Football: Former Villa forward Atkinson dies in police stun-gun incident, say reports

LONDON (REUTERS) - Former English Premier League striker Dalian Atkinson has died after police fired a high-voltage Taser stun gun at him, according to media reports on Monday.

West Mercia police said officers were called to "a report for the concern for the safety of an individual" in Telford, central England, in the early hours of Monday and a Taser gun had been deployed.

A 48-year-old man died after receiving medical attention, police said.

Media reports said Atkinson, 48, whose former clubs included Aston Villa and Spain's Real Sociedad, was the dead man.

Police said they could not comment further as the matter had been referred to the independent police watchdog.

Civil rights groups have spoken of their concern about the increasing use of stun guns and their potential risk. According to figures from the Home Office (interior ministry), police discharged Tasers 1,921 times last year.