A DOG walker has spoken of his terror after a youngster came towards him firing a gun on a public footpath.

Martin Landers said the youth, who was about 17 years old, was shooting with what he believed to be a handgun at the ground on the path at quiet Cleasby, near Darlington, before pointing it at him.

The weapon turned out to be an air pistol - but Mr Landers said: "He came round the corner, firing it at the ground, and kept walking towards me and my daughter.

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"When he was about 15-20 yards away I just thought, he is a nutter and he is going to shoot us.

"I shouted at him to stop shooting and put the gun down. He carried on walking towards me.

"I shouted again and he showed me the gun and said 'it's just a .22'. But I think you can put proper bullets in there as well as pellets.

"We weren't to know what it was when he was coming towards us shooting – it could have been a proper gun."

He said the youngster was on a small motorbike with L plates on and was on a public footpath.

Mr Landers was out walking his dog, along with his 16-year-old daughter, when the incident happened on Friday.

"I didn't have my phone with me so I didn't call the police at that point," said Mr Landers.

"But I went back the next day and he was there again, this time with some others in a BMW. They had an air rifle this time and I reported it to the police."

He said police had given the youngster a 'stern talking to' when they tracked him down later on – but said he had the farmer's permission to be on the land.

He added: "They were shooting on a public right of way. I have walked many miles in the countryside with my dogs and whenever I have seen anyone with a gun they have always been discreet.

"I told the lad he needed to realise how intimidating that was, when he is firing a gun on a public footpath."

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said they were investigating and said:: "We received a report that a man had been seen with an air rifle at an address on Cleasby Lane, Darlington. The previous day it was reported that he was in possession of an air pistol.. The man had permission to be on the land with the rifle and pistol. There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances at this stage."