Two hit by BB gun sniper in attacks near Wigan town centre

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One man was hit on the temple and another in the face as an air weapon sniper picked off passers-by in Wigan town centre.

And one of the victims - who said someone could easily have been blinded - today blasted police for letting the two BB gun yobs off with a caution.

Other news: Trial date set for Wigan dad charged with murder of baby Hollie Ashurst

Several members of the public were targeted by an unidentified pair of men who used a gas-powered pistol to fire metal ball bearings last Friday evening. The incidents, which occurred between Standishgate and Wigan Lane, came to light after several victims shared their experiences on social media.

Doreen Pukitis wrote: “Two people were firing pellets from behind bushes in between The Royal Oak and St John’s church, my partner was hit in the temple, even though he gave chase they came back and carried on firing.”

Another victim, Swinley resident Darren Bamford, was walking on Wigan Lane at around 10pm on Saturday evening when he was shot in the face by the duo.

He said: “I was walking into Wigan to go for a couple of drinks, and I got shot in the shoulder first. I turned around, because I didn’t know what it was. I turned facing them, then I was easy pickings for them. I was shot straight in the lip. It was shocking! I went over to see what was happening. I could see them through the bushes, but they ran off.

“No wonder it hurt, they weren’t little, these were big ball bearings.

“I was lucky really. With the size of those things, if it was only a couple of inches higher, then you’re blinded in one eye because of a couple of idiots. It’s not something you expect to happen.”

It wasn’t long after Darren’s attack that he spotted police cars and a helicopter circling the area. Officers had scrambled to the scene after other residents also reported being targeted.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “Shortly after 12.05am on Saturday February 23, police were called to Standishgate to reports that a man was firing a BB gun at random people.

“Two men, aged 19 and 22, were arrested and both have since received a caution for section 47 assault. Nobody was seriously injured during the incident.”

But their punishment came as a shock to Darren, who described the perpetrators’ cautions as “laughable.”

He added: “They could have blinded someone, and changed someone’s life.”