PEOPLE in Salisbury may be subject to a 'stop and search' by police, following a new approach to tackle crimes caused by "dangerous" catapults.

A spate of recent criminal damage incidents have been caused by catapults, and now individuals found near where damage has been caused will be subject to the latest police approach.

Acting Inspector John Hutchings said he is now taking a "parental approach" to the problem, and that the damage caused by a catapult can be similar to that of a firearm.

He said: “I would not expect my child to be in possession of a catapult and ammunition in a public place, because what possible reason could a child have for carrying such a weapon?

“My officers will stop and search individuals where damage has been caused in recent weeks and should any person be found in possession of such weapons they can expect them to be seized. This action is not restricted to children.

“Our message locally is clear - catapults are dangerous and are something that someone should only have in their possession for limited lawful uses."

As well as having the item seized, those in possession of a catapult could face arrest, an interview or prosecution.

Acting Inspector John Hutchings added: “Last year we saw successful prosecutions for incidents involving the use of such weapons and I fully expect this to be the case again, should the evidence and circumstances cause us to take such action.

"We are therefore appealing particularly to parents in regard to this, that children should not be allowed to carry such items unless for good reason and supervised by an adult and, adults found in possession in areas where damage has been caused could also face arrest."