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Winkton pensioner's car hit three times in 'Wild West drive-by' catapult attacks

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“IT’S like the Wild West” – these were the words of a frustrated Winkton pensioner whose car had its windows shot out in suspected catapult attacks three times in as many weeks.

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, was among four victims to have their vehicles struck by ball bearings and lead shots about the size of pound coins in the small village near Christchurch.

The driver-side window of her Skoda was smashed and its rear window broken in the latest incident during the night of Sunday 31st October while it was on her driveway in Salisbury Road.

Damage to one of the vehicles. (photo: Dorset Police)
Damage to one of the vehicles. (photo: Dorset Police)

She did not discover the damage until the following morning, when two lead shots and three ball bearings were found on the floor inside the vehicle.

“It’s like the Wild West or a drive-by shooting,” she told the A&T.

“The pellets looked like they were hand-moulded and were about the size of a Malteaser. They totally shattered the driver’s window and the same shot has gone through the interior and hit the passenger-side back window.

“This is Winkton – it’s not leading to anywhere dodgy. It’s just a village and it’s not full of bored teenagers.”

The first time the pensioner’s car was hit, its driver-side window was smashed during a Thursday or Friday night. Its back window was smashed on the second occasion, and she believes the back of the car was also dented.

She was frustrated by having to repeatedly pay excess on her insurance to have the repairs carried out.

The ball bearings and lead shot found after the attacks (photo: Dorset Police)
The ball bearings and lead shot found after the attacks (photo: Dorset Police)

“I don’t think they thought beyond the end of their noses about what they were doing,” she continued.

“I don’t think they know just how much trouble it leads to. It’s not a victimless joke, and it’s quite frightening for people in the village, particularly as they might be out taking the dog for a walk or something when it happens.

“It’s frustrating because there’s nothing you can do but keep on going out there and sweeping up the glass.

“It really doesn’t occur to you that someone will be out taking pot shots at your car.”

The victim’s daughter, Myette Whalley, was appalled to hear of the attacks affecting her mother and residents of the village where she grew up before moving to Scotland.

She told the A&T: “These pellets could have killed someone.

“These catapults are not like the old-fashioned Just William-type sticks, they’re high-velocity with laser sights.”

Mrs Whalley was disappointed the police attended the scene only after the third attack on her mother’s car, and she called for night-time patrols with a CCTV van.

She added: “Any information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, people should get it to police so they can start to put together a pattern and evidence, so they can catch whoever’s responsible.”

The Skoda was one of four vehicles reported to have been targeted in the same night, with two hit in Burley Road – one sustaining a smashed windscreen and the other a smashed rear window. A window was also smashed on a car parked in Priory View Road.

Villagers took to Facebook to share their anger. One wrote: “It's so frustrating that one or two nasty individuals are hell-bent on trying to spoil our lovely villages.

“This mindless vandalism and the amount of ghastly graffiti is spoiling things for the majority. I hope they catch whoever is thieving and damaging property. Get them to pay up and clean up.”

Those with information should contact Dorset Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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