POLICE are hunting a gunman responsible for a ‘drive-by shooting’ in Bournemouth.
One man suffered pellet injury when two shots were fired into the front window of a property in Townsend in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
A 48-year-old man was taken to Poole Hospital with an injury to his side following the incident in Jewell Road. He was later released.
Police crime scene investigators cordoned off the area where the attack happened, near the junction with Cheshire Drive, until the early afternoon while they searched for evidence.
Forensics officers donned gloves before searching through grass verges and on the road surface for vital clues.
At one point, a small object, believed to be a bullet casing, was dropped into an evidence bag.
Investigators then retraced their footsteps as they ran a metal detector over the same area.
A front window was shattered after being struck twice by bullets.
Residents described a car pulling up and one person getting out to fire a gun into the house.
One woman, who did not want to be named, said: “It wasn’t long after midnight, and I heard two loud bangs. It gave me a real shock.”
A 58-year-old resident of Townsend said: “It was the shots and the sound of roaring away that everyone heard.
“It’s a nightmare to hear about this type of drive-by shooting.”
Police said they were called at 12.30am. A woman living nearby, who asked not to be named, said a car thought to be connected to the incident was seized by officers at around 4.30am.
Detective Chief Inspector John Gately, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Fortunately, the victim received only minor injuries.
“No weapon has been recovered and we are investigating what type of weapon may have been used.
“I would urge any witnesses and anyone with information in relation to this incident to contact the police as soon as possible in confidence.”
The suspect has been described as a white man, in his 20s, between 5ft 6in and 5ft 9in tall. He was wearing a dark top.
Police said it was unclear whether a vehicle leaving the area was connected to the incidents.
No arrests have been made.
Anyone with information should call Dorset Police on 101, quoting incident number 16:001, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
'Area had changed hugely over the years'
The shooting came as a shock in a community which has prided itself on putting past problems behind it.
Resident Mandy Jones, 67, said: “It makes me want to cry. All the change at Townsend for this to happen.”
Claire Geraghty, chair of the Townsend Community Centre, said the area had changed hugely over the years.
“So much good has been done,” she said.
Michael Bowey, who has lived at Townsend for more than a decade, said: “I’ve never had a problem here.
“It’s a real shock to hear about because I absolutely love living here. I’ve never had any trouble at all.”
His words were echoed by Kate McElhatton, who lives just outside of Townsend.
“It’s shocking,” she said.
“There are lots of elderly people and young families living here. Even in the summer, when all the kids are out of school, all you can hear are the birds singing.”
Liz Bowden has lived in a house opposite the scene of the shooting for 38 years.
She said although she slept through the incident, her husband heard it unfold.
“He said there were two loud bangs and then a car shot off,” she said.
“I didn’t know anything about it until the police rang my doorbell in the early hours.”
She said she wasn’t well acquainted with the people currently living in the property, but added: “I’ve always found them to be polite and it’s not nice at all to hear.”
Strouden Park ward councillor John Adams, who also chairs Dorset’s police and crime panel, said: “It’s absolutely shocked me.
“It’s a real shame because we’ve done such an awful lot of work with the teams we have in there. There’s a new atmosphere there at Townsend and this is something I wasn’t even dreaming about.
“I hope this is a one-off incident and people will be able to relax and feel safe.”
One man at Townsend Community Centre said: “We don’t usually get that sort of thing around here. We have our ups and downs and you get people having fights but you don’t usually get that sort of thing. It’s usually a very quiet place.
“You might have this and then you get nothing else for a couple of years. It could be someone from out of town.
“It’s not a bad area, it’s a good area."