Spud gun hits cubby

COPMANHURST man Bob Faulkner stands among a pile of yellow plastic shards littering his yard – they're from his daughter's ruined cubby house.

He found the cubby on its roof and severely damaged on Saturday morning after being hit by what police suspect was a heavy projectile fired from a homemade orange or potato cannon.

The single father quietly stands there, shaking his head at the mess and trying to brush-off thoughts of what might have happened if his four-year-old daughter, Lilly-Grace, had been playing in the cubby house at the time.

About 8pm on Friday evening, Mr Faulkner said he heard a loud crash outside his house on the Clarence Way near Copmanhurst – his first thought was a car had left the road and gone through one of his fences, which he said had happened in the past.

“I went out with the torch and couldn't see any cars out there. My second thought was that a branch had come down on the roof, so I went up on the ladder and saw the roof was clean; so I thought the hot water service had blown up, but I checked it and it was all right too,” Mr Faulkner said.

“I went back inside scratching my head, and it wasn't until the sun came up the next morning when I was out hanging out some clothes that I noticed the cubby house was on its roof.

“I went over and had a look at it. That's when I saw it was blown to pieces – it'd been knocked on its roof and set about eight to 10 feet (3 metres) away from where it was sitting, so it's been hit rather hard by something with a lot of velocity behind it.

“Whatever it was went through the side wall and blew one of the doors off – so it smashed a hole through the side, blew the door off and kept on going. Where it ended up after that I don't know.”

Mr Faulkner said he had called the police who came out and inspected the scene

“Their opinion was the same as mine that it was most probably an orange gun fired from the road,” he said.

An orange gun, also known as a potato cannon or spud gun, is usually constructed from a piece of plastic piping with modifications which allow it to shoot things like potatoes and oranges with surprisingly high velocity using air pressure or combusting gas.

It is classed as a prohibited weapon in Australia.

Mr Faulkner said the police who visited his house suspected that based on the amount of damage caused a frozen orange or something even more solid had been used as the projectile.

He said he felt sick thinking about what would've happened if his daughter had been playing in the cubby house at the time.

“The little one spends a lot of time playing out in the yard; it's just sheer luck she wasn't out there at the time,” he said.

“The force this cubby house was hit with, if it had hit her in the throat or the face or chest, it would've killed her.”

Mr Faulkner said given the direction the shot must have came from, the projectile had passed-over the roof of his car before hitting the cubby house, which led him to suspect his car was actually the intended target. However standing over the broken cubby house yesterday, that was little comfort to him.

Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time it had happened either. Mr Faulkner said that a couple of years ago he'd been sitting on his patio when he heard a sound like a car backfiring.

A split-second later a golf ball hit his ute, ricocheted off his shed before almost hitting him. He still has the golf ball which is egg-shaped and flattened on one side from the force of the impact.

He suspected both incidents were linked, and said it was only a matter of time before someone got seriously injured or worse.

“God knows what's going to happen if he ever gets his hands on a proper firearm.

“It's just crazy. Someone is going to get seriously hurt or killed if this doesn't stop.”

Anyone who has information about the incident or has had a similar experience should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800333000.

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