A POLICE investigation has been launched after Santa’s sleigh was targeted by a mystery sniper armed with an air gun.
The incident happened at around 8pm on Tuesday last week when the charity sleigh, organised by Danetre Rotary Club, was in Waveney Close as part of its tour of the town.
Santa’s sleigh was being towed around The Grange estate by a tractor when the driver got out to speak to the team of volunteer helpers.
As he returned to his cab he was shot in the lower back with a pellet from an air weapon. Luckily he was only left with bruising.
Jane Nicholls, fundraising chairman at the Rotary club, said: “Like everyone else involved, the driver was a volunteer. He is also a farmer, so he was familiar with the sound of the weapon as well.
“Thankfully he wasn’t seriously hurt, but who knows what could have happened. He was left seriously shocked by it all though, but managed to continue with the route.
“The worrying thing is we don’t know where they were aiming, it may have just been luck they hit someone in the back and not the head.
“Plus, because Father Christmas is there we have children and other adults around us a lot of the time. Can you imagine what could have happened if that pellet had hit a child’s eye?
“We’re going to have to review going to this part of the Grange next year. We cannot put our volunteers in danger.
“It’d be a shame if we couldn’t go back to that area. The Grange is always a very generous estate, and despite the economic problems we’re all facing, the amount collected that night was up on last year for the same route.
“If there’s a dangerous moron walking around armed with an air rifle or pistol taking shots at people collecting for charity it’s just shocking. Maybe someone out there will know who did it.
“We only reported it the next day to get the rest of the route done, but the police said for them it was so serious that if we’d called in right away they’d have sent their helicopter over to try to track people.”
Police are investigating the shooting and are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch by calling 101.