Police send armed unit after teens shoot at angler at Northampton lake

Stephen Drinkwater with his fishing tent in his back garden, the tent is damaged after it was smashed up and ripped as he was fishing. 'NEWS, JOHN.
Stephen Drinkwater with his fishing tent in his back garden, the tent is damaged after it was smashed up and ripped as he was fishing. 'NEWS, JOHN.

FOUR men were arrested at gunpoint on Saturday after a gas-powered air rifle was fired at an angler.

Stephen Drinkwater, aged 47, of Broughton Place, Eastfield, Northampton, arrived at Eastfield Park at around 4pm to go fishing for the night when a gang of yobs, who were believed to have been drinking, started shooting at him.

He said he first heard the rifle being fired as he walked through the park.

Mr Drinkwater said a gang of teenagers began shooting at cans and other objects, before turning their attention to wildlife in the park and then finally they started firing at him.

He said: “I got three-quarters of the way through the park and I could hear the shots being fired. When I got to the lake I could see them; they were shooting at a tin can or something like that and then they started shooting at a coot in the water. Then all of a sudden they started taking pot shots at me.”

Mr Drinkwater, who regularly fishes at the lake and has previously had his angling equipment vandalised, said he ran for shelter and then immediately rang for the police. A team of six specially trained firearms officers were then scrambled to the scene, where four men were arrested at gunpoint.

Mr Drinkwater said it was not the first time someone had fired an air rifle at him while fishing in the park. He said: “The first time I was with a friend and I rang the police and two police officers came down but this time they sent an armed team.

“This time I was on my own and I wasn’t too impressed at being shot at. It wasn’t exactly fun.”

Last June, Mr Drinkwater was fishing at the lake when a gang of youths started jumping on his fishing equipment while he was only yards away. He said he was now considering using a different lake.

A police spokesman confirmed police were called at 4.20pm on Saturday and that four men had been arrested shortly before 5pm.

They were arrested for possession of an imitation firearm in a public place and for causing fear.