Shooting groups have criticised sensationalist media coverage in Scotland after a BB gun was reportedly used in a shooting near a school in East Ayrshire.

Two teenagers have appeared in court and a third youth has been arrested in connection with the incident, in which 11 children were reported to have suffered minor injuries.

With a bill currently being debated in Westminster which would see the Scottish Parliament given jurisdiction over the control of airguns, shooters north of the Border are now concerned that unnecessary and restrictive conditions could be imposed upon their sport.

BASC?s director of communications Christopher Graffius told Shooting Times: ?Given the exaggerated and alarmist reporting, it is difficult not to conclude that this incident is being used for propaganda and political effect by those politicians unscrupulous enough to jump on the bandwagon of the tabloid campaign against legitimate airguns in Scotland.?

Scottish Education Minister, Mike Russell, told The Daily Telegraph that the incident was ?extremely disturbing?.

He said: ?Concern about the misuse of air weapons is widespread and long-standing in Scotland. Responsibility for air weapons is to be transferred from Westminster to the Scottish Parliament, and action will follow.?

Christopher Graffius added: ?The latest information received by BASC states that police believe that the incident was carried out with a BB gun using plastic highly coloured pellets at a power well beneath the one-joule limit of lethality.?

?Such toys have a short range and their ammunition is ballistically unstable. It would be wrong to use this incident of anti-social behaviour to attack the lawful shooting sport of hundreds of thousands of responsible and safe Scottish airgun users.?

David Taylor, the shooting campaigns manager at the Countryside Alliance, also criticised the reaction to the incident.

He said: ?The events have little to do with shooting sports and more to do with policing. The incident appears to have involved low-powered BB guns, which are not the tools of airgun shooters.?

?Nevertheless, incidents such as these are only likely to fuel the fire of those in the Scottish Parliament pushing for an airgun licensing system in Scotland. If such licensing were to become a reality, these incidents would not be prevented, but legitimate airgun shooters would bear the brunt of the legislation.?

?Such licensing could make it so that you could travel into Scotland with a shotgun or rifle, but not an airgun. It would be impossible to enforce and must be strongly resisted.?

BASC is in discussion at Westminster and Edinburgh on the proposed Scottish airgun law and has given evidence to the Scottish Parliamentary Committee on the subject.