Sussex Police is investigating reports a woman was shot in the face with a ball bearing in Worthing.
A police spokesman said the victim, a local woman in her 50s, was seen by paramedics after the incident in Field Row at about 10.15am on Friday (March 1).
Officers attended the scene and carried out a search of the area, said police, but no suspect was located.
House to house enquiries have also been conducted, police added.
Sergeant Craig Burgess, of the Worthing, Adur and Horsham prevention team, said: “Thankfully the victim was not badly hurt but it could have been so much worse if they had been struck in the eye.
“Having spoken to some business owners in the area, it would appear this issue has been occurring for some months but only recently reported to Sussex Police as no one had been hit or injured on previous occasions.
“We are keeping an open mind on this. Hundreds of ball bearings have been located in Field Row over recent months but to our knowledge only two people have been struck by them, thankfully neither person being badly hurt.
“It is possible the person responsible has been firing at pigeons, however we have received no reports of this nature. Whoever is responsible needs to know that by being reckless in their actions and causing injuries, they could be prosecuted for assault. They could also be committing offences against animals.
“We think it’s likely the ball bearings are being fired from a BB gun or catapult.”
Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to call 101 or report it online, quoting serial 406 of 01/03.
Alternatively, you can visit the Crimestoppers website or contact the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.