'We were shot at with BB guns' - roadworker

Construction workers were shot at with BB guns amid a rising number of reports of roadworker abuse, a worker has said.

The Milestone Infrastructure employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said the incident happened at about midday on 5 April on Fisherton Street in Salisbury.

"It's disgusting. We're here to earn a wage and go home safely to our partners, our kids. The abuse needs to stop," he said.

Wiltshire Police is investigating the alleged incident.

A skip full of rubble with workers and a digger blurred in the background on Fisherton Street, Salisbury
Work on the Fisherton Gateway Scheme is expected to continue until the summer [BBC]

The construction worker has been in the industry for about six years and said this incident is just one example of abuse from the public, which he said is "escalating".

"We were out, like any ordinary morning, prepping our work when several cars come past, hurling abuse, and it escalated to them using gel blasters and escalated from that to BB guns," he said.

"Speaking to your partner and saying 'we got shot at today', and for them to digest it and then to digest it yourself, it is surreal.

"Your constantly getting bombarded with harassment.

"You get anxiety about coming out [onto the worksite] and you think to yourself - what is going to happen today?

"It does escalate [over the years]. Profanities thrown at us, sometimes racial slurs and now it's increasing to acts of violence, like getting shot at."

'Needs to stop'

Concerned for the safety of the public, the worker added: "We're an active construction site.

"There's hazards all around us, you got to be focussed at all times.

"The services we work around - they're big electric cables, if we hit one of them with the tools we work with we could die.

"We could harm hundreds of people around us, millions pounds worth of damage.

"With all this going on, it's hard to work safely."

Wiltshire Police cars parked next to each other
Wiltshire Police are investigating the alleged incident [BBC]

A Wiltshire Police spokesperson confirmed the force is investigating reports regarding workers at a site in Fisherton Street being shot at with a BB type gun.

"This follows reports that two vehicles had been seen driving past the site during the week and verbally abusing workers," they said.

"Our enquiries are currently ongoing."

Anyone with information is being urged to contact the force on 101.

Richard Hemingway - health, safety and well-being director for Milestone standing on Fisherton Street with roadworks behind him
Richard Hemingway said while they understand people's frustration, workers deserve respect [BBC]

Richard Hemingway leads safety and well-being at Milestone Infrastructure, who are contracted to complete Salisbury's Fisherton Gateway Scheme.

Mr Hemmingway agreed that abuse is on the rise for road workers, with about 60% of roadworkers experiencing it daily.

"Many contractors are increasing the use of bodycams," he said.

"If we're able to capture footage of abuse we can take that to the police and Crown Prosecution Service.

"We can understand people's frustrations when they're faced with roadworks but they're roadworks to improve the environment.

"We're there to do a job, we're there to earn a living and we believe we deserve people's respect."

Contractors such as Milestone Infrastructure have partnered to form the Stamp it Out campaign that aims to end roadworker abuse.

Mr Hemingway said: "When we speak to the public, when they understand what's going on, they're really shocked at the scale of abuse that roadworkers face."

Related URLs