Girl shot in the face after ‘cheeky’ yobs cause disturbance

Girl shot in the face after ‘cheeky’ yobs cause disturbance

8 May 2019

POLICE have warned about the “grave consequences” of BB guns following reports of youths firing them during Castlewellan’s May Fair on Monday.

A police spokesman confirmed last night that a girl was shot just beneath her eye, but did not require hospital treatment.

A youth was also detained and taken home to his parents amid reports of teenagers stealing BB guns from stall holders. 

There were also reports of anti-social behaviour in the Upper Square and Main Street area on Monday afternoon.

“Just after 3pm it was reported that a girl had been shot, just beneath her eye, with a BB gun near Main Street,” the police spokesman said. “While, thankfully, she did not require hospital treatment, but this incident could have had grave consequences.

“A short time after, we heard that a group of teenagers were causing a disturbance and stealing from stalls at the local fair.”

He said that it was reported that the group of 15-20 youths were firing small round plastic pellets around the market area.

The spokesman warned the public of the legalities and safety procedures of using BB guns and appealed to parents to know where their children were and what they were doing.

He added: “Common sense should govern the use of BB guns but sadly their misuse is all too familiar to police. Whilst in some circumstances these guns may be legal to sell, purchase and possess, and a firearm licence is not always required, they are not a toy. 

“If any BB gun or even toy gun are misused in public they can be treated as an imitation firearm, which leaves the person in possession at risk of being prosecuted for a number of serious firearms offences.  

“In the wrong hands BB guns can cause serious injury or damage. In such cases, the legal consequences are serious.”

Recently re-elected Sinn Finn councillor Rosin Howell described what happened as “high jinks which went too far”.

She and several other party workers from the town cleaned obscene graffiti and party string off the Ulster Bank around 6pm. 

She said: “The May Fair is an iconic event in Castlewellan. We are a market town. Unfortunately this type of thing might put traders and visitors from coming back again. I would like to reassure everyone that Castlewellan is a quiet town and this was the exception, not the norm.”

Mrs Howell said there were questions to be asked about how the youths were sold the pellet guns. 

“I will link in the council as these guns are illegal to sell so how people got in to be able to sell them will have to be looked at,’ she added.

Claims of the group of teens drinking and firing the guns which also hit an elderly woman and another child, were made on the Facebook page The Local (Newcastle).

One woman wrote that she was disgusted by youths racially abusing Pakistani traders running a stall near the Ulster Bank.

“These wee boys couldn’t have been any more than 10-12 years old at most and the abuse coming out of their mouths was disgusting (not all of them but a lot of them) they were racially and verbally insulting,” she said.

“Cheeky and intimidating, taunting the market traders by trying to steal things off their stall and shooting pellet guns at each other across the footpath hitting not only the traders but also passing families.”

Police have appealed to people with information to contact them using the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference 712 of 06/05/19.