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12 May 2013, 08:09 | Updated: 13 May 2013, 11:19
Police are stepping up patrols and using stop and search powers after a 16 year old boy was shot in the ninth shooting in Luton this year.
The teenager was shot in the early hours of the morning on Saturday 11th May on the town's Marsh Farm Estate.
Police and ambulance crews were called to Thricknells Close at 4am after residents heard gun fire.
The boy received a gun shot wound to his back and was taken to hospital. He is in a serious but stable condition. A youth who was seen to be leaving the area the time of the shooting is described as white, in his mid teens, wearing a blue top and blue denim jeans.
Armed response officers searched the area and a police cordon has been set up while Scenes of Crime Officers examine the scene.
Now armed officers, and members of the local policing team, are out in force in Marsh Farm and also on the Lewsey Farm estate in Luton fearing more trouble between rival gangs from the two estates.
In addition a £1,000 was reward offered to anyone who gives the police information that leads to the arrest and conviction of any offender who is involved in gun crime in the town.
Detective Inspector Sean Quinn, investigating, said. "We are in the early stages of this investigation and are piecing together exactly what happened prior to this shooting. However we believe this was a targeted incident and we would urge anyone who has information about this shooting or anyone who can help identify the person leaving the scene to contact the police immediately. They can do this in complete confidence and we can reassure them that any information given will be used confidentially to trace whoever was responsible for this crime."
A spokesperson said: "Armed officers, together with members of the local policing team, for Marsh Farm and Lewsey Farm will be out and about in greater force for the foreseeable future; reassuring the public and ensuring offenders who carry guns or weapons in public are stopped and arrested.
"Patrols, already on the ground in significant numbers, will be doubled and will be using stop and search powers to ensure public safety. They will also be asking the public for help to find the person responsible for this morning's shooting which left the victim in a serious condition in hospital."
Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Richer, said: "We understand that there will be a number of law-abiding citizens who will be affected by this action, however, we hope that they will understand that this action is being taken to keep them and their loved ones safe and they will agree with us that this level of criminality will not be tolerated. These measures are being used to ensure those who commit these crimes are stopped so we would ask the public for their forbearance."
He continued: "Since January we have seen an escalation in gun crime in the town and this issue remains a top priority for the force. Over the last few weeks numerous warrants have been executed and 11 people arrested in connection with ongoing drugs and firearms inquiries. There have also been two firearms and ammunition recovered.
"Be reassured that much more police action will follow and the police effort is intensifying in proportion to the threat posed by the small groups of offenders who are responsible for these crimes. Any person carrying a firearm or weapon on the street can expect to be confronted by armed patrols who will search them, arrest them and prosecute them.
"With regard to the offences already committed we need witnesses to come forward and information from the public and those associated with offenders - this is the piece of the puzzle that we are struggling with. We are trying to encourage people to speak to officers by offering a reward and members of the communities involved need to know that we need their help to enable us to stop these people ~ they can speak with us in complete confidence and can trust that confidentiality will be respected. If they wish they can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously - all information will be used to keep our communities safe."