Lutterworth boys praised for handing in rifle found in undergrowth
Police officers and teachers have praised two young boys who handed in a rifle they discovered in undergrowth.
Benjamin Smith, 10, and younger brother Thomas, nine, from Lutterworth, found the weapon while playing near their home after school.
While some youngsters may have been tempted to pick up the gun and mess around with it, the boys's actions made sure no-one was hurt.
Ben said: "We were walking along when Tom saw a camouflaged case in a bush. When we opened the case there was a gun inside – we were shocked. It looked real."
Ben and Tom immediately went to their friend Keian's house and asked his mum to call the police.
Tom said: "We were worried someone bad would see us and take the gun, or other children might play with it and someone would get hurt."
The boys are well-versed in gun safety, having watched dad Andrew, a shotgun licence holder, in action at Lutterworth's Spa Vale Clay Pigeon Shooting Club. When police attended the scene, off Maino Crescent, near the boys' home in Woodway Road, they discovered it was an air rifle.
Ben said: "It had a shotgun barrel but a rifle scope on it – it looked like a proper gun."
A police spokesman said: "We were called at about 4pm on Monday following reports by a member of the public that what was described as a shotgun had been found in the bushes close to Maino Crescent, Lutterworth.
"Officers attended and recovered an air rifle. Two boys, aged nine and 10 who made the discovery, have been praised for their actions."
Pc Paul Williams, who attended the scene, said: "The children did exactly the right thing when they found the air rifle. They didn't touch it and alerted an adult who called the police for assistance.
"The rifle might have been loaded and it could have culminated into a nasty incident.
"We have trained officers who can be called upon to deal with this type of incident and we would encourage anyone in this situation to call the police immediately."
The boys, who attend John Wycliffe Primary School, Lutterworth, were due to receive special thanks and praise for their quick-thinking during a school assembly today .
Head teacher Emma Nuttall said: "I am extremely proud to hear about the calm and sensible manner in which Ben and Tom responded to the unusual circumstances that they found themselves in while out playing on Monday.
"Not all children would have used their initiative in the way they did and I am pleased their actions resulted in this potentially very dangerous situation being resolved quickly and safely."
Their mum Mandy Smith, 41, said: "It turned out to be an airgun but they weren't to know that and it could have still seriously hurt someone.
"The boys did exactly the right thing and their dad and I am very proud."
A police spokesman said the air rifle had been reported missing from a car on December 17, last year, but thanks to Ben and Tom, it had now been reunited with its rightful owner.