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Shooters and shooting groups have shown no sympathy for Ashley Cole, after the News of the World revealed that the Chelsea and England footballer accidentally shot a student with a .22 air rifle.

Police have confirmed they are investigating the incident which happened at Chelsea?s Cobham training ground in Surrey. Cole shot the work experience student by accident, believing that the gun was unloaded.

Mike Yardley, spokesman for the Shooting Sports Trust, said: ?This misuse of an airgun, if true as reported, is reprehensible. Ashley Cole broke the golden rule of gun safety ? never point a gun at something that you do not want to shoot.

?He also failed to check that the gun was unloaded when he picked it up, another basic breach of safety. His horseplay sets a dreadful example.?

According to the News of the World, the incident inflicted ?excruciating pain? on the student, 21-year-old Tom Cowan. He was given treatment by the club?s medical team ?as blood poured from the wound in his side? and then given two days off to rest and recover. However, a source told the newspaper that ?48 hours later the wound was still weeping and needed further treatment.?

The rest of this article appears in 9th March issue of Shooting Times.

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