A THUG has been firing shots at dog-walkers and children playing in a popular park.
He was spotted taking pot-shots with an air-rifle at people walking their pets through Middle Herrington Park.
Children were playing in a play area about 100 metres from where the shots were fired.
A woman today told of her shock after coming under fire.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “I was walking across the football pitch when I heard a gun being fired close to me.
“My dog was running on ahead and she started barking at some lads in the nearby trees. When I took a closer look, I saw one of the boys was holding what looked like an air rifle.”
No-one was hurt but fears have now been raised that the mindless shooting could have left someone injured.
“I can’t believe they would take a gun to a public park. Someone could have been killed or badly hurt,” she added.
“I was pretty shaken up afterwards.”
Les Scott, 64, who lives near the park, said: “This sort of behaviour is totally unacceptable. With any form of weapon, it’s only a short time before someone is seriously hurt.
“That park is very well used and there are all sorts of people there, from young children to teenagers, who could have been injured.
“It’s silly, dangerous behaviour.”
Stan Stockman, 63, often takes his four-year-old granddaughter Lily to the park to play.
He said: “It’s pure stupidity and someone could get really hurt. I bet they thought it was a bit of fun but who would be laughing if someone had been hurt?
“There are so many kids down here in the evenings now with the light nights so it’s surprising really that no one was hit.
“It’s worrying that someone as irresponsible as this is even allowed to get their hands on an air gun.”
Mr Stockman, a retired electrician, said underage drinkers often congregate in the park at weekends and it has previously been plagued with trouble.
Newly-planted trees have being hacked down and on several occasions young drinkers have been tackled by police.
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “Police received a report at just before 5pm on Monday of people possibly being in possession of an air weapon in a park on Crow Lane, Sunderland.”
* A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of discharging a firearm within 50ft of the highway and was given a caution.