SPANISH customs officers who scrambled onto a Gibraltar beach chasing smugglers allegedly fired shots as they were pelted by rocks, a social media video showed.
Two Spanish customs agents were injured in the incident, one seriously, after the a band of smugglers threw rocks as big as 20cm long at them from Eastern Beach.
Gibraltar police and army investigators spent Thursday searching the beach for bullet casings after residents of the nearby area heard at least two shots being fired in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The Gibraltar Government is due to give a statement shortly as soon as all the facts are put together.
The incident occurred early Thursday morning at around 5am when a Spanish SVA customs launch started chasing suspected tobacco smugglers.
As they escaped onto Gibraltar’s Eastern Beach the customs officers followed them there on a dinghy.
In stormy seas, the small boat washed ashore and the smugglers surrounded the customs boat throwing stones at the officers.
“Get them! You are going to find out,” one of the smugglers said on a video on social media.
It is believed that at this point, officers might have fired the warning shots, with one of them seriously injured as a stone hit his mouth.
A video that went viral on social media showed the smugglers even having the audacity to take the boxes of tobacco from the police boat.
Finally, the customs officers called for help from Gibraltar police who arrived at the scene and put themselves between the smugglers and the police, according to reports.
The customs officers finally managed to get their dinghy to float again and escaped the scene.
Once in Algeciras, the officers were treated in hospital.
One of them had a broken nose while the other fractured various facial bones, forcing doctors to keep him in hospital as he awaits surgery.