Schoolboys risked death in YouTube gun prank


By Michael MacLeod

TWO teenage boys risked being gunned down by police while filming a toy gun shoot out for YouTube.

The internet clip, published last week, shows a pretend stand-off between two tracksuit-clad boys in a garden.

Firing plastic pellets at each other, one ends up writhing in agony on the ground after his pal shoots his leg, which the boys tell viewers required hospital treatment.

But police warned they send armed response teams to all 999 calls involving guns, even toys like those used in the Jackass-style clip.

Cops watched the video and said that had they been called in, it could have ended with tragic consequences.

Last night, Tory MSP Bill Aitken slammed the police warning as “over the top.”

He said: “It’s sad that children can’t play with toy guns anymore without the thought that they might be shot by police.

“Speaking to parents about how society has changed is the answer, not sending an armed response.”

Seemingly oblivious to the dangers, the Edinburgh youngsters’ website states they plan to film more stunts, including a “bb gun war street edition” and a “firework edition”.

Police firearms experts inspected the YouTube video and said that if they had been called in, the boys may have been shot by real bullets.

A spokesperson for Lothian & Borders Police said: “Armed police officers when confronted by a person in possession of a firearm will take action to resolve the incident using the minimum amount of force necessary.

“Officers do not know that a firearm is a BB gun or replica and will form a threat assessment on the most current information and intelligence available.

“There is obviously an opportunity for these incidents to have tragic consequences.”

Parents should warn their children of the dangers of toy weapons according to Tory justice spokesman Mr Aitken.

He said: “To my mind it is simply two 11-year-old kids larking around without any malice.

“It’s a sad sign of the times that had somebody phoned 999, police would have to respond with real guns.

“If one of the boys panicked, who knows what could have happened, but an armed response would have been over the top in this case.

“I would hope the police would just have a word with the boys and their parents, who should know there are dangers when youngsters play around with imitation firearms.

“Society has changed from the days in which all youngsters had toy guns and parents do need to appreciate that.”