A TEENAGER from Denbighshire was so appalled by recent riots in the United States, that she was inspired to raise her own concerns over the UK exporting rubber bullets and tear gas to the country.

Following the Black Lives Matter protests in the US, some of which turned violent, Zoey Owen, 13, wrote to her local MP’s, Dr James Davies and David Jones, and even attempted to get in touch with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In her e-mails, the year eight Myddleton College student, urged the MP’s, who did respond to her request, to ‘urge the government to freeze the export’ of such objects.

Zoey’s letter added: “In the UK, we have internal guidelines that state if the exported item is “likely to be used for internal repression” then the government must suspend and stop the sales.

“Civilians and protestors have been shot with rubber bullets which, according to Dr. Jose Torradas of the American College of Emergency Physicians, these bullets can cause blindness, fractures and even organ damage.

"These are life-changing injuries and the use of these weapons is not the correct response to protests.

"53 people out of 1,984 people have died as a result of being shot with a rubber bullet and 300 of those have received a permanent disability that would impact every day of their lives following them being shot.

"The chemical irritant, tear gas, has also caused severe injury, permanent disabilities and in some cases, death.

"Imagine being known as the country who kept on providing the US with rubber bullets and tear gas which kill so many innocent civilians, babies, children and even animals. How would you feel if you knew there was something you could’ve done to prevent these exports and you decided not to take action?

"If you contribute to the suspension of these weapons then you will contribute to the saving of lives."

In response to Zoey's plea, Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies said: "The footage of law enforcement officials using tear gas and rubber bullets against protestors is concerning. The Secretary of State for International Trade has assured me that the UK Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust and transparent export control regimes in the world.

"Officials rigorously examine each export licence application on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. That Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and all details about issued, refused and revoked export licences are published online.

"Thank you once again for contacting me about this very important matter. I will continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement and monitor the UK’s trading relationship with the USA."

Clwyd West MP David Jones responded by saying: "I have already tabled a Named Day Question (i.e. an urgent written question) in Parliament as to what representations have been made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the US authorities on their response to the civil unrest following the killing of George Floyd.

"I have also written to the Government regarding the recent report into BAME deaths from COVID-19, and its response to this report, as well as to raise those concerns which have been expressed about the need to broaden the national curriculum."