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Rogue sniper fires airgun at schoolboys

A SCHOOLBOY from Accrington was wounded when he was shot with an airgun in an Accrington park.

LEON Harwood
LEON Harwood

A SCHOOLBOY from Accrington was wounded when he was shot with an airgun in an Accrington park.

Leon Harwood, 16, suffered bruising and swelling when he was shot in the pelvis as he walked along a bike track close to Oak Hill Park on Saturday.

The shooting was one of four similar incidents to occur in the town on the same day. In the second incident, an 11-year-old boy was shot at near the art gallery entrance to Haworth Park, although he didn't sustain any injuries. The boy also reported that the weapon had been fired at a passing bus. Later that day another 16-year-old boy claimed he had been targeted in Haworth Park, but the pellet had missed him. Armed officers then attended the Rothwell Avenue area of town at 10.25pm after reports of air weapon shots being fired, but they could not trace any offenders.

Leon, of Wellington Street, Accrington, said he was with a friend when the shooting happened and he immediately ran to the nearest phone box in Royds Street to get help. He was taken to Blackburn Royal Infirmary for treatment before being allowed home, and was kept off school for two days by his mum, Diane.

Leon, a pupil at Rhyddings High School, Oswaldtwistle, said: "The pellet hit me on my left hip and it was very painful. I had already seen a gun so I knew I had been shot."

His mum said: "He heard a loud bang and looked down to see that he was bleeding. When he came home from hospital, he was shocked - I don't think he could believe it. It could have been a lot more serious and I would like to see the people who did this caught."

The offender in the first two incidents was described as a 15-to-16-year-old with short, dark, straight hair. He was wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt with a white Cabrini logo and three circles stitched underneath, and dark bottoms. He was seen with two other teenage boys in the second incident. The first was 5ft 10ins tall, of medium build, wearing a dark red long-sleeved top; the second was 5ft 11ins tall, with short, dark hair, wearing a dark blue T-shirt.

Sergeant Claire Holbrook, co-ordinator for Accrington Police, said: "We need to trace the people responsible for these incidents as a matter of some urgency. These youths seem to be unaware of the potentially very dangerous outcome that could have resulted from their irresponsible behaviour.

"The parents of the main offender will recognise the description and we are hopeful that the other males associating with him will have the sense to come forward."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Accrington Police on 353749.


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