Horror on quiet estate as boy, 11, shot in head with air rifle - and residents say they've 'heard gunfire before'

-Credit: (Image: Manchester Evening News)
-Credit: (Image: Manchester Evening News)

Residents have spoken of their shock after a fine late spring evening on a quiet estate almost turned to tragedy.

In the blink of an eye, emergency services descended upon Roadtrain Avenue in Leyland. A boy was taken to Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool for emergency surgery.

He'd fractured his skull after being shot in the head with an air rifle.

At around 7.20pm on Monday (May 20), the 11-year-old was playing football with friends in the back garden of a family home. After the ball went over a fence, the youngster climbed it to look over.

It was then, locals told LancsLive, that he was blasted with a metal pellet fired from what is thought to be an air rifle. It is understood he was playing at a friend's house when the incident occurred.

This afternoon (May 23), some said they'd heard gunshots before - but just assumed they had come from nearby farmland.


This afternoon (May 23), Lancashire Police said have identified another juvenile in their enquiries and will be speaking to them in due course. But, the incident has left the community concerned.

One family on Roadtrain Avenue shared their worries about having young children who like to play out in the area. In another nearby home, one resident told LancsLive: "It does seem to me that there are some households around here that let their children do what they want." The resident said they've had trouble in the past, with youngsters knocking on doors and running away, causing disruption and worry amongst those who live in the area."

The incident took place at a property on Roadtrain Avenue, Leyland
The incident took place at a property on Roadtrain Avenue, Leyland -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Following the incident, police said it was "fortunate he was not more seriously hurt or even killed".

As the search for the culprit began, Det Con Paul Brown, of South CID, said: “This incident has left a young boy with some really significant injuries, and it is fortunate he was not more seriously hurt or even killed.

“We are carrying out a number of enquiries to try and identify the person or persons responsible and I would appeal to anyone who saw what happened, has any dashcam or Ring doorbell footage, or who has any information which could assist our investigation to get in touch."

A resident told LancsLive they saw a police presence outside the property once they'd returned from work on Monday evening and officers were also there the next day. They said: "My opinion is, whoever's given them the means to what they've done is in the wrong."

Another said they had heard shots - similar to those from an air rifle - in the past. And she had assumed they had come from farmers scaring wildlife nearby.

Following the incident, police say they believe they have identified the culprit. The force intends to speak with them soon

Det Insp Paul Mulrooney, of South CID, added: "I’m grateful to those who have come forward with information so far. We have now identified someone, and we will be speaking to that individual in due course. We are confident there is no wider risk to anyone in the community.

"Thankfully the victim’s injuries are not serious, and he is making a good recovery."