Armed po­lice spoil pi­geon day

Shooting Gazette - - Letters -

Dur­ing the sum­mer my brother and

I were shoot­ing pi­geons over bar­ley stub­ble on a farm in Es­sex when at 3pm we no­ticed a he­li­copter cir­cling above us. We didn't think any­thing of it and car­ried on shoot­ing. I left the hide and went to or­gan­ise my de­coys and it was at this point that I no­ticed a group of peo­ple com­ing to­wards us. My brother was still in the hide, and as they got closer they ges­tured to me to move away from the hide. My brother started to come out of the hide with his gun point­ing down by his side. They all started to shout in a pan­icked man­ner: "Put the weapon down! Put the weapon down!" The group con­sisted of six armed squad team mem­bers with riot shields, later joined by four po­lice­men.

The he­li­copter was still cir­cling low and it was dif­fi­cult for my brother to hear but I could, as I was fur­ther into the field. I shouted to my brother what they were say­ing but they al­ready had their au­to­matic weapons pointed at him. My brother was ob­vi­ously ter­ri­fied and as they got closer, he put the gun on the ground. They ap­proached us and went through lots of checks. Our guns, our cer­tifi­cates, our am­mu­ni­tion and whether we had the farmer’s per­mis­sion. The farmer had by now turned up to see what was hap­pen­ing. The four ex­tra po­lice­men were also do­ing ve­hi­cle checks.

From what I un­der­stand, there has been shoot­ing on that land since 1958, but the po­lice de­manded we in­form them ev­ery time we want to shoot. We un­der­stand that un­der the cur­rent cli­mate we all have to be ex­tra sen­si­tive, but we felt it was re­ally ex­ces­sive and heavy-handed and a good look around would have given them a good in­di­ca­tion of what we were do­ing there.

De­spite all this, we still man­aged to get a good bag of pi­geons!

But we were won­der­ing if this has now be­come quite com­mon, and if it has also hap­pened to any other read­ers? We were ob­vi­ously very in­tim­i­dated.

luigi me­ola By email

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