Armed police spoil pigeon day
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