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With gun crime constantly in the news, how safe are the UK's roads? By Matthew Seiber
EVER WONDERED why that road sign you just drove past had several bullet holes in it? Matthew Seiber, a fleet driver trainer, became intrigued by this particular phenomena when he was travelling through Spain in the 70s (see box).
After joining the military and visiting Northern Ireland, he decided to study the matter further and find out who was firing these bullets and why. He created GunfireGraffiti UK (gunfire-graffiti.co.uk) to record the incidents he came across and to let others know of roadside areas that could potentially be unsafe.
Over time, Seiber realised that criminals were using the road signs for gun testing. Because the signs are made of steel or alloy, the bullets pierce them, making them the perfect shooting target and the perfect way for gun traders to prove how precise their
weapons are. Here, he shares more than 30 years of research with CM. • The "Shilton sign". This was investigated by the forensic scientists at Cranfield University and is now in their permanent possession. They were able to determine that five types of ammunition were tested on it at different times, from standing
and seated firing positions. They were able to identify Czech-produced solid slug ammunition. The vertical spread of ball shot on the left is called "balling". This effect is achieved by mixing heavy shot with a particular type of wax. The perpetrators went to great lengths and obviously had no fear of being seen, caught or reported This sign on Cold Fell, Cumbria had been hit and penetrated 36 times by .22LR ammunition. It was on the "Shoot Route" I found when investigating the Derrick Bird shootings in 2010. Cumbria Police, while polite, were not interested, neither was the local MP who lives nearby. The strangest and most chilling length of road I have ever found. A month after the murders, somebody returned to the route and left more signatures with a .22 and a HV rifle A30 Hampshire near Blackbushe Airfield. Probably a .45 ACP handgun round Humberside 2008. Probably fired from a Lay-by on the other side of the road
The J Shot in Oxfordshire. High Velocity rifle rounds calmly fired into the plain back of a road sign, forming the letter J Gwent near Abergavenny, South Wales 18mm solid shotgun slugs The Berkshire bullet. A 7.62mm HV rifle round fired at head height down a rural road from the direction of quaint dwellings in a village