A TEENAGER was taken to hospital after being shot in the leg with an air rifle on the Rodwell Trail in Weymouth.
The 18-year-old was walking with a friend near Wellworthy Sports and Social club when someone opened fire.
He was hit two inches above the knee and ran to safety – and it is believed more shots may have been fired as he fled.
Councillors and campaigners spoke of their disgust at Saturday’s incident and police appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
Police and ambulance crews were called to nearby Portland Road at 4.34am to treat the victim, who is from Weymouth.
He was taken to Dorset County Hospital and a police spokesman said: “There appeared to be an air pellet under his skin.”
Officers searched the area but could not find the attackers.
Bernard Franklin, chairman of the Friends of the Rodwell Trail, said: “This attack is something that we abhor.
“It’s not good publicity for the trail, and it’s very sad for whoever was hit.”
He added: “There was also someone with an air rifle a year or so ago but I don’t think anyone was injured.”
Coun Doug Hollings, for Wyke Regis ward, said: “It’s terrible because it’s such a wonderful facility and this will put people off using it.
“The police must do everything they can and I hope residents keep their eyes open.”
The two and a quarter mile trail is popular walking and cycling route.
It follows the former Weymouth to Portland railway line, which closed in 1965. Sgt Tony Smith, from the Weymouth Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “One shot from an air rifle could cause a life changing injury – people can be blinded or disfigured.
“We would urge anyone with information to contact PC Jimmy Bond on 01305 222222 or the confidential Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111.”
* Do you know the teenager shot on the Rodwell Trail or anything about the attack? Call the newsdesk on 01305 830999.