Three teenagers have been arrested after an 11-year-old boy was shot in the head with a pellet gun while playing a football match in County Durham.
Connor Minto required hospital treatment after being hit while waiting on the sidelines of an under 12s game between Chester-le-Street Town and Coxhoe, in which he was a substitute, at about noon on Saturday.
The pellet lodged in Connor’s forehead, just above his left eye.
He was taken to Newcastle’s RVI Hospital, where the pellet was removed and he received stitches.
The incident took place at the Hermitage Academy.
Detective Constable Andy Froggatt explains: “Connor was standing next to the nets with some other boys watching a nearby rugby game when he felt what he thought was a stone hit his head. He ran to his dad because he could feel blood and his dad could see that a .22 pellet was lodged in Connor’s forehead just above his left eye.
“This was a very serious incident. The photos clearly show how nasty the injury was, but it could have been much worse if the pellet had hit the Connor’s eye.
“His dad took him to the RVI hospital where the pellet was removed and he received stitches. Thankfully Connor is recovering well now, but he was extremely upset by what happened.
“We are appealing to anyone who was at the football or rugby games that were being played on Saturday and witnessed the incident to contact police.
“We’d also like to remind people about the dangers of using air weapons in public places. If anyone needs any advice on this subject, particularly in relation to the laws around children using air weapons, please contact police.”
Anyone with information that might help police is asked to contact DC Andy Froggatt on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Three 14-year-old boys from the Chester-le-Street area have been arrested in connection with the incident and bailed pending further enquiries.