A FAMILY’S Christmas was ruined when a 10-year-old boy was shot while playing football in Wantage.

Cai Tobin had an operation to remove a pellet on Boxing Day, after being hurt while retrieving a ball from a public alleyway near Stockham Park two days earlier.

The family are concerned that his attacker could strike again.

They didn’t initially believe that a gunman could have aimed at Cai - it was only after seeing X-Rays in hospital that it became clear he had been shot in the elbow.

Dad Stephen said: “I just want my Wantage friends to know that someone is shooting children in the area and to be on the look out.”

He believes his son was shot by an air rifle.

Cai, who lives with his mother, was climbing out of a public alleyway, between houses and an allotment, into a field at around 3pm.

Mr Tobin, 39, explained: “He climbed over the path to get the ball. He went down in pain and thought he’d been hit by something.

“We thought he’d fallen on a stick or something. The surgeon X-Rayed it and it was a pellet.

“From where it happened it had to be shot from the housing estate side – its someone in the alleyway walking around with a gun.”

The family took Cai, who has Aspergers and ADHD, to hospital. He is now recovering but does have a scar.

Mr Tobin, a builder who lives in Weston on the Green, said the incident was ‘shocking’ and continued: “What a shame it is that something like this could happen and police haven’t got the resources to deal with it.

“We don’t want to make police sound bad, we want people to know this can happen.”

Thames Valley Police spokesman Gareth Ford-Lloyd confirmed the time and date of the incident and said: “We have had a report that a 10-year-old boy received an injury after being shot with what is thought to be a pellet gun. The boy received hospital treatment but has since been discharged. An investigation is ongoing.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101, quoting reference 43180392525.

In September, four men were arrested in Bicester following reports of air gun shootings. The following month, a laser beam was pointed at an RAF helicopter flying above Wantage.