Couple 'shot at' after building fence to stop chip shop customers eating on windowsill

The shooting occurred after a row over a four-foot-high fence outside the house next to the chip shop. A man has now been released on bail for firing a shot with an airgun at Christine and Stephen Williams as they worked on the new fence. Now council workmen, armed with power tools, have dissembled the fence.

However, the couple, Christine Williams, aged 50, and her husband Stephen, aged 57, stated their intention to put the fence “right back up”.

They have argued that building such a structure is within their rights according to the deeds of their home.

Relations with other neighbours have deteriorated during the coronavirus crisis when the chip shop owner marked out spaces for customers to wait outside his shop.

This meant customers are now lining up outside the Williams’ front window.

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“It’s not about people eating chips sitting on our windowsill.

“That never happened as we don’t have one but we don’t want people queueing outside our window every evening.

“The whole thing has left me traumatised. On Thursday, after we’d both got back from work my husband went outside to work on the fence and I was sitting in a chair at the front keeping him company along with our dog.

“Suddenly I saw a man on the other side of the road with a gun pointing directly at me.

“I screamed at Stephen who moved me away as the shot was fired.

“Then we heard cheers coming from the chip shop.

“It was terrifying.

“I am really shaken up by the whole thing.

“We had forensics round here until the early hours of the morning.

“Now I’m told that the man they arrested has been released on bail.

“It is very frightening when he lives only a couple of streets away.”

A spokesperson for Northumberland Police said: “Shortly before 6.50pm yesterday police received a report of concern for safety following a disturbance on Victoria Crescent in Alnwick.

“It was reported that two parties had been involved in a dispute, during which an air weapon had been discharged at a wall.

“No one was injured but as a precaution, officers from the Force’s Firearm’s Support Unit (FSU) attended the scene.

“A man, aged 34, was arrested and remains in custody at this time, helping with enquiries.

“There is no threat to the wider public at this time and it is believed all those involved are known to each other.

“Officers remain in the area today carrying out patrols so anyone with concerns should make themselves known.”

The couple’s decision to erect the fence has been criticised by a local councillor.

Cllr Gordon Castle, Alnwick ward member for Northumberland County Council, said: “I’ve raised this with officers at County Hall to the highest level.

“Mr Williams claims to have deeds showing ownership of where his fence now sits.

“I can hardly believe he has gone ahead with this before any resolution with county highways, especially given the impact on pedestrians and children walking to school.

“There are meetings scheduled to find the legal way forward and I’m sorry I can’t do more, but I’ve sent photos and explained to officers that I’m receiving many messages of complaint.”

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