POLICE are investigating after a teenager was shot in the eye with an air rifle.
Ross Collin is in recovering in hospital after having surgery to try to save his eye.
A youth has been helping police with their inquiries into the incident, which happened in the dene at the bottom of Easington Colliery.
Inspector Darren Walton, of Seaham Neighbourhood Policing Team, confirmed that police were investigating the circumstances leading up to the incident and whether an offence had been committed.
It is understood that Ross, an 18-year-old East Durham College student from Easington, had emerged from behind a shed when he was shot unexpectedly and hit in the eye.
He was rushed to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, following the incident, which happened around 4.10pm on Saturday.
Ross’ concerned father David Collin has taken to Facebook to thank well-wishers for their prayers and messages of support, and also to keep them informed on Ross’ progress.
On the night of the incident, he wrote: “For those who are asking, Ross is comfortable in James Cook Uni Hospital. He is due to go for an operation in the morning to try and save his eye.”
On Sunday, Mr Collin wrote: “I would like to say thankyou to all and everyone for the prayers, kind wishes and words of support.
“Ross has come through his operation successfully but still a few dangerous hurdles to overcome before he is in the clear. “He is comfortable in hospital and resting well as he recovers. He should be out of hospital by the end of the week. Once again many thanks.”
Inspector Walton said: “An accident has occured involving two youths using an air rifle in the dene area which has resulted in one male being shot in the eye.
“An investigation is being conducted but at this stage we can’t ascertain if it has been an accident or a criminal act.
“A male from the area is assiting police with inquiries.”
A North East Ambulance Service spokeswoman said: “We were called to an incident in the Easington dene area at 4.04pm on Saturday. One patient was taken to James Cook Hospital.”