Published: 11:06, 24 March 2020
| Updated: 15:34, 25 March 2020
A teenager is walking around with an air rifle pellet buried deep in his arm.
He was walking along London Road in Dunton Green with three friends at around 3pm when they came under fire from the window of a nearby house.
The boy's father said: "There were several shots. With the pellets pinging all around them, my son's friends ran off, but my boy was hit in the forearm.
"He tried hiding in the bushes, but the people came out of the house and asked him if he was part of some gang, still pointing their rifles at him.
"He didn't understand what they were talking about. He is a good boy who has never been in any trouble and knows nothing about any gangs. He doesn't even come from that area - we live in Dartford - he was just visiting his friends."
Eventually, he was allowed to go, and ran to a nearby shop where he received help and the emergency services were called.
Armed officers were quickly at the scene and arrested four people on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm and recovered two air rifles.
Two suspects were aged 18 and two aged 15. But the victim's ordeal did not end there.
He was taken to the Tunbridge Wells Hospital at Pembury, but after examination, the doctors said he would require an operation under general anaesthetic to remove the pellet which was in deep, and no theatres were available.
Because the pellet posed no immediate threat, they sent him home but were unable to indicate when he would be recalled for the operation as elective surgery is postponed as hospitals deal with coronavirus cases.
His father said: "So he may have to have this in his arm for two or three months? That's not acceptable, society cannot be allowed to fall apart."
He praised the police, who he said had been "fantastically supportive."
The dad added: "They also want my boy to have the operation as soon as possible - not just for his own sake, but because they want the pellet as evidence to compare with the guns they seized."
Police confirmed the two 15-year-olds and one 18-year-old had been bailed to return to the police station on April 16.
The other 18-year-old man was bailed to return on April 14.
A spokesperson for Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust said: “The patient has been seen by a specialist consultant today, who advised the family that there was no clinical urgency to undergo surgery to remove the pellet.
"This is standard clinical practice for injuries such as these as attempting to remove the pellet would risk damaging important nerves. It is safe to leave the pellet indefinitely.
“The clinician advised the family to monitor the injury and to contact us if there was any change.
“Urgent, emergency and cancer surgery is still taking place. Non-urgent planned procedures are postponed to allow us to prepare our hospitals for treating significant numbers of patients with coronavirus, train our staff and adapt certain areas.”
More by this authorAlan Smith