Four held after children shot at party

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The Independent Online

Police investigating a series of air rifle shootings in which three young children were injured arrested four teenagers today.

Two boys, aged two and three, and a five-year-old girl suffered bruising but did not require medical treatment after being shot as they celebrated a friend's birthday in the garden of a house in Melton, Leicestershire Police said.

An 18-year-old man, two 17-year-old boys and a 16-year-old boy were arrested in connection with the incident and have been released on bail pending further inquiries.

The young victims were among over a dozen children attending the birthday party when an air weapon was fired into the garden which backs onto a disused railway line.

Inspector Nigel Peters, the policing commander at Melton Mowbray, said: "Thankfully, the children were not seriously injured but understandably have been left shaken by what happened.

"During the next couple of days staff from Melton Police Station will be visiting local addresses to establish precisely what happened.

"The consequences of this incident could have been far worse and we are appealing for anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information whatsoever to please get in touch with police urgently.

"As well as detectives working on the investigation, officers from Melton Police Station, including officers from the local neighbourhood team, will be undertaking additional reassurance patrols."

Samantha Given, 33, who was hosting the party in Stirling Road, said the children were being used as "moving targets".

Mrs Given, whose three-year-old son Cian was shot in the leg, told the Leicester Mercury: "There were 13 children in the garden, aged one to 13. Someone was taking pot-shots at them as they played on the trampoline, using them for moving target practice."