Children and parents across Brighton and Hove are being warned not to use or carry BB guns in public by Sussex Police.
The force said that there had been a rise in the number of incidents involving young people and BB or pellet guns since the start of the school holidays.
Inspector Lloyd Balfour, from the Sussex Police Tactical Firearms Unit, said: “While on each occasion recently it was quickly established that a BB or similar spring-loaded gun was involved, these weapons are manufactured in such a way that it is sometimes difficult for officers to tell them apart from the real thing without close examination.
“This means that anyone carrying or using one of these weapons in public could easily find themselves confronted by armed police officers.”
Sussex Police said that “Anyone carrying a loaded BB gun in a public place could find themselves being arrested and could be subject to a fine of £5,000, six months’ imprisonment or both.
“BB guns must not be carried on show or be used in public.”