INCIDENTS involving air weapons and ballistic-ball (BB) guns are on the increase, and firearms officers have warned owners they are putting themselves – and the public – in danger. In one incident, a man in St Neots was seen walking along with a silver gu

INCIDENTS involving air weapons and ballistic-ball (BB) guns are on the increase, and firearms officers have warned owners they are putting themselves - and the public - in danger.

In one incident, a man in St Neots was seen walking along with a silver gun down his trousers.

Police said he then pulled the gun out, alarming passers-by, before heading off into a nearby flat.

He was later arrested for possession of a BB gun in a public place.

In another recent incident, a workman suffered minor injuries after he was shot with a BB gun while working at Bushmead School in Eaton Socon. The culprits have not yet been traced.

Since the beginning of July, there have been six incidents of misuse of BB guns, and five incidents of misuse of air weapons, according to the police.

Inspector Ian Ford said: "On a number of occasions officers have been called to incidents where people have been discharging the guns outside the boundaries of their garden.

"Children have also been firing BB guns or carrying them in public areas.

"It is legal to buy BB guns. However, it is when people start using them inappropriately or carrying them in a public place that problems occur and police get called."

He added: "We have had incidents where neighbours have fallen out and they use them on each other as part of their dispute.

"The problem is there is no way of telling, at a glance, the difference between an imitation weapon, a BB gun and a gun firing genuine bullets.

"If someone starts waving around an imitation gun or BB gun, they may be charged with making threats to kill or possession of an imitation firearm with the intention of causing fear of unlawful violence. If you carry an imitation firearm or an air weapon in a public place, whether loaded or not, and you have no reason to do so, you will be breaking the law.

"Every time a firearm is seen there will be a response from armed officers. Therefore you not only frighten members of the public by carrying your weapon but you will also face an armed officer."

INFORMATION : To report incidents involving BB guns contact police on 0845 4564564