POLICE believe someone may be protecting the identity of a gunman who shot a 21-year-old in a Birkenhead street.

Officers were called to Laird Street at around 10.30pm on Monday where they found the victim with a bullet wound in his leg.

He was rushed to hospital where he is receiving treatment for the injury, which is not life-threatening.

At present detectives are unclear about the motive for the shooting but believe the man was victim of a "targeted" attack.

They consider he was actually shot in Connaught Way before escaping to Laird Street.

Superintendent Richie Davies from the force’s Matrix team stressed it is vital witnesses come forward.

He told the Globe: “This is a very serious event in Wirral and we are seeking help from the public.

“Clearly, there will be people out there who know what this is about and where the offender or the firearm is.

"Gun crime is absolutely unacceptable.

“House-to-house inquiries have been ongoing and are coming to a close.

“If you have any information, please let us know or telephone Crimestoppers and leave a message.

“We can reassure the people of Birkenhead that we will catch those responsible.”

Nearby householders have described hearing a single shot followed by screaming; the incident sent shockwaves through the community, said a councillor.

Councillor Jim Crabtree said: “Firearms incidents are extremely rare in Wirral.

“It’s certainly alarming that people can get hold of guns and discharge them on our streets.

“I’ve had calls from residents very concerned about what’s going on.

“I hope that whoever has done this is caught quickly. I’m in contact with police as the investigation continues, waiting for updates.

“The police investigation so far has been thorough, as they always are in these situations.”

Anyone who can help the inquiry should contact detectives on 0800 230 0600 or Crimestoppers anonymously: 0800 555 111.