A police search is underway to find a man who shot a 12-year-old boy with an air rifle in Bolton.

Police were called to Bridge Street in Bolton where they found the boy with injuries to the knee.

He was taken to hospital where he will need surgery.

Eye witnesses reported that the boy was playing football when his ball ended up on a flat roof nearby. As he went to retrieve the ball he was shot at a number of times before he was hit.

Officers say they are "determined to find whoever decided using an air gun was appropriate action to take on a boy retrieving his football.”

This was an appalling assault on a young boy who was just playing football in the street. How someone could comprehend shooting at a child is beyond me, this is any parent’s worst nightmare when sending their kids out to play.

Detective Inspector Andrew Fallows