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Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK
Boy, six, sparks new guns fear
BB guns graphic
An alleged shooting by a six-year-old boy with a "toy" gun on Tuesday has added to police fears over a craze for dummy weapons.

The boy is said to have shot another child in the back of the neck at Bude, Cornwall, causing minor injury.

The incident coincided with a call by Devon and Cornwall Police for tighter rules on so-called "BB guns", which fire ball bearings or plastic pellets.

The Devon and Cornwall force has made a series of arrests and even called out police marksmen in recent cases.

In one episode, two boys aged 11 and 14 are said to be traumatised after having a BB gun held to their heads.

Our response is to send a firearms team. You might suddenly get confronted by armed officers.

Sergeant Alan Mobbs, Devon and Cornwall Police
It happened in May when they went into a derelict house at Newquay, Cornwall, with two other boys.

One was then shot in the arm, causing bruising.

A file has been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service.

Senior officers want the law changed to cover the guns after a rash of incidents.

Two men were taken into custody on Tuesday after reports that someone had been threatened with a gun in Torquay Road, Paignton.

Armed arrest

It proved to be a ball bearing gun.

And on Sunday armed police arrested a man on a bus in Newquay after the toy he was carrying was mistaken for a 9mm handgun.

A 28-year-old man was later released on police bail.

Police marksmen
Armed police are tackling toy gun incidents
The guns are on sale in toy shops for as little as 2.99.

Sergeant Alan Mobbs, a spokesman for the Devon and Cornwall force, said: "They look like the real thing.

"They are not classed as firearms and not even as air weapons.

"They are spring-loaded and there is no legislation to stop people having them.

"It is very difficult to tell whether they are real guns or not. Change in legislation

"If we get a call that someone has a gun, our response is to send a firearms team.

"If you have one, you might suddenly get confronted by armed officers."

Police in Dorset have dispatched armed response units to more than 40 incidents involving BB guns or air weapons in the past year.

On Friday, the Devon and Cornwall Force is planning a formal call for a change of legislation.

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See also:

07 Jul 00 | Scotland
Replica gun control call
10 Nov 00 | Wales
Tribunal clears fake gun doctor
04 Jan 99 | Africa
South Africa toy guns warning
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