POLICE have asked the Health and Safety Executive to look into an incident in which an airgun pellet shattered an office window in the centre of Barnstaple. Shocked accountant s assistant Amanda Thompson was working at her desk in the Cross Street offices

POLICE have asked the Health and Safety Executive to look into an incident in which an airgun pellet shattered an office window in the centre of Barnstaple.Shocked accountant's assistant Amanda Thompson was working at her desk in the Cross Street offices of Robinson Gale and Co at around 11am on Thursday when she heard a loud bang followed by a shower of glass.She looked up to see a neat "bullet hole" had appeared in a high ventilation window.A mark on woodwork opposite showed where the missile had struck and - although the window is some seven feet off the floor - exactly where Amanda would have been if she'd stood on a chair to reach the stationery cupboard, as she often does.It emerged that a pest control company had been contracted by the Britannia Building Society to deal with the pigeon problem affecting its Barnstaple branch next door and it is thought a ricochet could have done the damage. At the time of the incident the shaken Amanda knew none of this: "I was shaking and really frightened," she told the Gazette.Armed response"I called the police and as I was talking to them I could hear someone walking on the roof."As I went out of the office I looked through the window and saw a grey haired man carrying a rifle."She spotted a police officer outside and told him what had happened, shortly before the "rifleman" appeared outside. "He said he had not realised there was anyone in there," said Amanda. "He was very apologetic."She said an armed response police officer also arrived a little time later.Pestokill Pest Control has agreed to pay for the damaged window and offered an apology to Amanda.A spokesman for the company said: "It is being investigated and we are reviewing our policies on carrying out this kind or work, which would normally be carried out completely out of hours when there was no one around. It was carried out at that point because the birds were trapped in netting and in distress."The spokesman added that it was not unusual for an air rifle to be used in such a situation and that, where birds were trapped in a difficult-to-reach space, it was a more humane option."It is a good job there were no clients here at the time, but we are going to have a new window and an apology, so we are happy with that," said Amanda.A spokesman for the Britannia Building Society said: "The external company contracted to remove the pigeons has apologised in person and we felt since it was someone acting on our premises and in good faith to a neighbour, to apologise from our point of view. So, as a small token of that, a floral delivery was arranged."A police spokesman told the Gazette no further action was being taken on their part, but that the matter had been referred to the Health and Safety Executive.