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Last Updated: Monday April 14 2008 12:29 GMT

Kids warned over airgun dangers

Chief inspector Kenny Graham from Strathclyde Police

Kids who play with airguns may be putting themselves at risk, a senior policeman has warned.

It is illegal for anyone under 18 to buy a realistic-looking ball bearing or BB gun, but police are worried that kids are still playing with them.

Chief Inspector Kenny Graham, from Strathclyde Police in Scotland, said the guns could cause serious injuries.

And he warned that anyone playing with a realistic-looking gun could also be targeted by armed police officers.

A ball bearing gun
A ball bearing gun
That's because it can be very hard for people to tell if a gun is real or not as most BB guns are almost identical to real guns.

And if someone reports seeing someone with a gun in public, the police have to take it very seriously. Recently, Strathclyde Police sent out a police helicopter and armed officers when they heard about a group of young people who were seen with guns.

It turned out the kids were carrying realistic-looking BB guns.

Serious trouble

Chief Insp Graham said: "My fear is that one day one of these people carrying a BB gun will turn and point it at a firearms officer.

"My real fear is that they would get themselves into very serious trouble or in the worst case scenario, get themselves shot."