A former 'gunner'.
A former 'gunner'. Reuters

According to a report in the News of the World, Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole shot a work experience boy at the club with an air rifle while larking around with it.

The covered up incident occured last Sunday at Cobham, Chelsea's training ground.

According to News of the World, Cole took the .22 gun from a box, and without realising it was loaded he accidentally shot at Tom Cowan, 21, who was standing just five feet away.

A source told the News of the World, It's truly inconceivable that a Premier League footballer could bring a gun to the training ground.

But Ashley pulled the rifle from a box and started larking about with it in the changing room, not realising it was loaded. It ended up pointed at Tom just five feet away.

The gun went off with a loud pop and Tom screamed as this lead pellet hit him in the side. It went through his clothing and into his flesh.

Cowan immediately received treatment from Chelsea's medical staff. However, the wound was, reportedly, still weeping two days later.

On Wednesday, Cowan was called into a three-hour meeting with deeply worried Chelsea officials to discuss the matter. A day later, Tom's father Ronald Cowan held another meeting with the club where he was intent on taking an action against Cole.

Cole is reported to have been severely talked to, and has formally apologised to Cowan.

The source added that the Police were not notified as Chelsea officials were concerned that it would be a PR disaster if this became public knowledge, so the club has closed ranks over it.

Chelsea hasn't commented on the incident yet.