BULLETS LEAVE COUPLE IN FEAR
By MARY MANN
WHEN a customer said 'look what my little girl just found', and held out a handful of bullets, Bert Elliott's heart skipped a beat.
Just days earlier someone had smashed eggs on the windows of his Ballina business, Summerland Antiques and Garden Centre.
Now Mr Elliott and his wife, Marcia, fear what might come next and are wondering if someone is out to get them.
"You would have to be a stupidminded person to do this," Mr Elliott said. "They could have killed someone.
"All I can say is that they wouldn't have much between their ears."
The live bullets were discovered on Monday morning, a few hours after the Elliotts opened their shop.
There were about 350 of them, scattered on the front lawn and in the front garden bed at their Smith Drive antique shop.
They were later identified as being .22 calibre long rifle hollow point bullets, which cost about $3 for a pack of 50, a Northern Rivers gunshop owner said.
Some looked shiny and new, while others were beginning to corrode with a greenish rust on them.
From where the bullets were found, it appeared the culprit would have left their vehicle, walked from the road to the front lawn and scattered them through the flower bed and a 10-metrelong patch of lawn.
Police have taken the bullets away for finger-printing.
"I don't know what would have happened if we had mowed the lawn while the bullets were still there," Mr Elliott said.
"It could have been fatal.
"We are just very lucky the little girl found them before we ran the mower over them and that no one has been hurt."
A customer had asked if he could take a picture of his daughter on the bronze horse statue outside the shop, which was when the same little girl had found the bullets.
Mr Elliott said he was considering upgrading security measures at the business, such as installing security cameras.
Mrs Elliott said it was a 'real worry' and that she suspected the eggs thrown on the windows and the bullets were related.
"Someone is certainly targeting us because of the eggs too," Mrs Elliott said.
"But I don't know who or why."
Mr and Mrs Elliott, who have owned Summerland Antiques for the past 14 years, said they couldn't think of anyone who would be 'out to get them'.
It was the first time they had experienced any problems since two years ago, when vandals smashed pots and wrote graffiti on the fence outside their premises.
However, they had no reason to think this was related to the lat- est incidents, they said.
Police removed the bullets on Monday and will send them to Sydney to be destroyed once investigations are complete.
The gunshop owner said it was unlikely the type of bullets found would have fired if run over by a lawn mower.