Police warning after airgun shots are fired from Hastings window

Police are warning air weapon owners to remember the laws surrounding their use after shots were fired from a Hastings window.

Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 9:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th October 2021, 9:39 am

Officers have responded to incidents in which people with air weapons have caused concern for members of the public, prompting a higher number of 999 calls, said police.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Incidents can lead to specialist officers being asked to attend, preventing them attending a genuine emergency where The British Association of Shooting and Conservation says there are more than six million air rifles in England and Wales.

Any air weapon that has a muzzle velocity greater than 12 foot-pounds may only be held on a firearm certificate issued by the police.

The police spokesman said: “Parents and guardians are reminded that it is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to purchase or hire an air weapon or ammunition for an air weapon, and there are specific laws which require supervision regarding persons under 18 carrying or using air weapons.

“It is an offence for any person to use an air weapon for firing a pellet beyond the boundaries of any premises and it is also an offence to have an air weapon in a public place without a reasonable excuse.

“You also commit an offence if you trespass with an air weapon, have an air weapon with intent to damage or destroy property, or have an air weapon with intent to endanger life.

“When using an air weapon, always know where the muzzle of the weapon is pointing and never point it in an unsafe direction. You must also make sure you have a safe backdrop.”

The spokesman added: “There have been occasions recently where inappropriate carriage and use of air weapons has been witnessed by members of the public.This can, understandably, cause fear and alarm.

“For example, residents in Hastings recently reported hearing shots fired by an air rifle from a window. A man was arrested and interviewed and accepted a police caution for the matter.”

So owners are also advised to keep air weapons with bright colours, so they are not confused for firearms by members of the public.

Reducing the number of calls about air weapons being used inappropriately will help officers to respond to the most urgent situations and help keep our communities safe.