charges relate to possessing prohibited weapons, possessing weapons without a firearms certificate and possessing a shotgun without a licence.  Police seized 17 guns from a replica pistol collector in Battersea (south London).  

  • Convictions (see also Imitation Guns and Airgun Incidents) - A 17-year-old was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for two years after killing his sister in their Gorton (Manchester) home with a pistol illegally owned by his mother who has been given a three year jail sentence.

  • A man convicted of attempted murder after a shooting in Kennington (south London) has had his sentence increased to 17 years on appeal.

  • A man was jailed for five years after going to his ex-girlfriend's home in Canning Town (east London) with a loaded pistol.

  • Two people, one a 17-year-old, who kidnapped and pistol-whipped a man in Plumstead (south east London) were found guilty of kidnap and possession of a firearm.

  • A man who claimed he thought the machine gun he found in a rucksack in a Clydeside yard was a paintball gun was not believed and was jailed for five years.

  • A man who admitted possessing a prohibited weapon (a 9mm handgun with silencer) in Manchester has been jailed for six years.

  • Airguns - There were a number of serious incidents involving airguns in October.  The incidents in Scotland will certainly add further weight to the arguments for tight restrictions on airguns proposed by the Scottish Government.  The Convictions list reflects the serious nature of many of the offences involving air weapons.

  • A man had to undergo emergency surgery after being hit with an airgun pellet whilst walking in Erskine (Renfrewshire).  In another attack in Scotland a woman was seriously injured when she was hit in the leg as she returned home in Townhead (Glasgow).

  • A man who attacked a 13-year-old boy in a Greenock park threatened to shoot him with an air rifle if he told anyone.

  • A sniper has been taking potshots at homes and businesses in Greenock, Port Glasgow and Gourock.

  • A van was hit with an air rifle pellet in Dundee.

  • A 19-year-old from Portland (Dorset) fears she could lose her sight after being shot in the eye with an air rifle pellet which was left embedded in her head.

  • In Hampshire a woman was hit on the leg after two teenagers shot at her in Ringwood and an elderly man was hurt when he fell in fright when his window was hit with airgun pellets in Petersfield.

  • Three people were hit by air rifle snipers when they stepped outside from a party in Kilburn (north London).

  • An air rifle pellet is thought to have punched a hole through the roof of a car as a woman drove through an estate in Caerphilly (South Wales).

  • In a series of attacks in Suffolk (Orford, Felixstowe and Ipswich) cars and property were damaged and a man was hit: three people aged 18 to 21 have been bailed in connection with the incidents.

  • An air weapon was found by police after two men threatened another at the station in Newton Abbot (Devon).

  • Airguns - Convictions - Two teenagers were found guilty of the murder of a man in Cottingham (Humberside) who had been battered with a cricket bat and shot a number of times with an air rifle.

  • A man was given a seven year jail sentence after attempting to rob a petrol station in Cheltenham whilst carrying an airgun.

  • A soldier who used an airgun to take pot shots at passers-by from his bedroom window in Long Eaton (Derbyshire) (one woman was hit) was given a lenient 26 week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.

  • In Scotland an 18-year-old was jailed for nine months after pointing an air pistol at a student in a bar in St Andrews.  A man was jailed for at least years for firing an airgun at police in West Linton, and another man has been ordered to be tagged after admitting firing an air rifle from a building site in Galashiels.

  • A man who opened fire on his neighbour's window with an air rifle in Weston-super-Mare has been warned he could face a prison sentence.

  • A man received a five month suspended prison sentence after firing an air rifle at neighbours in a boundary dispute in Worcestershire.

  • A 15-year-old girl has been given a 12-month referral order for her part in an attack in Northwich (Cheshire) during which an air rifle was fired at a 15-year-old boy.

  • Two men with previous convictions were in trouble after being found with air weapons when prohibited.  An air rifle was found at the home of a Paignton man.  A man from Burnley was given a conditional discharge after being found with an air pistol.

  • Imitation Guns - Attacks in which people were hit with shots from imitation guns happened in West Derby (Merseyside) where a pensioner was hit leaving a party, Brixington (Devon) where BB pellets caused visible injuries to youngsters and Briton Ferry (South Wales) where a 12-year-old boy fired a BB gun at a schoolgirl.

  • A 13-year-old fired a BB gun at three primary school children in Heaton (Tyneside).

  • A ball-bearing gun was used in an attack involving teenagers in Glasgow's south side.  A man has appeared in court accused of brandishing an imitation gun in Greenock.

  • The window of a coach was shot out in Liverpool, probably with a ball-bearing gun.

  • The windows of a house in Hainault (Essex) were hit with steel pellets from BB guns, one of a number of incidents reported in the area.

  • Three incidents involving ball-bearing or toy guns were reported in Tonge Moor and Great Lever in Lancashire: in one a community support officer feared for her life.

  • A man was arrested in Stamford (Lincolnshire) after three imitation guns were found in a car, and an 18-year-old faces firearms charges after a ball-bearing gun was discovered in his car after it crashed in Bolton.

  • Imitation Guns - Convictions - Two men and a woman have been given long jail sentences (11 years and 9 years) for three robberies in South London in which they threatened victims with a replica silver pistol.

  • A man who pointed an imitation rifle at road diggers in Slough was ordered to do community service for 12 months.  Another man who fired a ball-bearing gun into the air in Exmouth during a row pleaded guilty to possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence: sentencing was adjourned.

  • A 16-year-old pleaded guilty to being in possession of an imitation firearm at Wrexham bus station.

  • Incidents Involving Animals - Cats were seriously injured (one fatally) in a number of incidents involving airguns across the country (two in Kent, Suffolk, Somerset, Middlesex, Essex, Wiltshire and Cardiff).

  • At Scarborough seaside donkeys were fired at with an air rifle as they grazed in a field.

  • Swans have been shot with air rifles in three different locations (Falkirk, Harlington (South Yorkshire) and Nuneaton).

  • Police were investigating to shooting of two protected hen harriers on the Queen's Estate in Sandringham.

NOVEMBER 2007 - SUMMARY

> Click here for pdf version (includes full list of incidents)

At the end of the month police mounted raids in London, Merseyside, Manchester and West Midlands which resulted in over one hundred arrests and the seizure of over 1300 guns as part of the Tackling Gangs Action Programme.  The majority of these guns were imitation firearms.  On 1 October measures in the Violent Crime Reduction Act were implemented which made it illegal to manufacture, import and sell realistic imitation guns.  In view of the seizures there can be no doubt that these measures were long overdue.  During November police and trading standards officers in a number of areas confiscated imitation guns in warehouses and shops, and Gun Control Network was pleased to see that positive action is being taken to ensure that the measures in the VCR Act are enforced.

The extent to which imitation guns, together with airguns, continue to contribute to a significant proportion of gun crime can be seen once again from the incidents reported in November.

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - Another London teenager was shot dead in November (the 17-year-old was killed in Stoke Newington, north London).  Two men died in Merseyside, one in his home in Liverpool (three people were arrested), the other in a gangland-style shooting in Speke.  Another man was shot dead in Chilham (Kent) (a man was arrested but released on bail).

  • The lethal nature of air weapons was in evidence again when a 17-year-old died after being shot with an air rifle in Maesglas (South Wales) in what was described as a tragic accident.  An 8-year-old boy from Cheswardine (Shropshire) was fighting for his life after being shot with an airgun in another 'tragic accident' (see below).

  • A 16-year-old was the victim in a shooting in Mitcham (south London) (he was shot in the leg) and a 14-year-old was shot in the face whilst riding a bike in Huyton (Merseyside).  In a further serious shooting in Merseyside a man was badly injured in Allerton.

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - There were robberies or attempted robberies on an off licence in Westhoughton (Lancashire), a cash and carry in Milton Keynes and shops in Dedham (Essex) and Barrowfield (Lancashire).  One man is believed to have been responsible for a series of robberies on bookmakers, a post office and a travel agents in Manchester, Salford and Stockport.  There were armed raids on petrol stations in Newton (Lancashire) and Weymouth (Dorset). 

  • A fast food delivery man was robbed of cash in Balham (south London) and a taxi driver was threatened at gunpoint in Pease Pottage (West Sussex).  A lorry was stolen in Caerwys (North Wales) and its driver driven to Lancashire.

  • A woman was robbed by armed raiders at home in Coalville (Leicestershire) and two women were robbed in the street, one in Beaumont Leys (Leicester) (the gunman was on a motorcycle) and the other outside a bank in Birtley (County Durham).

  • A motorist, who earlier in the year was robbed at gunpoint of his car and other items in Harrow (north west London), has complained that police treated him as a suspect: one of the gang responsible has since pleaded guilty to robbery.

  • Other Incidents - A man was arrested after a gun was fired through the letterbox of a property in the Rothwell area of Leeds.  A gunman opened fire three times in as many weeks in the same street in Dovecot (Merseyside).

  • A delivery van was damaged after the driver was forced to pull over on the M90 in Perthshire and a shot was fired from a rifle.

  • Six people were arrested after two men were seen with guns at a bar in Streatham (south London).

  • A man suspected of having a gun in Sunderland was incapacitated with a stun gun fired by police.

  • A man seen brandishing a firearm in Manningham was being sought by West Yorkshire Police.

  • Gun Finds and Thefts - Over 1300 firearms, the vast majority of them imitation guns, were seized by police in co-ordinated raids in Manchester, London, Liverpool and Birmingham as part of the Tackling Gangs Action Programme.

  • Two arrests have been made after a haul of guns was found in Croxteth (Merseyside) in September (the arrests have been linked to the murder of Rhys Jones in August).

  • A sawn-off shot gun was seized from a house in Gateshead (Tyneside) and two men arrested.  A man was arrested in Huddersfield after a sawn-off shotgun, a stun gun and cannabis were found.

  • Police found a gun on wasteground in Huyton (Merseyside)

  • Guns were stolen from a gun shop in Bolton after an employee was kidnapped.

  • An air rifle was stolen from a property in Winterbourne Gunner (Wiltshire).

  • Convictions (see also Imitation Guns and Airgun Incidents) - A life sentence has been given to a man for the murder of another man in Birmingham whom he pursued and shot after the victim witnessed a raid on a building society.  He was caught after another armed robbery in Great Barr (Birmingham).

  • A man was jailed for 16 years for the attempted murder of a man in Walthamstow (north east London): the victim was lucky to survive after being left with a bullet in his liver.

  • Two men were sentenced to 18 and 15 years for a robbery in Finchley Road (north London) during which shots were fired at a police officer.

  • A shooting victim who lied about the circumstances of the incident in Harrow (north west London) was jailed for two years.

  • Licensing - More questions were raised about firearms licensing during an inquest into the death of a man who shot himself with a legally-held rifle in Lewes (Sussex).

  • Airguns - An airgun shooting claimed another life when a 17-year-old who was killed in Maesglas (South Wales) in an apparent accident.  An 8-year-old boy from Shropshire was fighting for his life after being shot in the head with an airgun, also reported to be an accident.

  • Victims who were shot with airgun pellets in November included a number of children and youngsters

    • A 9-year-old girl was in hospital after being hit in the head with an airgun pellet in Shard End (Birmingham)

    • A 13-year-old girl was hit with an air rifle shot in Welwyn Garden City (Hertfordshire)

    • A schoolboy was hit in Nelson (Lancashire)

    • A woman shot in the neck in Bury (Greater Manchester) and needed surgery in hospital (three people have been arrested)

    • A 17-year-old door-to-door salesman was hit with an air rifle pellet on an estate in Blackpool

    • There were reports of three airgun incidents in Darlington including one in which a pregnant woman was hit.

    • A builder was hit in the back with a pellet in Corby (Northamptonshire)

    • A motorcyclist's helmet was shattered when he was fired at in Loddiswell (Devon)

  • A man threatening to harm himself in Horden (County Durham) was armed with an air rifle.

  • A man was arrested after pointing an air rifle at staff at a kebab shop in Whitstable (Kent)

  • Shots from an airgun were fired at houses in Rugby and in Glasgow (the home of Tommy Sheridan who has campaigned to tighten airgun laws in Scotland).

  • A car was damaged in Irchester (Northamptonshire) in an incident which is believed to have involved an airgun being fired from another vehicle.

  • Windows at a theatre in Aberdeen have been damaged by airgun pellets.

  • Convictions - A man who hoped to be shot by armed police whilst armed with a gas-fired air pistol in Harrogate has been given an 18-month community order

  • A man who showed off an airgun in a pub in Urmston (Greater Manchester) has been jailed for five months.

  • A 17-year-old from Tranent (East Lothian) has been given an Asbo after terrorising the town by brandishing an air rifle.

  • A man from Bathgate (West Lothian) who pointed an air weapon at two police officers has pleaded guilty to assaulting the officers by threatening to shoot them will be sentenced next month.  Another man who pointed an airgun at police officers was jailed for two years after an incident outside his home in Rassau (South Wales)

  • Imitation Guns - A woman was hurt during a probable attack with a BB gun as she walked in Chippenham (Wiltshire).

  • A nine-year-old was robbed by a youth armed with a BB gun in Dalton (Huddersfield). An imitation gun was used in an attempted robbery in Williton (Somerset) following which a woman was arrested.

  • A couple in Northampton have been subjected to threatening behaviour at their home which has included ball-bearing guns being fired at their windows.

  • Bus passengers in Hartlepool were showered with glass after someone fired a pellet gun.  Vandals with BB guns have damaged a shop in Harleston (Norfolk).  A car being driven in Peterborough was damaged by a shot from a BB gun.

  • In Peterlee (County Durham) a youth was spotted with an AK-57 assault rifle later found to be a ball-bearing gun.  An armed response was triggered by a boy who threatened his friend with an imitation gun in Walney (Cumbria).  A 14-year-old was arrested for allegedly carrying an imitation gun at his school in Crawley (Sussex).

  • A man brandishing a BB gun and a samurai sword in Exmouth (Devon) was stopped with a Taser gun.

  • Convictions - A man has admitted six charges after a series of raids across the country on banks and building societies when he was armed with a BB gun.  Three men have been jailed for their part in two armed robberies in South Wales during which an imitation firearm was brandished.

  • A 16-year-old pleaded guilty to having a plastic gun in public in Port Glasgow (sentence has been deferred).

  • A teenage soldier was fined after admitting possessing an imitation gun in Holywell (North Wales).

  • Incidents Involving Animals - Airgun attacks on animals continue to occur with sickening frequency.  Reports in November described attacks on swans in Merseyside and Denbighshire and cats in Angus, Cambridgeshire, Cumbria, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Worcestershire.

  • In Sussex the RSPCA warned youngsters that shooting animals with airguns was not only cruel but illegal.

DECEMBER 2007 - SUMMARY

> Click here for pdf version (includes full list of incidents)

From the reports recorded by GCN, 48 victims were killed in gun attacks in England and Wales and 5 died in Scotland during 2007.  Another five people were shot dead during operations by armed police officers.

  • Gun Deaths and Injuries - During late December three men died after being shot in incidents in Newtown (Birmingham), Hartcliffe (Bristol) and Southwark (south London).  Another man died when he was shot by police officers after he had threatened a member of the public with an Uzi-style weapon in Stansted (Kent).

  • Two police officers were shot and injured during December (see below).

  • In London a teenager was injured when he was shot in Shepherd's Bush and another teenager recovered after being seriously injured in a shooting in Wandsworth.  A 16-year-old was shot in both legs in Kirkdale (Merseyside).

  • A man received serious injuries in a gun attack in Smethwick (West Midlands) and a man was in hospital after being shot in Toxteth (Merseyside).  Three men were seriously  injured when they were shot in a pub in Congleton (Cheshire).  A man was shot in the buttocks in Grange Town (Teesside).

  • Police - During a month in which an inquest concluded that a police officer in Shrewsbury had been unlawfully killed by a man armed with a legally-owned gun, which he owned despite previous convictions, police officers were exposed to a number of situations involving firearms.

  • Officers shot dead a man who had threatened a member of the public with an Uzi-style military rifle in Stansted, Kent (see above).

  • Police officers were fired at in a number of incidents.  A female officer was hit in the leg after responding to reports of a robbery at a pub in Bamber Bridge (Lancashire) (two men have been arrested) and a male officer was shot during a surveillance operation in New Cross Road (south east London) (two men have been arrested).  A man was charged with attempted murder after a gun was fired at an officer in Ardwick (Greater Manchester).  A police officer had a gun pointed at him when a car was stopped in Didcot (Oxfordshire) and another officer was threatened when four people were arrested after a robbery in Westhoughton (see below).

  • Armed Hold-Ups and Assaults - Three men armed with a shotgun and a knife robbed a bank in Little Lever (Bolton).  A shot was fired during a ram raid on a bank in Cradley Heath (West Midlands).

  • There were robberies and attempted robberies in which guns were allegedly used at supermarkets in West Didsbury and Westhoughton (four people were arrested) (both in Greater Manchester), an off licence in Wigan, a convenience store in Bromsgrove (Worcestershire) and bookmakers in St Helens (Merseyside) and Bloxwich (West Midlands).  A service station was robbed by a man armed with a knife and a handgun in Hopwood (Worcestershire).  A woman police officer was injured after two men robbed a pub in Bamber Bridge (Lancashire) (see above).

  • A masked gang stole cash from a motorist in Whitefield (Lancashire).  A man was pistol whipped and robbed of his jacket and money by a man in Rushden (Northamptonshire).  A gang threatened a man walking home in Wisbech (Cambridgeshire) and a pizza delivery man was robbed at gunpoint in Hindley Green (Wigan).

  • Masked burglars broke into a house in Hesketh Bank (Lancashire) but fled empty handed.  A man was tied up and threatened at his home with a handgun by a gang in Woodhouse Park (Greater Manchester).  A teenage boy had two guns held to his head at his home in Thornton Heath (south London) by a gang who stole his puppy.

  • Other Incidents - Shots were fired at houses in Longsight (Manchester) and Maryhill (Glasgow), and a window was damaged by a shot fired at a house in Rushden (Northamptonshire).  Gunshots were also fired at a pizza shop in Dovecot (Merseyside).

  • A gang of up to 25 masked men carrying guns was seen patrolling streets in two areas of Greater Manchester (Moss Side and Whalley Range).

  • A man has appeared in court charged with possession of a firearm after incidents in Jedburgh (Scottish Borders).  Armed police took part in a major search in Annan (Dumfries & Galloway) for a man wanted for firearms offences.

  • Thefts and Gun Finds - A replica of a M16 assault rifle was stolen from a house in Madeley (Shropshire).  An air rifle was among items stolen during a spate of burglaries in Ripley (Derbyshire).

  • Police recovered a firearm and ammunition during raids in Carlisle.  Police made three arrests after a shotgun and a military-style rifle were found at a property in Huyton (Merseyside).  A shotgun and ammunition were recovered from a garden in Lydgate (Oldham) (four men were arrested).

  • Police seized a gun and heroin from a property in the Black Isle.  A semi-automatic machine gun, cannabis and other drugs were recovered during a police raid on a property in Ramsgate (Kent).  A Taser gun and cannabis were recovered by police from a property in Houghton Regis (Bedfordshire). An air rifle belonging to a former tenant was found at a property in Weston-super-Mare (Somerset) filled with drugs, faeces and rubbish.

  • A woman was arrested after police found a prohibited stun gun under a bed at her home in Epping (Essex).

  • Guns Used in Crime - A report revealed that the gun used in the attempted murder of a female police officer in Nottingham in 2006 was stolen from a British military base or smuggled from Afghanistan or Iraq.  Military police have launched Operation Plunder to prevent soldiers smuggling weapons and ammunition from Afghanistan and Iraq into Britain.

  • The legacy of convicted father and son William Greenwood and Mitchell Greenwood who were jailed in 2004 for supplying deactivated guns with instructions and kits for their conversion to live firearms was reported by The Observer.  Guns from the two men have been traced to at least 65 crime scenes.

  • Convictions (see also Imitation Guns and Airgun) - Two brothers face life sentences after being convicted of the attempted murder of a man who was shot in Lemington (Newcastle-upon-Tyne).

  • Three people were jailed for terms of between four and nine years for their part in a fake kidnap plot involving an attempt to extort 300,000.  The two men involved had firearms, a 9mm gun and a sawn-off shotgun.

  • A man from Southall (west London) was jailed for five years after pleading guilty to several charges of firearms and drugs possession.

  • A man was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence after a pump-action shotgun, prohibited in Britain, was found in a military cabinet at his home in St Judes, Plymouth.  He was also ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work in the community.

  • Airguns - A 16-year-old was shot in the head with a pellet gun in Cwmbran (two people have been arrested and two air weapons recovered).  Two elderly women were hit by airgun pellets in separate incidents in West Moors (Dorset).

  • A woman who died after losing control of her car near Basildon (Essex) may have been the victim of an airgun attack, according to her family.

  • A van driver was stopped by a gang of teenagers in near Tranent (East Lothian) who then damaged his windscreen with a shot from an airgun.

  • A man was arrested after cars and other property were shot at from a house in Kells (Cumbria).

  • Airguns (Convictions).  A teenager is facing a life sentence after admitting murder for battering his victim in the face with the butt of an airgun and then shooting him three times in the head (see August 2007 Incidents) in Winchburgh (West Lothian).

  • A 17-year-old who shot a 9-year-old in the head and a 16-year-old in the eyelid with an air pistol in Edinburgh was given 225 hours community service.

  • A man who pointed an airgun at police and threatened to shoot them in Bathgate (West Lothian) has been jailed for four years.

  • A man was given a six-month jail term for a firearm and public order offence after he held a .22 air pistol in one hand and a steam iron in the other and said he would kill two victims in a verbal confrontation in Hartlepool.

  • A fourteen-year-old schoolboy who shot another teenager in the leg with an airgun in a street in Harlow (Essex) was placed under supervision of a probation officer for 18 moths, a condition being that he attends offending behaviour work sessions.

  • Two men have admitted shooting a man with an air rifle in Aberdeen.

  • One of two men who terrified passers-by when violence flared between them at a Gloucester pub and were fined 1000 each and given 200 hours' unpaid community work had gone to his home and fetched an air rifle during the dispute.

  • Imitation Guns - A man was arrested after police officers were confronted by a man with an imitation firearm making threats to kill in Leasowe (Wirral).

  • Two teenage cousins faced charges of affray after an incident in Ribbleton (Lancashire) in which an imitation gun was allegedly involved.

  • Paintball guns were used in attacks on a hotel in Tenbury Wells (Worcestershire) and on a police station and a car in Chippenham (Wiltshire).

  • Police seized 31 BB guns at a shop in Oldham in a crackdown on BB and replica guns.  Thirty two BB guns were seized by police and trading standards officials from a car boot sale in Rufforth (York).

  • Imitation Guns (Convictions) - A 17-year-old girl and two men have been jailed after a fellow employee of the girl's was robbed at gunpoint in Belvedere, south London.  Police found an imitation gun at a flat associated with the two men.

  • A man has been detained for possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence after an attack on a school minibus in Bradford.  He is to be transferred to a hospital to be assessed by a psychiatrist.

  • A man admitted a number of offences after firing two shots from a replica pistol from his car in Dumbarton.

  • A pensioner was sentenced to a suspended six months prison sentence after he fired an imitation firearm at youngsters near his garden in Stratford-upon-Avon (Warwickshire).

  • Incidents Involving Animals - Gun attacks on animals reported in December included the killing of two pigeons at an allotment in Gorleston (Norfolk), the shooting dead of a dog in Salford, the death of two swans shot with an airgun in Inchinnan (Renfrewshire) and injuries to a number of cats in attacks with air rifles and, in one instance, a BB gun.

 

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GUN INCIDENTS 2014

February Incidents

February Sentences

January Incidents

January Sentences

January Review

 

GUN INCIDENTS 2013

December Incidents

December Sentences

Nov/December Review

November Incidents

November Sentences

October Incidents

October Sentences

October Review

September Incidents

September Sentences

September Review

August Incidents

August Sentences

August Review

July Incidents

July Sentences

June Incidents

June Sentences

June Review

May Incidents

May Sentences

April/May Review

April Incidents

April Sentences

March Incidents

March Sentences

March Review

February Incidents

February Sentences

February Review

January Incidents

January Sentences

January Review

 

GUN INCIDENTS 2012

December Incidents

December Sentences

November Incidents

November Sentences

October/November Review

October Incidents

October Sentences

September Incidents

September Sentences

September Review

August Incidents

August Sentences

August Review

July Incidents

July Sentences

June Incidents

June Sentences

June Review

May Incidents

May Sentences

April/May Review

April Incidents

April Sentences

March Incidents

March Sentences

March Review

February Incidents

February Sentences

February Review

January Incidents

January Sentences

January Review

 

GUN INCIDENTS 2011

December Incidents

November Incidents

November Sentences

November Review

October Incidents

October Sentences

October Review

September Incidents

September Sentences

September Review

August Incidents

July Incidents

July Sentences

July Review

June Incidents

June Review

May Incidents

May Review

March Incidents

March Review

February Incidents

February Review

January Incidents

January Review

 

GUN INCIDENTS 2010

December Incidents

December Review

November Incidents

November Review

October Incidents

October Review

September Incidents

September Review

August Incidents

August Review

July Incidents

July Review

June Incidents

June Review

May Incidents

May Review

April Incidents

April Review

March Incidents

March Review

February Incidents

February Summary

January Incidents

January Summary

 

PREVIOUS INCIDENTS

2009 Incidents

2009 Summaries

2008 Incidents

2008 Summaries

2007 Incidents

2007 Summaries

2006 Incidents

2006 Summaries

2005 Incidents

2005 Summaries

2004 Incidents

2004 Summaries

(Sept - Dec)

2003 Incidents

2002 Incidents

2001 Incidents

 

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