Durham University freshers 'shot with air rifle' while on river boat cruise

Police carried out a search of Durham's riverbanks after three women reported being hit by pellets from an air rifle. Credit: PA

Police are investigating after three women were shot with an air rifle while on a river boat cruise in Durham.

Three women reported being hit by pellets, and a 19-year-old woman required medical treatment due to injuries to her leg.

The women are thought to be first year undergraduates at Durham University.

Police were called by the operators of the river cruiser, who reported that a number of air pellets had been fired at the boat as it turned close to Prebends Bridge on the evening of Thursday 29 September.

Officers carried out an extensive search of the riverbanks, but were unable to locate the suspects.

A police investigation into the incident is now underway, led by Durham neighbourhood police team, including examination of CCTV footage from the city centre.

Officers are particularly keen to speak to three men who were walking along the riverbanks close to the Radisson Hotel shortly before the incident.

They are described as being aged around 17-18, one of whom was wearing a dark hoodie and a second was wearing camouflaged clothing.

Sgt Jason Mole, of Durham Neighbourhood Police Team, said: “This was obviously a very frightening experience for a group of young people having what should have been an enjoyable night out and it is fortunate someone wasn’t more seriously injured.

“This appears to be a one-off incident and at present, there is nothing to indicate that it was a targeted attack.

“We are carrying out a full investigation to identify those responsible and would appeal for anyone with information, particularly on the identity of the three men in the area at the time, to call us”.