An elderly Doncaster man was shot in the face with a paintball gun by a quadbike rider who sprayed paint balls at residents in the street.
The 70-year-old victim was taken to hospital after the incident in Bankwood Lane, New Rossington, at about 7am this morning.
He was stood in the street with a group of residents during an organised protest against a nearby recycling centre, which they claim is causing an infestation of flies in the town.
During the protest a man on a quadbike rode past and fired at the crowd with a paintball gun causing injuries to the man's face.
Unconfirmed reports suggested the paintball had gone into the man's eye.
Detectives are now investigating the incident.
A South Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: "It is reported that a man riding a quad bike fired a paintball gun at an elderly man, causing an injury to his face.
"A 70-year-old man has been taken to hospital, however his injuries are not thought to be serious.
"The incident happened during a planned protest at the nearby recycling centre.
"The rider of the quad bike is said to have had his face covered and officers are asking anyone who saw what happened to call 101 quoting incident number 158 of 25 July 2017."
Residents told a recent planing committee meeting at Doncaster Council that people were becoming ill over the number of flies being attracted to the nearby Morris and Co Ltd site. Concern has also been raised about the number of lorry movements to and from the site.
Council planning officer Dave Richards told the committee that in May the site had been issued with an enforcement notice from the Environment Agency because of the number of flies at the site. It had raised concerns over the height of stockpiled metal, and the arrival of metal containing flies.
Mr Richards said the firm blamed a machinery break-down.
A re-inspection on June 8 stated that the firm had sorted the problems, but the EA pledged to continue to monitor the site.
To resident's dismay, the company was granted planning permission to extend the site at the meeting.
A Morris and Co Ltd spokesperson said the firm "does not believe that we are the sole cause of the issues currently being experienced in Rossington, we have had some issues with flies but have worked hard to eradicate them and we now no longer stockpile material that contains organic matter, this will ensure that we won’t be a source of this kind of problem in future.
"With regard to the number of traffic movements around Bankwood Lane, our permit restricts us to the equivalent of 10-12 lorries per day and we have never breached this restriction, the lorry park at the end of Bankwood Lane has nothing to do with Morris and Co Ltd."
Gill Gilles, assistant director of environment for Doncaster Council, said: “We do understand the distress that this ongoing fly issue is causing for local residents and I am horrified at the news of an assault today during a peaceful protest.
"We are firmly in the corner of local residents and although it is the Environment Agency which is responsible for managing the fly issue, Doncaster Council is monitoring the situation closely and has visited residents to assess the extent of the fly problem.
"Action needs to happen quickly for people living in that area and we will continue to urge the EA to deal decisively with this so that local people can be rid of this problem for good.”
An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “This is causing real distress to the people of Rossington and we are taking action to put an end to the problem.
"We have visited all permitted businesses on the estate to ensure that they are operating properly, and have instructed Morris Metals to take action to reduce the number of flies.
"We are working with Doncaster Borough Council to remedy the issue as quickly as possible and will ensure we keep the local community updated with progress.”