Warning issued following increase in gel gun incidents
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We are issuing a warning following recent incidents involving toy gel guns in Stoke-on-Trent.
A number of forces across the UK have been experiencing an increase in these incidents recently – with local reports involving people using the guns to cause intentional fear and alarm within the community.
Since 25 June, more than 30 reports have come in from across the county. We are starting to see more people using the guns to shoot gel and water pellets at people from inside moving vehicles.
On 5 July, a group of men in a moving black Vauxhall Insignia were seen shooting the gel pellets at a person who was in their garden in Lightwood.
These gel guns, which are typically sold as toys, are capable of causing serious injury if they hit someone in their face.
Although no serious injuries have been reported in Staffordshire, officers across all ten of our local policing teams are taking action to find those responsible and put a stop to their offending.
Inspector Mark Burslem, from the Stoke South local policing team, said: “We won’t tolerate people deliberately causing panic and alarm within our communities.
“Those who are using these toy guns in an anti-social manner are likely to face arrest and will be robustly targeted by officers.
“Aside from the risk they pose to the public, we are also concerned that people may mistake them for actual firearms and report them to us inaccurately.
“This will likely result in officers and a firearms team being sent to a job which they don’t need to be at, potentially putting those in real emergency situations at risk.
“Work is continuing to investigate all of the reports we’ve received, identify those responsible and put a stop to this issue - and I’d encourage the local community to continue reporting these incidents to us so we can take appropriate action.”