Police on alert after shots fired in Doncaster park: police column

We had reports of shots being fired by youths with air guns in one of our parks recently, writes Insp Adrian Luscombe

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 14:34 pm
Updated Friday, 12th July 2019, 09:39 am

It was an incident that happened in Bentley Park. We think it was youths firing their air guns at targets, but not at people, and no one was hurt.

But this is not the first time recently that we have had cause to be concerned about air weapons in that area of the Doncaster West neighbourhood policing district.

File picture of a man taking aim with an air rifle. Picture by Julian Brown 18/05/17 LEP-170518-135108035

The have had a few incidents recently where people have been reported carrying air rifles and air pistol, around Bentley, Adwick and Woodlands.

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Some people view air guns as different to other firearms, but it is still a criminal offence to have them out in public without a lawful reason.

You can use air guns on private property, but you still have to make sure that the pellets they shoot are not fired anywhere else. And even if you are on private property you have to have the permission of the landowner.

But put simply, you cannot carry them around in public. If you are walking around with an air weapon, especially if it loaded, you are likely to be committing a criminal offence.

We have seen a spate of reports, with a few over recent weeks. There was a report of three youths carrying air rifles in Woodlands, as well as the report in Bentley Park, where they were being fired. There is no reason to believe they were targeting people, but the fear is that someone could get hurt.

We are actively patrolling to find out who is responsible. The weapons will be seized if we see someone out with them, and I want people to be clear that carrying these weapons in public is illegal.

In the same area, we have recently had cases of knives being brought into primary schools by children.

We have had incidents in Bentley and Adwick. There were no acts of violence in either case, and safeguards have been taken, with police and council officers going into the schools to talk to the pupils about the dangers of knives.

It was two incidents within a month, and we are talking about children aged 11 or under.

There’s no evidence that there was any malice involved, but I am keen to urge parents to be vigilant about what their children have in their school bags. I don’t want people thinking there is a knife crime issue in our schools, because that is not the case.

But there was a reminder of how dangerous knives are recently when a man was injured in a stabbing incident in Edlington. That has been widely reported already, and we believe it was a targeted attack involving members of a local crime group. There is no information to suggest there is a danger to the wider public at this time.

Following that incident, a section 60 order under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act was put in place, which allowed officers to carry out stop and search checks for a fixed period, running from 4pm until midnight on June 27.

During that time seven stop and searches were carried out, one of which led to a cannabis cultivation setup being discovered in a property on Staveley street along with two crossbows, which have been seized and destroyed. Investigations into these offences are ongoing.

In Mexborough and Conisbrough, we have continued with Operation Drum Alpha, which aims to stop gangs in the area. Last week we had a day of public engagement in Conisbrough. But we also carried out a warrant at a property on Hill Top Road, in Denaby. It resulted in a man being arrested on suspicion of cannabis cultivation and possession with intent to supply. He has been released under investigation.

A day of action also saw a car stopped in Conisbrough on June 29, and the driver tested for any traces of drugs. The driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. A knife was also found.

And a vehicle was stopped on Bolton Street, Denaby, resulting in a man being arrested for possession of a white powder suspected to be cocaine. He was also arrested and has now been released under investigation.

Elsewhere, we had the first of our new community PACT meetings in Adwick, and off road bikes emerged as one of the most important issues with the public who attended.

That remains a priority for us, and we have seized a number of off road motorbikes recently.

Between June 8 and June 22, we confiscated motorbikes being ridden in an antisocial manner at Conan Road, Conisbrough; Clayfield Road, Mexborough; Staveley Street, Edlington; and Arksey Lane, Bentley.