A diplomatic row has broken out after a Spanish police patrol boat apparently fired shots at a British jetskier off Gibraltar.
Minister for Europe David Lidington said he had protested to Spain after the Guardia Civil boat reportedly made an “illegal incursion” into Gibraltar’s territorial waters.
The jetskier said he was left “shaken” by the shooting.
“There were three policemen on the boat and I actually saw one of them with a gun in his hand,” Dale Villa, 32, told English language news website the Olive Press.
“I was just about to drop my friend off at West Beach when I heard the first shot. I don’t really think we took it seriously or believed it could be a gun, but clearly it was.
“Anyway I jumped back on again and whizzed off before realising the boat was chasing after me and had soon fired three more shots at me.
“I was very shaken and furious. When a huge boat is hurtling after you and you hear gunshots it is very scary.”
Onlookers claimed to have seen large rubber or plastic baton rounds being fired from the Guardia Civil boat and splashing into the water.
In a statement, Mr Lidington said: “I spoke today with Spanish minister for the European Union, Inigo Mendez de Vigo, in order to protest in the strongest terms following an incident on Sunday in British Gibraltar territorial waters.
“During an illegal incursion by a Guardia Civil vessel, a Guardia Civil officer fired a weapon. I made clear that the discharge of a weapon in or near Gibraltar is completely unacceptable.
“I urged Senor Mendez de Vigo to investigate urgently and to take action to ensure that this will not happen again.”
Mr Lidington said he has also instructed the British charge d’affaires in Madrid to protest in person to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and to demand a full explanation.
Gibraltar has been a British colony since 1713, but Spain publicly disputes Gibraltar’s sovereignty and insists it has the right to fish in Gibraltan waters.
The confrontation is the latest skirmish between Britain and Spain involving the territory.
In May 2012, four police vessels and Royal Navy patrol boat intercepted a Spanish trawler which was fishing off the rock after it ignored warnings to stop.