RSPCA welcomes airgun review after shootings surge in Hampshire

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Police officers at the scene of the shooting in Athena Avenue, Crookhorn on February 13, 2017

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AN ANIMAL welfare charity has welcomed plans to tighten the sale of air rifles after a surge of shootings in Hampshire against local wildlife.

The RSPCA has praised a review by the government in the regulation of air weapons.

It comes after Hampshire saw a rise in the number of animals injured by air rifles last year.

A total of 37 incidents were recorded – the most in the past five years.

David Bowles, RSPCA assistant director of external affairs, said the charity had ‘long been calling for stricter regulations’.

‘Our 24-hour cruelty hotline receives hundreds of calls every year reporting airgun attacks on animals,’ he added.

‘Last year, we received 890 calls and this year looks set to top that and, worryingly, reach a five-year high.’