Victims mugged with stun guns

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The Independent Online

Criminals are buying stun guns over the internet for as little as £10 and using them to paralyse victims during street robberies. Police warned last night that the illegal weapons can cause loss of memory and muscle control.

Detectives in Manchester are already hunting thieves who they believe used the banned guns to attack a 50-year-old man. Barry Dickinson was left with a broken nose, two black eyes and a broken cheek bone after the incident last Tuesday. When nurses examined him, they found a semi-circle of pin-pricks on the side of his body resembling a scar left by a stun gun.

The small hand-held devices send electric shocks of between 65,000 and 500,000 volts into the victims. Mr Dickinson was attacked as he walked along a street in Oldham, Manchester, by a group of men in a Nissan Sunny car with the registration beginning D712.

He was dragged into the car and then robbed of his watch before being dumped further up the road.

A 35-year-old man was attacked the same evening and slashed across the face by two men. He is still being treated in Wythenshawe Hospital for serious facial injuries. Greater Manchester Police last night said the attacks were being linked. They said it would be an offence to own a stun gun or buy one from the internet.

"On both occasions, the victims say they cannot remember anything about the assaults," said a spokesman. "Both men say they were approached by a gang but the next thing they remember is coming round and being covered in blood... We believe some kind of device must have been used to stun them."

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