A MOTHER has spoken of her horror after an air rifle sniper shot her 10-year-old daughter in the hand.
The youngster had to have the embedded pellet removed by surgery when she was wounded while playing in an Atherton park.
Her mum today called for air weapons to be banned, saying her daughter was lucky not to have been more seriously injured.
Police have appealed for information about the attack which happened at about 1.30pm on Sunday at the park in Devonshire Road.
The girl was playing alone when she heard a bang. As she turned round to see where it had come from she felt a sudden pain in the palm of her right hand.
In a panic she ran home. Her mother said: “At first I thought she must have fallen but then we saw the pellet. My daughter was very upset and says she never wants to go to a park again. She went to hospital to have the pellet removed and stitches put in.
“We have been told that it was probably an air rifle. She said she could not see anyone nearby so maybe someone was just being silly and firing randomly from a long distance. But these things could be lethal. They really ought to be banned - especially to young people.”
PC Lawrence McDonald said: “We do not know why the gun was fired, by whom or from where, but I cannot believe anyone would deliberately target a 10-year-old girl playing in a park.
“Thankfully, the injuries were not more serious because we have all seen how devastating gunshot injuries can be. We are giving the girl and her family a lot of support and we are doing all we can to find out the circumstances behind what happened.
“It might have been that whomever fired the weapon was simply messing around but this young girl was hit and needed an operation.
“The park is overlooked by a number of homes and I am asking anyone who either witnessed what happened, or perhaps heard the gun being fired, or has any information that might help, to call us.”
Ring police on 0161 856 7229 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.