Dog walker targeted by gunman in Wigan woods

Elnup Woods in  Shevington

Elnup Woods in Shevington

A dog walker has issued a warning after witnessing the aftermath of a disturbing attack at a popular Wigan beauty spot.

The professional dog walker - who has asked to remain anonymous - told the Evening Post a fellow visitor to Elnup Wood in Shevington was targeted with an air-rifle or BB gun pellet.

I regularly walk my dogs in that area and have heard about youngsters running around using air-rifles

The man, who was also walking his pet, was struck on the upper body during an early morning walk.

“I asked if he was okay and he said he had a number of layers on so it wasn’t too serious,” our informant said.

“However, I do want to raise awareness to other dog walkers who use this area, as it is very popular, to keep a lookout.

“It’s a beautiful, scenic place and for something like this to happen is really bizarre.”

Elnup Woods, which is close to a former pit area, has been known locally as a location for individuals using air weapons to shoot rodents or birds.

The dog walker said it was unclear whether the shot was a stray pellet not intended to go near her counterpart or whether, more worryingly, it was a deliberate warning shot.

She said: “I have been walking before in other places when people have fired shots across fields to warn us dog walkers off but never known of someone to be hit with a pellet.

“This person could have been aiming for the dog which is concerning. The man was lucky in the sense it him where he had layers, for the dog it could have been a lot worse.”

Another resident, who also asked not to be identified, told the Evening Post: “I regularly walk my dogs in that area and have heard about youngsters running around using air-rifles.

“The pellets can cause real injuries if they hit someone in the wrong place, it’s extremely dangerous.”

Current law allows anyone over 18 to purchase an air rifle although their are calls to tighten up legislation.

In Scotland, new regulations have come into force this year making it illegal to keep a weapon without a permit.