Members of Royal Leamington Spa Cycling Club were shot at with an air rifle near a local traveller camp last week.
The group, which organizes frequent XC and road cycling club rides, were on a night ride between Black Lane and Campion Hills on Thursday at around 9pm when they were targeted. Multiple shots were fired and one rider, Dave Pugh, was hit in the leg, receiving superficial injuries. Another member of the club cycled past the following day and their bike frame was also hit by a pellet.
The ride took place in a public area near the Campion Hills BMX track. The group apparently deviated from their planned route to avoid the travellers' camp as they were worried about safety but they were still targeted by the shooter.
Andy Robson, the Regional Secretary for British Cycling in the West Midlands, said, "I was the first rider behind Dave and noticed a pellet whistle between us as we went past the traveller's encampment near the 4X track. They use that spot occasionally but we have not had issues in the past.
The injuries of the rider hit by the air rifle pellet
"I didn't say anything at the time as I didn't want to cause any commotion with the other riders, but the guy behind me had clocked it too, and said that we should get a move on. As we went into the woods at the end of the trail, another shot came past me and I heard it go through the foliage at the side of the trail. The rest of us hadn't realised that Dave had been hit at some point and he didn't make a big deal of it at the time - he definitely earned his post-ride pint that day."
The rider whose bike was hit the next day posted on the group's Facebook page, "I got shot at as well, just about and hour ago now. They missed me but that can't be said about my bike. A bit disheartened at the moment to be fair."
Campion Hills BMX track, near where the incidents took place.
Warwickshire Police will be increasing patrols in the area over the following days. A spokesperson said, "We were called at 9.15pm on Thursday night (17 January) to an incident at Campion Hills, Leamington. An investigation is now ongoing. If anyone witnessed the incident, please call Warwickshire Police on 101 quoting incident number 394 of 17 January. Alternatively information can be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."