Villagers wear helmets after spate of catapult attacks

Villagers wear helmets after spate of catapult attacks
Police were pelted with large rocks as they responded to complaints of projectiles being catapulted at people and property in Stanwell Village, Surrey

Residents of a Surrey village have begun wearing cycling helmets as they leave their homes, to protect themselves from a siege of catapult attacks.

Houses, cars, and people in Stanwell Village were hit with flying stones over the weekend, which police believe were catapulted or thrown from a nearby nature reserve.

Surrey Police responded to the calls throughout the weekend, and on Monday attended another report on Russell Drive.

When they arrived at the scene, rocks were pelted at the officers. One rock smashed into a wing mirror on a police car, and a second landed centimetres from an officer’s feet.

Neighbourhood Sergeant, Paul Grinter, said: “We believe the stones are being fired at random from the nature reserve behind the houses — often two or three stones at a time.

“The residents cannot enjoy their gardens, cannot open their windows and cannot park outside their homes. They are under siege.

“They live in fear of being hit by one of these missiles, which have already caused substantial criminal damage to property, and have been told some have taken to wearing cycle helmets when they leave the house.

“It is only a matter of time before someone is injured.”

The Safer Neighbourhood team continues to patrol the area, working with police drone operators to determine the location where the projectiles are being launched from.

Those responsible for the catapult attacks have not yet been found, and no arrests have been made.

Sergeant Grinter added: “I would urge those responsible to stop, immediately.

“Catapults are not toys — if you are carrying a catapult with intent to cause injury, it counts as an offensive weapon.”

He also urged those walking in the nature reserve to exercise caution and to report any concerns or suspicious behaviour to the police.

“If you see anyone firing projectiles from the reserve, dial 999 immediately,” he said.

Surrey Police are encouraging anyone with information on the catapulting to contact them through their online messaging system, through social media or by dialling 101 and quoting PR/45210061779.