A PAIR of tourists feared their car had been struck by a rifle shot when it was targeted by stone-throwing yobs.

Steve and Diane Ball’s hire car was left with a smashed windscreen after they were attacked while returning home from a family party.

Teenage thugs perched on a footbridge used the vantage point to hurl missiles at the couple as they were driving along the A760 Newton of Barr Road, in Lochwinnoch.

Thankfully, the couple were unhurt but have spoken of their frightening ordeal in a bid to help police catch the culprits.

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The Gazette can reveal it was the second incident of its type in the area in the space of a week.

Seven days earlier, another car was left damaged after being struck by stones thrown by a group of hooded yobs from a footbridge over the busy A737, between Tandlehill Road, in Kilbarchan, and Milliken Park Road, in Johnstone.

Mr and Mrs Ball, who are from Whatton-in-the-Vale, near Nottingham, were travelling back from the Isle of Arran when they were targeted on the A760.

“I was in the passenger seat and my husband was driving and there was suddenly a terrific bang,” said 64-year-old Mrs Ball. “It was so frightening.

“It could have been really dangerous. I don’t think they really understood the consequences of what they were doing.

“Afterwards, we had to pull into the RSPB nature reserve as that was the nearest place and the people there were just brilliant with us, as we didn’t really know where we were.

“We hope that, by talking about our own experience, we can prevent something more serious happening in the future.”

Mr and Mrs Ball, who have five children and five grandchildren, had hired a blue Vauxhall Adam for their trip to Arran.

They were on their way back from a 70th birthday bash for Mr Ball’s brother Rick when events took a sinister turn.

Mr Ball, 76, said: “I thought it was a rifle shot when the stone hit the windscreen.

“We were very lucky.”

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Police have appealed for witnesses to the incident, which took place at around 1.20pm on Sunday, May 19, to come forward.

Officers believe there would have been a number of people in the area at the time, as the footbridge is part of the National Cycle Route.

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Information is also being sought in connection with the incident on the A737 footbridge, which took place at around 4.15pm on Sunday, May 12.

Sergeant Geoff Smith, who is based in Renfrew, said: “We want to highlight just how dangerous this kind of act is.

“This could potentially have severe consequences.”

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