A review into how air weapons are licensed is set to begin.

The Home Office announced its intention to review regulations into licensing for air weapons in England and Wales, on the request of the coroner in Suffolk, who investigated the case of a 13-year-old Benjamin Wragge who died after being shot by an air gun.

A similar case took place in Bristol where an 18-month-old baby, Harry Studley, was seriously injured by an air gun.

The RSPCA has also reacted favourable to the announcement, after a number of death and injuries to animals have taken place due to air weapons, including two in the borough of Barnet.

David Bowles, RSPCA assistant director of external affairs, said: "It is heartbreaking that such a tragic incident has sparked this review and our thoughts go out to Benjamin’s family and friends, but we hope that any future regulations around the licensing of these weapons in England and Wales will better protect people, children and animals.

"The RSPCA has long been calling for stricter regulations around owning air guns as well as better education and explanation of the law for those buying an airgun.

"Animals can suffer horrendous injuries and often die as a result of airgun attacks and these weapons are potentially extremely dangerous for people as well."

Mr Bowles added that the charity's 24-hour cruelty hotline received 890 calls last year reporting air gun attacks on animals, and this year it is set to reach a five-year high.

In Barnet, a cat was found dead after being shot in the chest in Cranfield Drive, Colindale on June 15, and less than a month later another cat was found with a pellet in its shoulder after being shot in Moorlands Avenue, Colindale, on July 12.

In Greater London the number of animals which have been injured in air gun attacks has steadily risen over the past five years, with this year showing 26 reports before the end of June.

To report any incidents of air gun attacks on animals, call the RSPCA appeal line on 0300 123 8018.