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Home   Deal   News   Article

Horse rider, 18, falls from saddle as French pigeon shooters fire shots in Tilmanstone

22 August 2013
by Sue Briggs

The blame has been aimed at French visitors who apparently travel across the Channel regularly to shoot, gut and pack pigeons to take back home to sell.

Air ambulance crew prepares the horse rider for her flight to hospital after her fall near Tilmanstone. Picture Brian Mountain

Air ambulance crew prepares the horse rider for her flight to hospital after her fall near Tilmanstone. Picture: Brian Mountain

It has left the countryside community up in arms in protest at a spate of shooting sessions in fields around homes.

Cllr Mog Ovenden, the Dover District Council member for Eythorne and Shepherdswell, said: "These French visitors are causing a danger to the public and I find it repulsive and disgusting that they come to our fields with their guns, shooting across our footpaths and frightening horses.

"These French visitors are causing a danger to the public and I find it repulsive and disgusting that they come to our fields with their guns, shooting across our footpaths and frightening horses..." - Cllr Mog Ovenden

"I have confronted these Frenchmen but don't know what more I can do."

Rachel Bate often visits her parents Barbara and David Bate at their home in Lower Street, Tilmanstone.

She said she has been amazed at "the sounds of the Wild West" in the surrounding countryside.

Miss Bate said the experienced rider was thrown from her horse after it was spooked by shotguns firing on both sides of Pike Road at about 10am last Wednesday.

She said: "Shots were fired from behind the hedges, just feet away, on either side of her.

"Her horse reared and threw her, then careered down the road, where he was caught by the driver of a passing car. This was not an isolated incident."

Miss Bate added the village had fallen silent of gunshots after the accident and the rider, who was taken by air ambulance to the William Harvey Hospital, Ashford, was now recovering at home in Tilmanstone.

Kent Air Ambulance lands on farmland near Tilmanstone. Picture Brian Mountain

Kent Air Ambulance lands on farmland near Tilmanstone. Picture: Brian Mountain

She was treated for concussion and bruising to her wrist and back.

Kent Police were called to Tilmanstone and carried out a search of the area, but the shooting had stopped.

A spokesman said: "The neighbourhood officer PC, Richard Callaghan, has spoken with the landowner to advise him about the concerns raised and the landowner has agreed to speak to the gun users concerned.

"The 18-year-old woman fell off her horse. She has not made any complaints but said she remembers hearing a bang before she fell."


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